Turkish Cypriots elect leftist moderate as new leader

Mustafa Akinci, who promised to press for peace deal in ethnically split nation, wins presidential election run-off.

    A leftist moderate promising to press for a peace deal in ethnically split Cyprus has swept to victory in a Turkish Cypriot presidential election run-off.

    Mustafa Akinci, standing as an independent, won 60.3 percent of the votes, according to figures provided on Monday by the election commission of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    His rival was incumbent President Dervis Eroglu, a conservative elected five years ago.

    Akinci, 67, has said he would work with fresh urgency to find a peace deal on Cyprus, split in a 1974 Turkish invasion that was prompted by a short-lived Greek-inspired coup aimed at union with Greece.

    Peace talks were suspended last October, when Greek Cypriots walked out of the process in a row over Turkish rights to explore for natural gas off northern Cyprus.

    Cyprus is represented internationally and in the EU by the Greek Cypriot government that controls the southern portion of the island.

    The northern Cyprus state is recognised only by Turkey and subject to international sanctions.

    Speaking to Reuters news agency on Saturday, Akinci said natural gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean represented a "new dynamic" that could benefit countries in the region, and that confidence-building measures were needed between the two sides.

    "There is a possibility for all sides to win," he said.

    Cyprus's division is a source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and also weighs on Turkish relations with the EU, where Greek Cypriots represent the entire island.

    Reunification talks have limped on for years, leaving Turkish Cypriots in political isolation and tens of thousands of Cypriots on both sides internally displaced.

    The UN says it expects talks to restart next month on the island, a British colony until 1960, after a six-month hiatus.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons