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YUSUF KANLI

yusuf.kanli@hurriyet.com.tr

YUSUF KANLI > The AKP and its men in Cyprus

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As though everything is perfect, and the only remaining anomaly is the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) of northern Cyprus, Turkey has apparently started efforts to make sure that its man remains in power there for now.

Only few years ago, the same government in Ankara had some other people it considered its men in northern Cyprus, but the Turkish Cypriot people made it clear that the people in power in northern Cyprus should not be anyone else’s men but their own. That was why first the Socialist Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) coalition government with the Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖRP) – a party established with Ankara’s manipulation by four deputies who resigned from the other two center-right parties – was taken down in the elections, and later Mehmet Ali Talat was ousted from the presidency with an electoral defeat. Turkish Cypriots elected a center-right government and a center-right president, although Ankara very much wanted Talat and the CTP to remain in power.

Why did the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government want Talat and the CTP in and former President Rauf Denktaş and the UBP (as well as the Democrat Party) out? It’s simple: Talat, the CTP and the AKP believed that Denktaş and the UBP were the reason a solution to the Cyprus problem could not be achieved over the past four decades, and that if they were put aside and a pro-settlement government were installed in northern Cyprus, a deal with the Greek Cypriots would become very easy to achieve.

The end result? The AKP, Talat and some segments of the CTP (some still remain blinded by their ideology) realized that the Greek Cypriot side was never even interested in a settlement, and it was because of that that a resolution could not be achieved in the Cyprus talks that have been continuing since 1967.

Despite the AKP’s desire to work with Talat and the socialists, Turkish Cypriots realized that they must first embrace their state and support those who are for the consolidation of the Turkish state. Why? Because of the Annan Plan fiasco that Ankara so staunchly supported, and the gross failure of the EU, the United States and others who promised international integration to Turkish Cypriots should they accept the plan. Although the Turkish Cypriots did accept the UN plan, they have been left out in the cold. The Greek Cypriots, who rejected the plan, were rewarded with E.U. membership.

Now, the UBP government has been in power since 2010, and with Ankara’s assistance has been trying to restructure the Turkish Cypriot state. The plan is a rather wild one, dictated by Turkey. Those who were the AKP’s men yesterday are staunchly against the plan, thanks also to the arrogance of [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan.

The AKP now wants the UBP convention to reelect Prime Minister İrsen Küçük as its leader so that the program can continue to be implemented without interruption. Due to the domestic struggle for political dominance, President Derviş Eroğlu, a former UBP leader, wants Health Minister Ahmet Kaşif to become the UBP’s chief and prime minister. Would Kaşif do anything other than what the AKP tells him? As long as Ankara remains the sole financier of the Turkish Cypriot government, unfortunately not… Yet, Kaşif is under pressure from Ankara to step out of the race.

The UBP convention is in December. As the saying goes: By then this rice will have taken up much more water.

July/27/2012

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