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Disgrace in Northern Cyprus

Disgrace in Northern Cyprus

The Turkish Cypriot parliamentary elections last month produced a rather scattered parliament.

Some 70 percent of the electorate voted for center-right parties demanding Turkey’s continued guarantor status as well as the presence of Turkish troops in Northern Cyprus.

For the first time since the early 1990s, the cumulative left vote fell below 30 percent, demonstrating the continued frustration with the performance of the Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) and disapproval of the policies of President Mustafa Akıncı, the “honorary” leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP).

The newly-established People’s Party of former chief negotiator Kudret Özersay (HP) scored a major victory in its first election, emerging as the third major party. The Democratic Party (DP) of Serdar Denktaş suffered a humiliating defeat but still managed to enter parliament with three seats. The victor was the National Unity Party (UBP), which added to its parliamentary seats by increasing its vote share by almost 12 percentage points. The other party that entered parliament with two seats was the New Birth Party (YDP), largely supported by settlers from mainland Turkey.

The cumulative vote of the center-right exceeded 70 percent, allowing the parliamentary strength of the center-right’s three parties to exceed the qualified majority needed to change the constitution. However, claiming that the UBP and its leader Hüseyin Özgürgün are “corrupt” and involved in favoritism, nepotism and irregularities (including distributing citizenship to unqualified applicants) Turkish Cyprus’ two leftist parties and two center-right parties shunned all prospect of forming a coalition government with the UBP.

As a result, after two weeks of uncertainty Özgürgün handed back the duty of forming a government to the president, and Akıncı designated CTP leader Tufan Erhürman – who had already completed coalition talks with the HP, the TDP and the DP – to form the government. Within less than a day Erhürman had presented the cabinet list, got it approved by the president, and a new government was formed.

Also read:  Time for Resolution and Solidarity

If the basic amalgam of the four-way government was to fight the corruption, favoritism, nepotism and arbitrary rule habits of the UBP government, should it not behave in a manner shunning all such bad habits on the island?

After the UBP leader asked for an appointment to offer a coalition partnership to the HP, Özersay said he would not even offer a cup of coffee to waste time with Özgürgün? Özersay said his party had campaigned on a platform pledging clean and transparent governance, would remain loyal to campaign pledges, and would not discuss a government partnership with the UBP as long as Özgürgün remained its leader.

Özersay and the other three leaders were perhaps right. Northern Cyprus needs a clean and respectable new start.

The opening ceremony of the Turkish Cypriot parliament under 80-year-old Hüseyin Angolemli’s acting speakership was a sham. A group raided the legislature and deputies intentionally changed the words of the oath or turned the ceremony into a rally ground. Angolemli has been a respectable personality in Turkish Cypriot politics. But his performance as acting speaker was appalling.

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About The Author

Yusuf Kanli

Born in Cyprus in 1959, Yusuf Kanlı is a graduate of the English Language and Literature Department of the Faculty of Letters of the Ankara University. He started journalism with the Turkish Daily News in 1978. Until he briefly left the paper in 1985 (for military service in Northern Cyprus) he served as diplomatic correspondent, assistant foreign news editor and assistant editor. During this period he was as well one of the two co-authors of an annual reference book on Turkey, “Turkey Almanac”. After completing his military service he returned the Daily News as assistant editor. In 1989 he became executive editor and also started writing daily opinion articles. He continued to be one of the co-authors of the “Turkey Almanac” annual reference book. In February 1993, over differences with the publisher on editorial policy, he quit the paper and joined the Anatolia News Agency (AA) as deputy foreign news chief. He stayed with the Anatolia News Agency until September 1995. In this period, he covered the Armenia-Azerbaijan war over Nogorno-Karabagh, covered developments in the post-independence Central Asian republics. Because of his refusal as the duty editor to run a manipulated news story demanded by the then lady prime minister of the country, he was fired from the AA, a development that Kanlı considers as his “medal of honor” in the profession. On his return to the Daily News for a third time in October 1995, he first became an editor at large but soon assumed the responsibility of electronic publishing and established Turkey’s first daily updated English language news web site, the TDN Online on May 19, 1996 (now In January 1997, he became executive editor of the Daily News for a second time and stayed in that post until he was appointed as editor-in-chief in June 2004. In February 2007, he quit all executive duties and became a contract columnist of the newspaper. He has been also writing weekly articles in Turkish for a variety of newspapers and news portals in Northern Cyprus. He is a former chairperson and the honorary chairperson of Diplomacy Correspondents Association (DMD) of Turkey, an active member of Association of Foreign Policy Council, a member of the executive board and vice chairperson of the Association of Journalists and coordinator of the Press for Freedom project, which has been monitoring and reporting on press and freedom of expression issues in Turkey since 2013. He has been a member of several associations and foundations, mostly established by Turkish Cypriots living in Turkey or abroad. He is married to Dr. Aydan Kanlı and has one daughter, Cansu. He has Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Cypriot triple nationality.

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