ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated the president-elect of the unrecognized Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar, on his victory in Sunday’s election.
Tatar, a pro-Turkey candidate, won with 51.74 percent of the vote against pro-unification incumbent Mustafa Akinci, who garnered 48.26 percent.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also tweeted congratulations to Tatar and said Ankara will work with the unrecognized state for the “welfare, development and security of the #KKTC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus]. We will protect the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Erdogan has made no secret of his support for Tatar, who ran on a Turkish nationalist ticket, at times getting flak for his overt closeness to Ankara.
Defeated incumbent Akinci raised doubt over the veracity of the results but congratulated Tatar over the victory and announced the end of his 45-year political career, news agency TAK reported.
The Eastern Mediterranean has become a flashpoint in regional tensions after the discovery of large underwater gas reserves. Turkey has played the most proactive role, claiming territorial rights over vast swathes of waters, drawing up deals with Libya and increasing prospecting around the divided island of Cyprus, provoking a plethora of criticism from European nations.
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