Turkish Cypriots Vote For Leader Amid East Mediterranean Tensions
Nicosia, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Oct, 2020 ) :Turkish-held northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognised only by Ankara, voted Sunday for a new leader in a run-off election held amid heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
The presidential vote pitted incumbent Mustafa Akinci, 72 -- who supports reunification with the majority Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus in the south -- against the right-wing Turkish nationalist Ersin Tatar.
Under Erdogan, Turkey has become an increasingly assertive regional power that is now engaged in a bitter dispute with EU states Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters.
.. for the Turkish Cypriots", adding that he backed Akinci's hopes for a "Federal solution" for the island divided since 1974.
But Akinci was tipped to secure a second term, having won the backing of Tufan Erhurman, a fellow social democrat who came third last time around.
After voting, Akinci said he hoped people would remember the election as a day of "democracy and will", while his rival Tatar stressed the importance of maintaining a "good relationship with Turkey." The 738 polling stations closed as scheduled at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT). Turnout was already a high 61 percent an hour before the close, with results expected later on Sunday.
The polls come amid an economic crisis deepened by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has largely shuttered the tourism sector and led to the closure of Ercan airport in the north and crossing points to the south.