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Mustafa Akinci storms to victory as leader of Turkish Cypriots

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By Euronews  with Bora Bayraktar
Mustafa Akinci storms to victory as leader of Turkish Cypriots

Winning just over 60 percent of the votes, Mustafa Akinci has been elected the new leader of Turkish Cypriots.

The 67-year old beat incumbant conservative Dervis Eroglu.

Akinci, a leftist moderate, was standing as an independent candidate. He campaigned on the promise of pushing for a peace deal on Cyprus, when talks resume in May 2015.

In his victory speech, Akinci promised change:
“We will achieve a change, which is real and full of content, in this country, all together, hand in hand,” he pledged.

The island was divided in 1974 by a Turkish invasion staged in response to a short-lived, Greek-inspired coup intended to secure a union with Greece.

“We are so happy,” said one local woman. “This is a message to our Greek Cypriots: compatriots come, join us to unify this beautiful island.”

A walkout by Greek Cypriots last October stalled peace negotiations, although they are scheduled to resume within days of the leadership vote.

Cyprus is represented internationally and in the EU by the Greek Cypriot government, which controls the southern portion of the island.

Only Turkey recognises the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

So, is peace possible, and is Akinci the man for the job? Our correspondent Bora Bayraktar sent this report:
“Turkish Cypriots who wanted change and backed Mustafa Akinci are celebrating their victory. The question is: will Akinci, an architect by profession, be able to create peace on the island? We’ll see next month, when talks begin.”