Moderate Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s hopes to win Sunday’s runoff election for ‘president’ in breakaway northern Cyprus are high now that the Turkish Republican Party has decided to back him.
CTP’s candidate Tufan Erhurman who came in third in last Sunday’s election and became a kingmaker announced late on Tuesday the party would back Akinci whose rival is Ankara-backed Ersin Tatar.
Erhurman had garnered 21.68 per cent of the votes and the party justified its decision arguing that it has always pursued a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem on a federal basis.
Tatar, backed by his party, the National Unity Party, pulled ahead in the first round with 32.35 per cent compared to 29.84 per cent for Akinci who is running as an independent.
It was not a surprise that Erhurman would back Akinci since both are in favour of a federal solution to the Cyprus problem. Tartar proposes a two-state solution.
Sunday’s winner will be tasked with overcoming Turkish Cypriots’ deep political chasms with rival Greek Cypriots in order to pave the way for a deal to end 46 years of division in Cyprus.
Cyprus is divided following an invasion in the summer of 1974 by Turkey which keeps stirring tensions over offshore energy reserves.