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Akinci Says No Unity Hopes Unless Turkish-Cypriots Re-Elect Him

Αssociated Press

Turkish Cypriot newly elected leader Mustafa Akinci speaks to his supporters after won the leadership election in Nicosia in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway north part of the divided island of Cyprus, Sunday, April 26, 2015. Akinci, a veteran politician with a strong track record of reaching out to rival Greek Cypriots, was elected as leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots in ethnically divided Cyprus. Akinci defeated hard-line incumbent Dervis Eroglu with 60.38 percent of the vote, preliminary official results showed. Turnout for Sunday's vote was just over 64 percent. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

With elections pushed back until October because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci unless voters bring him back to lead the occupied territory that there's no chance of reunification.

In office for five years and bringing initial optimism he could work with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to bring a breakthrough to talks stalled for decades, Akinci – like all those before him – got nowhere.

He didn't clarify why he thought he could if he's re-elected with the negotiations dead in the water since they collapsed in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana where they were being held in secret instead of on Cyprus.

The talks broke off when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never removed a 35,000-strong army on the northern third held by Turkey since an unlawful 1974 invasion and demanded the right of further military intervention.

Turkey also has refused to give an accounting of what happened to Cypriots taken prisoner 45 years ago and the United Nations keeping a peacekeeping force on the island to keep the sides apart and from further conflict.

“What kind of progress can we expect when the entire world is battling with the pandemic, with human loss and concerns about survival,” Akinci was quoted by the Cyprus News Agency, in translated comments, as telling the newspaper Kibris in an interview about his reaching out.

The coronavirus crisis “is a further illustration of how necessary a solution is for the two communities,” Akinci said, adding, however, that he is not prepared to take any steps on the issue of reunifications talks unless he is reelected.

That means even as lockdowns aimed at preventing the spread of the virus wind down on both sides of the island that talks won't resume until the autumn and who knows when if he is not returned by voters.

Akinci said that if he is reelected, he will do “everything in his power” to restart peace talks, warning that “the more time that goes by, the deeper division and divisiveness take root,” repeating phrases used for years by government leaders.