Turkish Cypriots pick leader as stakes soar in Mediterranean

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Turkish Cypriots are voting in a leadership runoff to chose between an incumbent who pledges a course less bound by Turkey’s dictates and a challenger who favors even closer ties to Ankara. Veteran incumbent Mustafa Akinci is a champion of Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s complete domination of their affairs. He also backs a federal framework for a peace deal with rival Greek Cypriots to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus. His hard-line challenger Ersin Tatar advocates fully aligning Turkish Cypriot with Turkish policies, such as pursuing a two-state deal instead of a federation.  But Sunday’s contest seems more polarized than ever. Akinci has alleged that Turkey has engaged in “unprecedented” interference throughout the campaign in favor of Tatar.

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