Northern Cyprus Presidential Vote Heads to 2nd Round
Voters in the Turkish-held northern half of Cyprus will go back to the polls on October 18 after none of the 11 candidates received a majority in Sunday’s presidential election. The top two finishers were Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mustafa Akinci and Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, who each received about 30% of the ballots. Akinci, 72, supports the reunification of the island, which in 1974 was split in two by a Turkish invasion that came in response to a brief Greece-inspired coup. Tatar, 60, supports separate, sovereign administrations and has received the backing of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey is the only country that recognizes the TRNC; it does not recognize the internationally-endorsed Greek Cypriot government of the Republic of Cyprus in the South. There have been several attempts over the years at a negotiated reunification, the latest taking place in 2017. The election comes in the shadow of increased tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean over natural gas deposits claimed by both sides of the island, as well as Turkey and Greece.