NICOSIA, Cyprus — A hard-liner’s victory in the Turkish Cypriot presidential election could bring deadlock to peace talks with Greek Cypriots and spell the end of Turkey’s bid for European Union membership, analysts said yesterday.
Nationalist Dervis Eroglu narrowly defeated leftist incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat in Sunday’s election with 50.38 percent of the vote, promising to continue reunification talks with rival Greek Cypriots. Talat drew 42.85 percent.
Eroglu told Turkey’s private NTV news channel yesterday that talks could resume in the second half of May after a six-week break for the election.
But his insistence on sovereignty for the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus could upend the federal framework that Talat and the island’s Greek Cypriot president, Dimitris Christofias, hammered out in 19 months of negotiations.
The island’s division is already hampering Turkey’s EU bid and failure of the talks would end it.
Eroglu’s victory was due mainly to disillusionment with Talat, whom many Turkish Cypriots fault for not delivering on a promise of a swift agreement.
With a clear mandate, there is little incentive for Eroglu to abandon his support for two separate states on the island. But he has pledged to press on with negotiations, in consultation with Turkey. Analysts say his assurances don’t inspire confidence of progress because he opposes a federal system.
The EU Commission said in a statement that it is crucial that peace talks go on and reiterated its full support to both leaders.