AGI – Surprise in the elections in the Turkish separatist republic of northern Cyprus: the new ‘president’ is right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar, supported by Ankara and close to Recep Tayyp Erdogan, who won the ballot with 51.7% of the votes on the more moderate Mustafa Akinci who was favored for re-election.
The 60-year-old former prime minister Tatar is fighting for a two-state solution on the Mediterranean island while the 72-year-old outgoing president Akinci, a Social Democrat, was in favor of a reunification with a federal model with the southern part with a Greek majority to remain in the European Union. The Turkish entity is recognized only by Ankara and was founded following the 1974 Turkish military intervention.
Cyprus has been at the center of recent tensions in the area over rights to exploit hydrocarbon reserves off the island.
The new president Tatar recently received the support of the Turkish president Erdogan which approved the highly contested decision on the Greek side to open the Varosha area (Maras in Turkish) to tourists.
Tatar was thus able to enjoy an electoral walkway last October 8, when the gates of what is a real ghost district were opened, with buildings, shops, villas and hotels abandoned in 1974, which preserve the memories of one of the most exclusive resorts in the Mediterranean.
Turkish Cyprus, the northern part, covers just over a third of the island, and has just 300,000 inhabitants. The vote was originally scheduled for April, but had been postponed due to the coronavirus emergency.