Cyprus election being ignored

Cyprus election being ignored

Over the past year in Cyprus’ north, party elections have been debated, particularly the ones for the chairmanship of the National Unity Party (UBP). In the south of the island, the answer to the question “Who will be the president” is being sought. But while Turkey and Turkish Cyprus should be focusing on the elections in the south, this hasn’t been possible because of the political crisis in the north.

Prime Minister İrsen Küçük and former Health Minister Ahmet Kaşif competed for the leadership of the UBP on Oct. 21, 2012, but Kaşif took the matter to court afterwards, saying the prime minister did not receive half of the number of delegates. The court then ruled to repeat the congress. The party assembly of the UBP decided that the congress would again be held Feb. 24. Now there is a new run-up to the elections for party leadership. The UBP will continue with either Küçük or Kaşif. Let us say that Ankara, which has been closely monitoring the situation, is “seriously uncomfortable” with what has happened. The amount of time being spent on domestic affairs instead of the Greek presidential elections is at an unacceptable level. No one is paying attention to the policies the new Greek leader after Demetris Christofias will adopt and what steps he will take on the Cyprus issue, while almost no work is being done to develop strategies related to that.

In northern Cyprus, it is believed that Democratic Rally (DISY) head Nikos Anastasiadis will likely win; however, no thought has been given to the fact that his rivals, Stavros Malas and Yorgo Lillikas, could spring a surprise. Well, what is happening on the Greek side? In all of the opinion polls conducted in the south, Anastasiadis is leading. However, the elections are expected to head to a second round. There could be a surprise at that level. In the event that Anastasiadis and Lillikas face off against each other in the second round, it is being loudly suggested that Malas’ supporters, in other words the communist AKEL, will support Lillikas since AKEL will not want to lose the presidency to its archrival, DISY.

Federal, not unitary solution
With Feb. 17 approaching, the Cyprus issue is not occupying much space in election campaigns. The election, instead, is focused on the economy. About the Cyprus issue, phrases such as “striking” and “needs to be taken into consideration” are being bandied about. The sentences Health Minister Malas is using in describing the solution are important: “The solution should be in accordance with U.N. resolutions, international law and European law.” He also emphasizes a hard-hitting point: “The solution is to transform the Republic of Cyprus from a unitary state … into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.” Anastasiadis, on the other hand, is said to be supporting a “loose federation.” Anastasiadis has already given such messages behind closed doors.

Loose federation model
It is possible to define a loose federation as such: “Let everybody live wherever they are.” In other words, let the current “status quo” remain. Anastasiadis also thinks that in the event a new plan is brought to the table, that one should absolutely be accepted, having said, “If we ever reject another plan, that would be a disaster; it would lead to separation.”

On the other hand, Yorgo Lillikas, who represents the continuation of former President Tassos Papadopoulos’ policies, has even objected to the Annan Plan with harsh words. He does not deny that he has the same attitude as Papadopoulos, who was known as “Mr. No.” In other words, he does not want a federal solution and talks about a “unitary” structure.

The Greek elections are of a type that is liable to shake or affect the equilibrium in northern Cyprus. For this reason, Turkish Cypriot politicians struggling with domestic politics should monitor the Greek elections closely as soon as possible.

Otherwise, the newly elected Greek leader will make life difficult for us; this is clear already. I’m telling you.