Saturday

13th Apr 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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".

UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

EU and UK negotiators said that a new post-Brexit settlement for Gibraltar was just weeks away from completion following four-way talks in Brussels on Friday (12 April).

Opinion

Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us