Encouraging sign as moderate Turkish Cypriot politicians lead in poll

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NICOSIA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- In an encouraging sign in relation to the prospects for a Cyprus solution, two moderate Turkish Cypriot politicians are front runners in a survey ahead of so-called presidential elections in the Turkey-controlled northern part of Cyprus, according to a poll published by a Turkish Cypriot newspaper on Monday.

It said current Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is on top in a poll with 33 percent, with the leader of the left-wing Republican Turkish Party, Tufan Erhurman, in second place with 16 percent, up four percentage points from March.

In third place is current nationalist "foreign minister" Kudret Ozersay, who leads the People's Party, with 11.4 percent, a rise of 2.4 percentage points compared to a similar March poll.

Current "prime minister" Ersin Tatar, also a nationalist, is in fourth place with 10.6 percent, almost four points down from March.

Both Ozersay and Tatar have caused concern last month when they announced plans to expand the control of the Turkish Cypriot so-called state over more Greek Cypriot properties in the ghost city of Famagusta.

The so-called government in the northern part of Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey, as the breakaway state declared in 1983 has been condemned by the United Nations Security Council as illegal.

However, the "presidential election" held every five years, with the next election due in April, 2020, is closely watched by the United Nations and by countries with a stake in efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, a problem on the UN Agenda since the early 1960s.

The "president" elected by about 200,000 voters is recognized as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and is vested with the right to conduct negotiations with the leader of the Greek Cypriot community, who is also the leader of the internationally recognized government of Cyprus.

An untimely win by one of the nationalist politicians may lead to a long stalemate in peace negotiations, as it happened in 2010, when nationalist Dervis Eroglu succeeded moderate Mehmet Ali Talat.

Impressive progress achieved in the UN-led negotiations up to then was followed by many years of stalemate, after he retracted agreements achieved on thorny issues. Enditem

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