Dervis Eroglu has won the northern Cyprus presidential election, exit polls say.
Eroglu beat Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat with more than 50 per cent of votes cast and so will avoid a run-off.
Once a British colony, Cyprus has been split in two since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded to stem a an Athens-backed coup.
Eroglou’s win could complicate Turkey’s bid to join the EU. Unlike rival Talat, he opposes the island’s reunification.
Ankara is the only country to recognise the breakaway north but Greek Cyprus represents the whole island at EU level.
The Greek Cypriots say they will stop Turkey joining the 27-member bloc until there is a deal.
Turkey, meanwhile, wants more members of the international community to recognise northern Cyprus and end its diplomatic isolation.