Turkey interfering more than ever in Turkish Cypriot politics - report
The Turkish Cypriot government collapsed for the second time in two weeks amid allegations of meddling by Turkey in breakaway republic’s domestic politics.
Turkey was trying to prevent the establishment of a coalition led by Faiz Sucuoğlu, the leader of the National Unity Party (UBP), who has been at odds with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government since a party leadership contest in October 2020, , the Cyprus Mail said.
There has been serious political interference by Turkey in Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern Cyprus, “but I don’t think we have come across one that is so shameless,” said Serhat Incirli, a columnist for the Turkish Cypriot Yenidüzen newspaper, the Cyprus Mail said.
Faiz Sucuoğlu, the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), established a coalition government on April 25 after his previous administration resigned in a dispute with President Ersin Tatar over its finance minister.
On April 29, the coalition, which again comprised Sucuoğlu’s UBP, the Democratic Party (DP) and the Rebirth Party (YDP), collapsed after the junior coalition partners withheld a vote of confidence. The two parties said that Sucuoğlu had refused to sign a declaration of policies that they requested. Nobody believes this to be the genuine reason, the Cyprus Mail said.
“The intervention that began with the presidential elections has become official now,” said Tufan Erhürman, the leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the newspaper reported.
“Ankara’s intervention is obvious,” CTP deputy Doğuş Derya told the Sunday Mail. “Nobody denied this anyway. It is certain that there was a direct intervention.”
“The DP and YDP decided not to be in the government due to some hard pressurising, provoking, intimidating, suggesting… [They] could not withstand the pressure and the blackmailing…”, Incirli wrote in Yenidüzen.
“The reality is looking us in the eye. The reality is the reality of a coloniser and a colony. They are telling us: ‘We will rule you’… And they are telling us: “To hell with the Turkish Cypriot community,”” Incirli said.
Sucuoğlu replaced Finance Minister Sunat Atun with Olgun Amcaoğlu in his new cabinet, which was otherwise unchanged, after Tatar had blocked Atun’s dismissal. Sucuoğlu had asked the president to either approve Atun’s departure or accept his government's resignation. Sucuoğlu had attempted to sack Atun due to a disagreement over electricity price hikes.
Tatar, who is known for his close ties to Erdoğan, advocates fully aligning Turkish Cypriot policies with those of Turkey, such as pursuing a two-state solution as an alternative to the long-held federal model for the divided island.
“All segments of society will soon reject that there is such thing as a ‘Turkish Cypriot democracy,’” said Mine Atlı, the head of the opposition Social Democratic Party (TDP), the Cyprus Mail said.
“They are making the community say: “Turkish Cypriots cannot govern themselves.” Therefore, they will say: “We must govern you.” And this will just consolidate annexation.”
Sucuoğlu’s UBP established the coalition on Feb. 21 following a snap election in January. The vote took place a year ahead of schedule after former Prime Minister Ersan Saner resigned in October.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.