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Vigorous Presidential Involvement on Cyprus Issue

Vigorous Presidential Involvement on Cyprus Issue

Hours after he delivered the oath and started his second term in office, Turkey’s strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made sweeping changes to the state system,

gathering the power to appoint all civilian and military bureaucrats, including the power to single-handedly decide on the promotions of ranks and retirement in the military. Erdoğan has become the sole decision-maker.

It would probably have been an insult up until a few years ago, but currently, a celebrative mood regarding the appointment of the country’s top military leader as defense minister has demonstrated at the same time what a great advance civilian governance has achieved in the country.

No one has any doubt regarding the legitimacy of Erdoğan’s presidency. The nation has expressed its will. Democracy does not only consist of the ballot box. The free vote of the people is one of the fundamentals of democratic governance. The will of the people must be respected. As of the moment, Erdoğan has delivered the presidential oath for a second time, he should be considered the legitimate president of Turkey, and of each member of this nation of over 80 million people. No one should have any doubt about that.

The right to criticize, on the other hand, should be considered a fundamental right in full respect to the tenants of democratic governance. This ought to be the fundamental role the media must play in this new era almost absent of a checks and balances system. Unfortunately, most newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and even electronic media outlets of the country have been effectively domesticated over the years and very few independent, objective, and courageous voices have survived to this day.

Also read:  Erdoğan Releases Message to Mark 94th Anniversary Of Republic Day

What will the situation be now? Will Erdoğan be a law-respectful chief executive opening fresh avenues of prosperity and tranquility not only for this nation of over 80 million people, but also for this very tumultuous geography? Despite all worries, it is the sincere hope of even his worst critics that Erdoğan will not push troubled Turkish democracy down the drain and introduce an iron fist governance.

Erdoğan’s first trips as the new president of the country were to Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Those lightning trips were followed yesterday with a trip to Brussels for a NATO visit and contacts with Turkey’s allies, that demonstrated the continuation of tradition but also more so a determination to preserve the “pacta sunt servanda,” particularly in regards to the fundamentals of Turkish foreign policy.

Can Erdoğan manage to soothe worries of Turkey’s allies at the NATO summit? American President Donald Trump has his own priorities. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is having difficulty in pulling together her cabinet, facing serious hurdles in carrying Brexit to its last stage. Yet, Turkey is a very important ally not only of those two countries or France, but for the entire NATO alliance.

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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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