Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



Ankara-backed candidate wins the presidency of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Ersin Tatar takes over the presidency of the RTNC (photo: UBP)
Ersin Tatar takes over the presidency of the RTNC (photo: UBP)
CYPRUS. Against all odds, Ersin Tatar (60) of the National Union Party (Ulusal Birlik Partisi - National Unity Party - UBP) was elected, Sunday 18 October 2020, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with 51.74% of the vote. If the nationalist candidate, supported by Ankara had come first in the first round of this election (32.35% of the vote) on 11 October 2020, the announced postponement of the votes of the second (Mustafa Akinci the outgoing president - 29.84%) and third (Tufan Erhurman - 21.68%), agreeing on a reunification with the Republic of Cyprus in the form of a federal state, should allow the current president to win.

Member of the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus is the only one recognised by the international community whereas the RTNC, self-proclaimed, is only recognised by Turkey.

Ersin Tatar remains a strong supporter of maintaining a two-country system. He will therefore be able to count on the Turkish financial and military support present since the creation of the RTNC in 1983, while Mustafa Akinci has been trying to break away from this grip since his election in April 2015. And the good relations with the southern part of the Mediterranean island, acquired after several years of discussion despite the failure of a peace agreement in 2017, should quickly turn sour.

Turkey congratulates the new president

The arrival of Ersin Tatar as president of this self-proclaimed republic of 300,000 inhabitants has brought the cards down at a time when the European Union and Turkey are still in conflict in the eastern Mediterranean. The resumption of hydrocarbon exploration activities by Ankara off Greece and Cyprus does not help matters.

"We will work together to ensure the prosperity, development and security of the Turkish Cypriots. We are going to defend together the legitimate rights and interests of Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean," Mevlüt Cavusoglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, tweeted from the outset. While Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on the same network, while congratulating Ersin Tatar on his election, that "Turkey will continue to do everything possible to protect the rights and the law of the Turkish Cypriot nation".

Reunification will therefore have to wait... And the turmoil will continue in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Frédéric Dubessy

Monday, October 19th 2020

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