Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat cast his vote in the territory’s presidential election on Sunday.
Left-leaning Talat has been in power for five years but polls suggest he could be ousted by right-winger Dervis Eroglu, who opposes reunification with Greek Cyprus in the south. Eroglu instead wants a two state solution to the Cyprus problem.
The vote by the 164,000 Turkish Cypriots will also have wider implications beyond Cyprus.
Turkey is the only country to recognise the breakaway north and Cyprus is already blocking some of Ankara’s negotiations to join the EU. That is because of Turkey’s refusal to recognise the Greek Cypriot government.
Cyprus became independent from Britain in 1960. It has been split in two since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded to stem a short-lived coup backed by Athens.