Right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar wins in northern Cyprus

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BBC.COM-image copyrightReuters

image captionErsin Tatar thanked the Turkish president in a victory speech

Right-wing nationalist Ersin Tatar has won the presidential election in northern Cyprus, the Turkish-controlled part of the Mediterranean island.

Mr Tatar, who is pro-Turkey and wants Cyprus to be two separate states, won just under 52% of the vote to defeat the incumbent, Mustafa Akinci.

Mr Akinci wants reunification with the southern Greek part of the island.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent his congratulations to Mr Ersin.

But there has been no comment yet from the Cypriot government in Nicosia, although opposition parties there have lamented the result.

Mr Tatar thanked the Turkish president in a victory speech.

“We deserve our sovereignty – we are the voice of Turkish Cypriots,” he said.

“We are fighting to exist within the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, therefore our neighbours in the south and the world community should respect our fight for freedom … because we deserve it.”

Mr Erdogan celebrated his ally’s victory on Twitter.

“I congratulate Ersin Tatar who has been elected president… Turkey will continue to provide all types of efforts to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people,” he said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the Greek government.

The island was effectively partitioned, with the northern third run by a Turkish Cypriot government and the southern two-thirds by the internationally-recognised government led by Greek Cypriots.

The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – which has a population of around 300,000 – is recognised as an independent state only by Turkey, while the rest of the world sees it as part of Cyprus.

 

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