The fifth president of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus has been sworn in at a special ceremony at the TRNC Parliament in the capital Lefkoşa (Nicosia).
Ersin Tatar took the oath of allegiance on Friday afternoon, 23 October, five days after beating the incumbent Mustafa Akıncı in a run-off.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Turkish Cypriot Members of Parliament, military officials and Turkey’s Vice-President Fuat Oktay, who had flown in especially for the occasion.
After taking his presidential oath, the President Tatar took part in a second ceremony at the TRNC Presidential White House, in an official handover from his predecessor Mustafa Akıncı.
Last Sunday Ersin Tatar, the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), emerged victorious against his left-wing rival Mr Akıncı in the run-off, winning with just under 52% of the vote.
The Presidential Election was marred by accusations of interference by Turkey, prompting some left-wing MPs from Mr Akıncı’s Communal Democracy Party (TDP) and the main opposition Turkish Republican Party (CTP) to boycott the presidential oath ceremony in the TRNC Parliament.
President Tatar, 60, has vowed to break free from the decades-long political deadlock that has prevented a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus Problem.
The conservative politician favours a two-state solution and closer ties with Turkey over the reunification of Cyprus.
The power-sharing government of the Republic of Cyprus was destroyed in a Greek Cypriot coup in December 1963. The larger community unlawfully seized control of the state, leaving Turkish Cypriots fighting for their survival on the island.
In 1974 Turkey, which is one of three Guarantor Powers for Cyprus, was forced to militarily intervene in response to an Athens-backed coup that deposed the Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios and replaced him with Nicos Sampson. This notorious killer not only intended to achieve ‘Enosis’ (union with Greece), but had also vowed to annihilate all Turks on the island.
Turkey’s intervention led to the creation of two ethnic states: a Turkish North and a Greek South. Efforts to reunite the island have consistently failed. Since 1964, the UN has presented 11 peace deals to the two Cypriot communities, each one rejected by the Greek Cypriots.
The Greek South continues to operate as the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus. To counter this, Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared the TRNC on 15 November 1983.
The TRNC is only recognised by Turkey, although multiple organisations and countries, such as the UN, EU, OIC, and UK have de facto relations with the administration in Lefkoşa and its head of state, the TRNC President.