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All eyes on Cyprus as Turkish Cypriots prepare for run-off vote

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By Seamus Kearney
All eyes on Cyprus as Turkish Cypriots prepare for run-off vote

The eyes of the international community are on Cyprus after Turkish Cypriot elections on Sunday.

The current Turkish Cypriot leader, conservative Dervis Eroglu, goes through to a run-off ballot with leftist rival Mustafa Akinci next Sunday.

Whoever wins will represent the northern Turkish Cypriots in peace talks likely to get underway soon with Greek Cypriots in the south.

Assistant Professor Dr. Okan Şafakli at the European University of Lefke told euronews: “Northern Cyprus is second in the world when it comes to nepotism. Unemployment is chronic.

“Because of reasons like these people are fed up with the current situation. And there is a wind of change. Akinci represents this movement, hope for a solution and what comes after that.”

But whoever wins, there seems to be general agreement that things cannot remain as they are.

Safakli added: “If this island doesn’t turn into an island of peace, for both communities, it’s not possible to go ahead and fully join the world system of states and attain a sustainable future.

“As you know in a common declaration, both sides said the status quo is not sustainable.”

With most of the 180,000 voting papers counted after Sunday’s ballot, Eroglu was in the lead with 29 percent of the vote and Akinci scored 27 percent.