Premier Tatar ousts incumbent president in Turkish Cyprus vote

Premier Tatar ousts incumbent president in Turkish Cyprus vote

Premier Tatar ousts incumbent president in Turkish Cyprus vote

Prime Minister Ersin Tatar won Oct. 18's presidential runoff in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with 51.69% of the votes, results showed.

According to Turkish News Agency-Cyprus (TAK), the Supreme Committee of Election issued a written statement on the results, which said that Tatar, the presidential candidate of the National Unity Party (UBP), won the second round of the public vote by receiving 67,322 of valid votes.

Incumbent Mustafa Akıncı, who run independent, bagged 62,910 votes for 48.31%.

It also said that the turnout was 67.29% in the second round and 133,931 voters out of over 199,000 registered voters cast ballots in 738 ballot boxes.

A total of 130,232 of the ballots were valid, while 3,699 of them were deemed invalid for not complying with the rules.

The voting ended at 6 p.m. local time (1500GMT) and the official figures are expected to be announced later tonight.

Following the announcement of the unofficial results, Tatar thanked the nation and said the important thing is to carry the country to "good days" in unity.

"Turkish Cypriots deserve the best of everything. I will keep my promise. I will be the president of everyone," he pledged.

Thanking Turkey for its help in overcoming economic difficulties in the country due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Tatar said he is proud to be together with the Republic of Turkey, which always stands next to the Turkish Cypriot people.

"I once again would like to announce to the world that in line with the confirmation I received from the nation, I will look after our own lands, our own state and the guarantor position of our Turkey," he said.

"I want to tell the whole world from here that Turkish Cypriots exist, they will exist and they will cry out their sovereignty to the whole world," he stressed.

Tatar also said that the TRNC and Turkey have "unbreakable ties."

"Yes, we are in for an agreement on Cyprus, but the Turkish Cypriot nation will accept the conditions of this agreement with their own will," he said, sending a message to the Greek Cyprus administration.

Who is Ersin Tatar?

Tatar was born in Lefkoşa in 1960. He attended high school in the U.K. and graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Cambridge University in 1982.

Tatar, who worked at the U.K. office of the Price Waterhouse audit firm between 1982-1991, received the title of chartered accountant.

Until he founded the first private TV channel, Kanal T, of the TRNC in 1996, Tatar worked in different firms in the U.K. and Turkey, including working as the general coordinator at Show TV in Istanbul between 1992-2001.

In 2003, Tatar returned back to his country and started his political life at the UBP. He was elected as Lefkoşa deputy of the party in snap general elections on April 19, 2009.

He was appointed as finance minister on May 4, 2009 during Derviş Eroğlu's rule and resumed the post under the Irsen Küçük government starting on May 27, 2010.

He was once again elected as Lefkosa deputy of the UBP in 2013 snap general elections and he served as the head of Economy, Finance, Budget, and Planning Committee in the 8th period.

For the third time, Tatar was elected as Lefkoşa deputy of the UBP in 2018 snap general elections. The same year, he also became the party chairman following his rival Hüseyin Özgürgün's withdrawal from the race in the second round.

Last year in May, he became the prime minister of the country to lead the coalition government of the UBP and the People's Party (HP).

Presidential election

In the first round of election on Oct. 11, Tatar came in first with 32.34% of the votes, while Akıncı was second with 29.80%.

Since none of the 11 candidates initially competing got more than 50% of the votes, Tatar and Akıncı proceeded to round two.

The electoral participation stood at 58.29% in the first round, making it the "presidential election with the lowest turnout."

The Turkish Cypriots headed to polls for the 10th time since 1974 to elect their president for a five-year term.

The island has been divided into the Turkish Cypriot government in the north and the Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece.

Turkey's military intervention stopped years-long persecution and violence against the Turkish Cypriots by the ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.

Turkey congratulates Tatar over his win

Turkey on Oct. 18 congratulated Ersin Tatar over his win in the Northern Cyprus presidential runoff.

“I congratulate Mr. Ersin Tatar, who has been elected as the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, on behalf of myself and the Turkish nation,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Twitter.

“Turkey will continue to make all efforts needed to protect the rights and law of the Turkish Cypriot nation,” he added.

Later, speaking to Tatar over the phone, Erdoğan said that with his vision for the future and strong leadership, Tatar was able to win the race that took place in a difficult period, according to Turkey’s Directorate of Communications.

Erdoğan also expressed belief in the continuation of cooperation in every field, especially in the hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the directorate added.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry also congratulated Tatar in a written statement, saying: “According to the unofficial election results, it was declared that Prime Minister Ersin Tatar has won the elections. We congratulate Mr. Tatar and wish him success in this supreme office he was elected.”

It added that the results reflect the free and sovereign will of the Turkish Cypriots.

“The strength of the Turkish Cypriot people stems from its ability to maintain, within the framework of democratic principles, its unity and social solidarity,” it said.

The ministry also hailed that the presidential runoff held on Sunday in the TRNC showcased the exemplary democracy of the country and the political maturity of its nation. 

“As was always the case, we will continue to work in close coordination with all institutions of the TRNC, to support the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriots, co-owners of the island, as well as their legitimate rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean under all circumstances, and fulfill our legal and historical responsibilities with utmost sensitivity and determination,” it noted.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also congratulated Tatar over his win on Twitter.

“We wholeheartedly congratulate Ersin Tatar, who won the TRNC presidential election,” he said, reiterating support for the protection of legitimate rights and interests of the nation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Separately, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay took to Twitter to congratulate Tatar for his election victory.

“I sincerely congratulate Mr. Ersin Tatar, who was elected president in the elections that were held with transparency and showed most clearly the culture of democracy of the Turkish Cypriots to the whole world,” Oktay added, calling it “a festival of democracy in the TRNC today.”

He also spoke to Tatar over the phone and said: “A much stronger Cyprus is the desire of all of us, I hope Turkish Cypriots will achieve this with you.”

Turkish parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop also took to Twitter to say: “I congratulate Mr. Ersin Tatar, who was elected as the fifth president of the TRNC according to the [unofficial] results of the presidential elections held today in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

”It is time to abandon policies which reject the will of the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey’s communications director said.

Tweeting on election results, Fahrettin Altun urged the European Union and other international actors to respect the will of the Turkish Cypriots.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), also congratulated Tatar on Twitter and thanked incumbent Mustafa Akıncı for his efforts to date.

Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades said he was ready to engage in reunification talks immediately following the election of Tatar as the new Turkish Cypriot leader.

Anastasiades congratulated Tatar and said he looked forward to an introductory meeting.

The first major test for Tatar will likely be a meeting hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that will bring together the two sides with Cyprus’ three guarantors, Greece, Turkey and the U.K., to scope out the chances of resuming frozen peace talks.