Northern Cyprus: vote on the future of the Aegean?
A runoff presidential election will be held in the internationally unrecognized Republic of Northern Cyprus on Sunday. In the first ballot neither incumbent Mustafa Akıncı (29.8 percent) nor Prime Minister Ersin Tatar of the conservative UBP - which is closely related to Erdoğan's AKP - (32.4%) achieved an absolute majority. Akıncı wants the reunification of Cyprus. Observers question how much he can accomplish.
Akıncı can't achieve much without Ankara
Hürriyet Daily News doubts that a victory for the incumbent president would pave the way for progress in the Cyprus problem:
“Most likely, as was the case in the 2015 election, Akıncı will come back from the second position with the support of other socialists, social democrats and Turkish Cypriot nationalists and win a second term in office with over 65 percent of the vote. ... In that case, how will a consolidated Akıncı presidency, continued budgetary dependency on Turkey and confronting political objectives between Akıncı, the majority in Turkish Cypriot Parliament, and the Ankara government cohabitate and contribute to any effort aimed at resolving the Cyprus problem?”
Entire region's political climate in the balance
This election will have a significant impact on the future of Cyprus and beyond, Ta Nea stresses:
“The issue to be decided is whether dialogue and negotiations will proceed or whether a combination of Ankara's provocative stance and the political fatigue of the Turkish-Cypriots will result in deeper impasses and obliterate hopes for a solution. The outcome of this election will have an impact beyond Cyprus and above all on the climate in Greek-Turkish relations. It is important that the message of these elections be unifying and not advance a breakup. That requires support for the moderate candidate, Akinci, who in recent days has received death threats. The Republic of Cyprus has to date avoided taking a position. Perhaps this week would be a good time to do so.”