By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS Associated Press
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A hardliner who favors even closer ties with Turkey and a tougher stance with rival Greek Cypriots in peace talks has defeated the leftist incumbent in the Turkish Cypriot leadership runoff Sunday.
Turkish Cypriot broadcaster BRT says with 100% of the votes counted, Ersin Tatar secured 51.74% of the vote compared to 48.26% for Mustafa Akinci.
Tatar appears to have benefited from a higher turnout in the runoff, managing to rally supporters from the approximately 200,000-strong electorate who may not have voted in the first round.
Akinci conceded defeat to Tatar in a speech to supporters at his campaign headquarters, congratulating his opponent on his victory.
“We went through an election contest that wasn’t normal … These results mark the end of my 45-year political career,” Akinci said. “I wish good luck to our people.”
Tatar declared victory in a speech to his supporters.
Akinci, 72, is a champion of Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s complete domination of their affairs. Tatar, 60, advocates fully aligning Turkish Cypriot policies with those of Turkey, the region’s patron.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip…