Towards early elections in Turkish Cyprus?

Towards early elections in Turkish Cyprus?

A consensus has not been achieved within the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) in northern Cyprus. The supporters of Ahmet Kaşif, who stood as a candidate against the prime minister, İrsen Küçük, in the Council, argue that, “The prime minister’s term of office has come to an end.” For a long time, there has been a serious crisis between Prime Minister Küçük and Ahmet Kaşif; whereas President Derviş Eroğlu supports Kaşif. The latest conflict within the UBP erupted during the elections of secretary general. Kaşif, the leader of the “dissident wing,” negotiated with the prime minister and argued that the seat of secretary general must belong to a deputy on whom a consensus is reached. “A candidate whom we favor must be secretary general,” the opposition said. The prime minister also gave some messages hinting that “a consensus could be reached.” However, not the candidate of opponents, but the prime minister’s candidate won the elections. The opponent wing formed by ten deputies released a notice reading “(…) There is no winner. The UBP is losing, and will continue losing if this perception continues (…)”

“We will overthrow government”

During my conversation with an opposition deputy, he said “the prime minister ignores us. This is the last straw. From now on, we will not allow the prime minister to perform his duties in the parliament. We will resort to all possible ways, including attempts to overthrow the government.” If 10 deputies do not go to the Parliament within the UBP, who has 30 deputies in the 50-seat Parliament; 26 deputies, the number required for the Parliament to assemble, will not be found.

If the opposition does not support the UBP, the required number could not be reached. And with a motion of censure that could be submitted, the government will fall, paving the way for elections. This means that the country might experience early elections. The scheduled time for the elections is April, 2014. This date might be brought forward to September or October, 2013.

Harsh references to Eroğlu

Before the secretary general elections, President Eroğlu said, “I think the Council remained behind. Now it is essential to achieve unity and solidarity within the party.”

Prime Minister Küçük responded harshly to Eroğlu after the elections. “The UBP is the peoples’ party, and it proved that it does not serve a certain group, and elected its secretary general as part of democracy.” This statement makes some references to President Eroğlu. Küçük criticized Eroğlu since he regards the UBP as a “family party.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Küçük went to the U.S. on May 12 to attend the Turkish Day Parade. But when he returns to the country, he might face a “political atmosphere” in which some steps are taken for early elections. We will together see the opposition’s consistency and Küçük’s power and authority within the following two weeks.

“Turkey supports policies”

Before the 2010 presidential elections, Second President Mehmet Ali Talat had said, “If I lose the elections, the AKP policies will indirectly lose, as well.” Upon that, Turkey’s then deputy prime minister, Cemil Çiçek, and Foreign Ministry reacted against Talat, arguing that “Turkey supports policies, not persons.”

We now see that some people in northern Cyprus still cannot “comprehend” it. It is not right to involve Ankara in every debate and to exploit the “good relations” with them.

Sefa Karahasan is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this article was published on May 13. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.