Voters in ethnically divided Cyprus have elected a Turkish Cypriot to the European Parliament for the first time since the island nation joined the 28-member bloc in 2004.
Niyazi Kizilyurek, who teaches at the University of Cyprus’ Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies Department, ran for the communist-rooted AKEL party that was the runner-up in Sunday’s European parliament election behind the conservative Democratic Rally party.
Kizilyurek told private TV station Sigma that he’ll represent Cyprus and its European citizens, irrespective of ethnic origin.
AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said the election of Kizilyurek, 60, sends a strong message to other EU nations that Cypriots want an end to their country’s division and want more EU help in peace efforts.
Turnout was at 42.8 percent.
Despite earlier opinion polls, far-right party ELAM didn’t manage to gain one of Cyprus’ six allotted seats at the European Parliament, even though it doubled its support. [AP]