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World Turkish Cypriots vote for new leader amid east Mediterranean tensions

10:15  18 october  2020
10:15  18 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

Leftist versus hardliner in Turkish Cypriot leadership vote

  Leftist versus hardliner in Turkish Cypriot leadership vote NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Turkish Cypriots vote on Sunday in a leadership runoff that could decide whether they retain more control over their own affairs or steer even closer to an increasingly domineering Turkey. Veteran incumbent Mustafa Akinci, 72, backs the long-held federal framework for a deal with rival Greek Cypriots to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus. He’s also a champion of Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s complete domination of their affairs. © Provided by Associated Press In this photo taken on Sunday, Oct.

Turkish -held northern Cyprus , a breakaway state recognised only by Ankara, voted Sunday for a new leader amid charges of interference by Turkey 's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The election comes amid tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over the planned exploitation of hydrocarbons between Turkey on the one hand The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was voting on Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided island and

Turkish-held northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognised only by Ankara, votes Sunday for a new leader in a run-off election held amid heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

Map of divided Cyprus © Paz PIZARRO Map of divided Cyprus

The presidential vote pits the incumbent and favourite, Mustafa Akinci, 72 -- who supports reunification with the majority Greek-speaking EU member the Republic of Cyprus in the south -- against the right-wing Turkish nationalist Ersin Tatar.

a close up of a bridge: A view of deserted buildings of the tourist area of Varosha, in the fenced off area of Famagusta, in the Turkish-occupied north of the divided eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus © Birol BEBEK A view of deserted buildings of the tourist area of Varosha, in the fenced off area of Famagusta, in the Turkish-occupied north of the divided eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus

Tatar, 60, who advocates a two-state solution, now holds the title of prime minister in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). He has controversially received the open backing of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Election in Northern Cyprus: the outgoing leader favored against the Ankara candidate

 Election in Northern Cyprus: the outgoing leader favored against the Ankara candidate © Birol BEBEK A voter casts his ballot for the presidential ballot of the TRNC, at a polling station in the northern part of Nicosia, on the 18th October 2020 The leader of North Cyprus Mustafa Akinci leaves favorite Sunday to win a new mandate at the head of this self-proclaimed Republic against the protege of Ankara Ersin Tatar, a second round in the shadow of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.

The election comes amid tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over the planned exploitation of hydrocarbons between Turkey on the one hand The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was voting on Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided island and

The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus started a vote Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided island and in the wider eastern Mediterranean region. The election in the breakaway TRNC that is recognised only by Ankara comes three days after Turkish

a man standing in front of a box: Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, a pro-reunification moderate, faces a challenge from Ankara-backed Ersin Tatar in the vote in breakaway northern Cyprus © Birol BEBEK Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, a pro-reunification moderate, faces a challenge from Ankara-backed Ersin Tatar in the vote in breakaway northern Cyprus

Under Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly assertive regional power that is now engaged in a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves in Mediterranean waters.

Sunday's second-round ballot was triggered after Tatar won 32 percent of the vote on October 11 ahead of Akinci, who garnered almost 30 percent in a field of 11 candidates.

But Akinci is in a stronger position now having won the backing of Tufan Erhurman, a fellow Social Democrat, who came third last time around.

The vote also comes after Turkey on Monday resumed gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, stoking tensions with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus in the south.

Divided Cyprus eyes impact of Turkey's man winning northern vote

  Divided Cyprus eyes impact of Turkey's man winning northern vote Breakaway northern Cyprus has elected the Ankara-backed right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar as its leader in a surprise win at a time of heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. - Northern Cyprus is a centrepiece of Turkey's strategy in the eastern Mediterranean, including a bitter dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves. The EU has deplored Turkey's drilling for hydrocarbons in disputed waters and warned Ankara against further "provocations".In a call with Tatar after his victory, Erdogan said their cooperation would continue -- "starting with activities related to hydrocarbons".

The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus started a vote Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided island and in the wider eastern Mediterranean region. The election in the breakaway TRNC that is recognised only by Ankara comes three days after Turkish

The election comes amid tensions in the eastern Mediterranean over the planned exploitation of hydrocarbons between Turkey on the one hand The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was voting on Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided island and

The European Union has deplored Turkey's deployment of exploration vessels and warned Ankara against further "provocations" while multiple countries have staged military drills in the region in recent months.

- Opening up ghost resort -


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The TRNC, now with a population of about 300,000, was established after the north was occupied by Turkey in 1974 in reaction to a coup that aimed to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Earlier in October, Turkish troops angered the Republic of Cyrus and many Turkish Cypriots by reopening public access to the fenced-off seaside ghost town of Varosha for the first time since Turkish forces invaded the north.

That move drew EU and UN criticism and sparked demonstrations in the Republic of Cyprus, which exercises its authority over the island's southern two-thirds, separated from the north by a UN-patrolled buffer zone.

Cyprus, Greece, Egypt to Turkey: drop the rancor, join us

  Cyprus, Greece, Egypt to Turkey: drop the rancor, join us NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The leaders of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece on Wednesday renewed an invitation to Turkey to become a partner in reaping the potential benefits of offshore gas deposits, while urging Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions in the eastern Mediterranean. Their one-day regional summit in Cyprus came amid high tension between neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders, after Ankara sent a research vessel, escorted by warships, to disputed waters between the Greek islands, southern Turkey and Cyprus. Turkey has also sent drilling ships where Cyprus says it has exclusive economic rights.

A Turkish - Cypriot woman casts her ballot at a voting station in the northern part of Nicosia, the capital of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus started a vote Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided

The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus started a vote Sunday for a new leader amid heightened tensions on the divided island and in the wider eastern Mediterranean region. The election in the breakaway TRNC that is recognised only by Ankara comes three days after Turkish

Turkey has repeatedly said it seeks to defend Turkish and Turkish Cypriots' rights in the eastern Mediterranean against a cabal of nations including Greece and Cyprus.

But Akinci's relationship with Ankara has come under strain, especially after he described the prospect of the north's annexation by Turkey as "horrible" in February.

"The results of the first round tell us this: half of the Turkish Cypriot community defend a federation despite all kinds of pressure," Umut Bozkurt, vice dean and assistant professor at Eastern Mediterranean University, told AFP.

"This election was dominated more by Turkey-northern Cyprus relations than the Cyprus issue."

The first round's results also show that a significant part of the electorate seek to be free of "pressure" from Ankara and to live in a united Cyprus, she added.

- 'Don't want to be puppets' -

In the days leading up to the vote, Turkish Cypriot Twitter users used the hashtag #BarisCunku, meaning "Peace because" in Turkish.

One user calling himself Ahmet Karaca wrote on Thursday, "#PeaceBecause, we don't want to be puppets in our own country, we want to be the actor, the director."

When Akinci took office in 2015, he was hailed as the leader best placed to revive peace talks with the Republic of Cyprus.

But hopes were dashed in July 2017 after UN-mediated negotiations collapsed in Switzerland, notably over the question of the withdrawal of tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers stationed in the TRNC.

The polls come amid an economic crisis, deepened by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has largely shuttered the tourism sector and led to the closure of Ercan airport in the north and crossing points to the south.

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