Nicosia: Mustafa Akinci will run for the presidency of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on October 18, with pro-reform moderator Ankara-backed challenger Ersin Tatar. The right-wing nationalist won 32.5 percent of the vote and 30 percent of the vote on Sunday.
The presidential vote comes amid mounting tensions on the divided island and the vast eastern Mediterranean, with precautions against the spread of Kovid-19.
The Election Commission said 55 percent of the 199,000 voters cast their ballots an hour before the close of voting.
“This election is crucial to our fate,” Akinsey said after the ballot was filed, complaining of Turkish political interference.
The Turkish military has provoked the Republic of Cyrus, a member of the European Union, and several Turkish Cypriots by reopening public access to the coastal ghost town of Varosha, which was first fenced off after Turkish troops invaded the north in 1974.
The move led to protests in the majority Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus. It exercises its authority over the southern two-thirds of the island, separating the UN patrol buffer zone from the north.
The TRNC, now with a population of 300,000, was formed after Turkey occupied the north in response to a coup aimed at annexing Cyprus to Greece.
Essat Tulek, a 73-year-old retired civil servant, said in a vote: “We elect a president who will discuss the future with Greek cypriots. The election comes amid tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. On the one hand, the exploitation of hydrocarbons between Turkey and Greece and its closest ally, Cyprus.
Last week, Erdogan announced with Tatar the partial reopening of Varosha, a seaside resort in the city of Famagusta that had attracted Hollywood stars before Greeks and Cypriots left during the Turkish invasion.
Published October 12, 2020 in Dawn