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Hardliner Wins Presidential Vote in Northern Cyprus

Ersin Tatar, the current prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), has won the TRNC’s run-off presidential election. Tatar favors stronger ties with Turkey, which in effect still occupies the northern part of Cyprus. Ankara invaded in 1974 following a coup by Greek Cypriots, with assistance from Greek troops, seeking a union with Greece. Tatar is also a staunch ally of hardline Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He finished with over 51% of vote against the incumbent, Mustafa Akinci, who in the past has appealed for reunification with the Republic of Cyprus in the South. The vote was thus seen as a referendum for growing yet closer to Turkey or creating conditions for rapprochement. Turkey, the only country recognizing the TRNC, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus. The TRNC election comes in the shadow of increased tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean over offshore hydrocarbon deposits claimed by Turkey, Greece and both governments on the island.