Mustafa Akinci, who won a run-off for the Turkish Cypriot leadership on Sunday, is a veteran politician seen as best placed to revive peace talks with the Republic of Cyprus.
Akinci, 67, beat incumbent Dervis Eroglu in the presidential vote in the breakaway enclave occupying the northern third of the Mediterranean island.
Born in the southern city of Limassol in 1947, Akinci was first elected to parliament in 1975, a year after Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in response to an Athens-engineered coup seeking to unite the island with Greece.
Akinci became mayor of the occupied northern section of Nicosia in 1976, a post he held until 1990. He worked on numerous initiatives with his Greek Cypriot counterparts while in office.
Returning to the north’s parliament in 1993, Akinci held several portfolios, including the posts of deputy prime minister and minister of tourism.
In 2003, he was instrumental in the foundation of Peace and Democracy Movement, and went on to lead the Communal Democracy Party, which openly advocates reunification with the Republic of Cyprus.
Akinci’s track record of dialogue with Greek Cypriot officials means he is seen as one of the north’s best hopes in revived peace talks, stalled since last October.
He came second to Eroglu in the first round of voting on April 19, after which he promised a «better and brighter future» for TRNC residents, whose home territory is seen as illegal by every nation except Turkey.
“Past generations suffered a lot. People from both communities have shared suffering,» Akinci said. «Let the next generation share (the) blessings of this island.”
Married with three daughters, Akinci has two grandchildren.