CYPRUS TALKS TO RESUME SOON
New T/Cypriot leader elected
Former "mayor" of the northern Turkish occupied part of Nicosia Mustafa Akinci is the new Turkish Cypriot leader. With 98% of the votes counted, Akinci got 60,38%, corresponding to 65,412 votes. Incumbent Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu got just over 39,62% (42,920 votes).
Mustafa Akinci was born in the southern coastal town of Limassol in 1947 and studied architecture. In 1976, at the age of 29, he was elected "mayor" of the northern Turkish occupied part of Nicosia. This is the third time he has run for the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Akinci, is a progressive politician who says he wants to work towards the re-unification of Cyprus, split in a 1974 Turkish military invasion that was triggered by a short-lived Greek-inspired coup aimed at union with Greece. The Turkish invaders forced 200,000 Greek Cypriots out of their homes and unilaterally declared the establishment of the so called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" on the territory they occupied illegally.
Cyprus has remained divided since 1974, with the Republic of Cyprus as the only UN recognised authority on the island. Cyprus Government, does not recognise the election process in the occupied territory, but recognises the winner as the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Peace talks were suspended last October, when former leader Eroglu, acting on the advice of Turkey walked out of the process in a row over Turkish rights to explore for natural gas off northern Cyprus.
The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has congratulated the new Turkish Cypriot leader and reiterated that the government`s will is to enter a dialogue for the reunification of Cyprus based on mutual respect and a common desire for a European state the citizens of which will enjoy the same rights as others.
The United Nations says it expects talks to restart this month.