After six months delay to the presidential elections in North Cyprus, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar won both first and second rounds against the incumbent Mustafa Akinci.
Analysts expected Akinci to win, albeit by a small margin, despite the fact that Tatar was Ankara’s favourite. It seems that polarisation was partly a factor. It also appears that Akinci was punished by some of his followers because he had been inactive since the failure of the last round of negotiations at Crans-Montana, Switzerland in 2017, Rebbeca Bryant of Utrecht University observed.
Although Akinci accepted the election results, he also repeated his criticism of Ankara’s involvement. “These events, interventions should never happen again. The people of Turkish Cyprus don’t deserve this.” Bryant told ‘Ahval’ that “There’s no indication that Turkey tampered with the vote, but they certainly did everything short of that to show their support for Tatar”. Had it not been for the scope of Ankara’s intervention, she believes Akinci would have been reelected. Nevertheless, Akinci after he received a telephone call from Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades who thanked him for his past efforts, said he would be at the two leaders’ disposal regarding future negotiations.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in September reiterated his intention to revive the Cyprus negotiations after the presidential elections by holding informal talks between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities.
South Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday telephoned Tatar to congratulate him on his winning the elections and called on him to support a new round of UN-led Cyprus negotiations. Tatar accepted Anastasiades’ invitation to a meeting in the UN buffer zone in Nicosia, in order to get to know each other.
Ahval goes on to say that Turkey now has an ally in the TRNC who, in stark contrast to Akinci, will willingly cooperate with Ankara on issues that have brought tension to the region, especially maritime boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the ensuing competition over hydrocarbon reserves.
Tatar, backed by Ankara, which favours a two-state solution to the Cyprus problem, will now have to deal with the international community, which prefers the reunification of Cyprus. How the disparate view points will affect any new talks, remains to be seen.