Nicosia: Mustafa Akinsi, a supportive moderate and Ankara-backed challenger Arisin Tatar, will run for president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on October 18, followed by the right-wing nationalist, who won 32.5 percent of the vote and 30 percent in Sunday’s vote.
The presidential vote was split between the divided island and the wider eastern Mediterranean region, and amid heavy tensions with caution against the spread of Covid-19.
The Election Commission said 55 per cent of the nearly 199,000 voters cast ballots an hour before polling closed.
“This election is crucial to our destiny,” Akinci said after casting his ballot, complaining of Turkey’s political interference.
For the first time since Turkish forces invaded the north in 1974, Turkish troops voted three days after the Republic of Cyrus and many Turkish Cypriots reacted by reopening public access to the haunted seaside town of Rosha in Turkey.
The move sparked protests in the majority Greek-speaking republic of Cyprus, which exercises its sovereignty over the southern two-thirds of the island, separated from the north by a UN-patrol buffer zone.
The TRNC, with a population of 300,000, was set up in response to Turkey’s occupation of the north and its goal of annexing northern Cyprus to Greece.
Isat Tulek, a 73-year-old retired civil servant, said in a statement: “We are really choosing a president who will discuss the future with Greek Cypriots, amid tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean over the plan. Absorption of hydrocarbons between Turkey on the one hand, and Greece as well as its closest ally Cyprus on the other.
Erdogan announced last week, along with the Tartars, the partial reopening of the Beroside resort Varosha in the town of Fust magusta, which was once abandoned by its Greek-Cypriot inhabitants during the Turkish invasion before the Hollywood stars pulled out.
Dawn, published October 12, 2020
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