Monday

15th Oct 2018

North Cyprus election renews hopes of peace deal

  • 'This country cannot tolerate any more wasted time' (Photo: michael kirian)

Independent candidate Mustafa Akinci won a surprise victory to become president of Northern Cyprus on Sunday (26 April), beating incubent Dervis Eroglu in a result that could prove a breakthrough for peace talks on the divided island.

Akinci, a 67-year old former deputy prime minister and mayor of North Nicosia, won 60.5 percent of the votes.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Akinci said he will focus on reaching a peace settlement (Photo: Mehmet)

The conservative Eroglu, who narrowly won the first round, only got 39.5 percent in the run-off.

One of Akinci’s main campaign themes was the need to reach out to the Greek side of the island, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, an EU member since 2004.


"We achieved change and my policy will be focused on reaching a peace settlement," Akinci said at a victory rally Sunday evening in the Turkish part of Nicosia.

"This country cannot tolerate any more wasted time," he added.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was created in 1983 after the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 and is recognised only by Ankara.


During the campaign, Akinci - described as a leftist moderate - proposed confidence-building measures such as opening a new checkpoint between the two parts of the island or creating a common mobile phone network.

He also mentioned reopening the abandoned sea resort of Varosha, which is under UN control. The status of the town, deserted by its Greek inhabitants in 1974, has been an ongoing blocking point in discussions between Greek and Turkish sides.

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed Akinci's victory.

Akinci is "a man who through his public discourse and declarations, has referred to the need for reunification of the country," Anastasiades’ spokesman said.

Anastasiades broke off peace talks with Eroglu last Autumn after a dispute over rights to explore gas deposits off the Turkish Cyprus’ coast.

Ahead of the election, Akinci said the gas exploitation represented a "new dynamic" for the island and should benefit both sides.

"Anastasiades and I are [of] the same generation. If we can't solve this now, it will be a tremendous burden on future generations," Akinci said after the vote.

Both men spoke on the phone Sunday evening and "expressed the wish to work for the reunification of our country," said Anastasiades’ spokesman.

The talks, which have taken place on and off under UN supervision since 1974, could resume soon.

UN envoy Espen Barth Eide welcomed Akinci’s "commitment to resuming negotiations as soon as possible".

He said he would go to Nicosia on 4-8 May to "continue preparations for the resumption of talks".

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us