Turkey seeks conservative Turkish Cyprus: opposition

Turkey seeks conservative Turkish Cyprus: opposition

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey seeks conservative Turkish Cyprus: opposition

This file photo shows students of a divinity high school in Turkey. N Cyprus’s first divinity high school will open soon. Hürriyet photo

Turkey’s ruling party is taking steps to build a more conservative society in northern Cyprus, the leader of Turkish Cyprus’s main opposition party has said, accusing the Turkish Cypriot administration of turning a blind eye to such efforts in order to keep their seats.

“[The Turkish government] is making efforts to introduce its conservative influence in northern Cyprus. Divinity schools have been opened in northern Cyprus, which is unprecedented, although our legislation does not allow such schools. Our government is turning a blind eye to these developments for the sake of remaining in their posts. This situation sparks fury among the Turkish Cypriot people,” Özkan Yorgancıoğlu, leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Northern Cyprus’s first divinity college will begin its educational program this school year, following the opening of a divinity faculty at Near East University in the 2011-2012 school year. Critics in Northern Cyprus have spoken out against the introduction of divinity schools, relating the development to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks in which he vowed to “raise a pious generation.”

The ruling National Unity Party (UBP) is tied to Turkish government’s apron strings at the moment, Yorgancıoğlu said.

“The UBP is incapable of taking a firm stand on the impositions the AKP is making. Thus, the Turkish government has had the chance to do whatever it wants without objection from the Northern Cypriot administration. But we cannot accept this situation,” he said.

Talks between the Greek and Turkish sides of Cyprus to resolve the decades-old problems there will probably speed up after the upcoming elections in Greek Cyprus, Yorgancıoğlu said, favoring the reunification of the island as the ultimate goal.

The CTP leader also elaborated on the option of annexing Turkish Cyprus to Turkey. “There is no legal basis for annexation,” Yorgancıoğlu said, “But they can create a de facto annexation.”