Post-election hoo-hah in Northern Cyprus

Post-election hoo-hah in Northern Cyprus

Turkish Cypriots are busy forming a government. The National Unity Party (UBP) produced 21 seats. The newly-established People’s Party (HP) won nine seats. The Democrat Party (DP) suffered a serious setback but still managed to gain three seats. The newly-established New Birth Party (YDP) supported mainly by Turks with mainland backgrounds took two seats.

The cumulative electoral and parliamentary strength of the “nationalist block” exceeded 70 percent and reached 35 seats. In a 50-seat parliament with a group of parties with similar ideologies that have won such a clear majority, you would think making a coalition government would be easy. Alas, such hopes have been dashed. Apart from the YDP, which said it would enter a coalition government irrespective of ideology provided the government committed Northern Cyprus to holding early elections, all the “nationalist” parties have expressed their unwillingness to form a coalition with the UBP.

This unwillingness also extents to the socialist Republican Turks’ Party (CTP), which has 12 seats in the new parliament, as well as President Mustafa Akıncı’s Communal Democracy Party (TDP), which has three seats. Both parties have said they would not form a coalition government that included the UBP.

It is an unfortunate political caprice for the newly-established HP of former chief negotiator Kudret Özersay to emerge from the ballot box with such strong electoral backing, having won nine seats, and then say his party will never have anything to do with the corrupt and “crooked” people of the UBP. Perhaps the HP should instead express willingness to enter a collation government on the condition that all corruption claims would be investigated.

What Northern Cyprus needs right now is a “national solidarity coalition,” which must include at least the UBP and the HP. Apart from corruption claims and widespread rumors concerning incumbent Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün’s extramarital affairs, all four “nationalist” parties share almost identical attitudes regarding the “national cause,” Turkey’s guarantor status and military presence on the island, and other security-related issues. At a time when new Cyprus talks might start within weeks of the Greek Cypriot presidential elections, why waste time with a rehashed poll? Is it not obvious that in a repeat election in two months’ time the UBP could come out stronger as Turkish Cypriots sought to punish those who shied away from coming to power?

Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades was saddened. Other Greek Cypriot political leaders have made similar comments and expressed worries that Turkish Cypriots have voted to consolidate their state. George Lilikas, however, was busy with the bribe offer he claimed to have been offered by another candidate. Friends of Archbishop Chrisostomos, who lately started to talk about a two-state solution rather than a federal Cyprus with a rotating presidency, said: “Results of the elections in the ‘occupied territories’ were not surprising at all.”

Parties that support Turkish Cypriots’ sovereignty claims to an equal share of the territory have received over 70 percent of the vote and won 35 seats in the 50-seat parliament. They are duty-bound to come up with a viable government formula. Such a government is badly needed especially in light of the fact that President Mustafa Akıncı continues to have wild and dangerous dreams of a federal resolution with rotating presidency bought in exchange for a farewell to Turkey’s guarantor status and military presence on Cyprus.

However, if nothing else, the last round of talks clearly demonstrated that 1- There is an insurmountable gap between the security positions of the two sides. 2- Greek Cypriots are unable to accept power sharing on the basis of political equality of the two peoples of Cyprus. 3- There is a total absence of trust between the two sides. That is why the target ought to be either the creation of a two-state within the European Union or a loose confederation of two states.

Yusuf Kanlı, hdn, Opinion