19.7 C
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
HomeWorldVideo: Turkish elections spark some hope in Northern Cyprus

Video: Turkish elections spark some hope in Northern Cyprus


In northern Cyprus, 100 kilometers from Turkey, where the second round of presidential elections will be held on Sunday, citizens of the self-proclaimed “republic” also voted this week, some hoping to bring the divided island out of a stalemate.

“There will be no changes unless Kemal Kilicdaroglu wins,” Turkish Cypriot pensioner Necmi Bilge, 70, who holds Turkish citizenship and voted for the rival of outgoing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told AFP.

But a few streets away, Turkish Hasan Hammam, 30, who owns a restaurant and has lived in northern Cyprus since 2010, says he is “satisfied with Erdogan” because he is “very strong” and “always implements his projects.”

Cyprus, which joined the European Union in 2004, has been divided since Turkey occupied its north in 1974 in response to a coup by nationalist Greek Cypriots who wanted to annex the island to Greece.

The Republic of Cyprus exercises its authority only over the southern part of the island which is separated by the Green Line, a demilitarized zone monitored by the United Nations, from the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” where Turkish Cypriots live.

In total, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot voters with Turkish citizenship cast their ballots between 20 and 24 May, a few days before the second round in Turkey. The number of registered voters in Northern Cyprus is 144,000.

In the first round, opposition figure Kilicdaroglu won 53.5 percent of the vote, compared to 39.4 percent for Erdogan.

The outgoing Turkish president scored much lower results in Northern Cyprus than he achieved in Turkey, where he came in the forefront and won 49.5 percent of the vote, compared to 44.9 percent for Kilicdaroglu.

A diplomatic source told AFP that the result in northern Cyprus “is identical to the results of a major opposition city in Turkey,” considering that this is a rejection of Erdogan’s policy in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which is recognized only by Turkey.

The Turkish president recently called for recognition of the existence of two states on the island, but this constitutes a red line for the Greek Cypriot authorities as well as for the international community that hopes to create a federation.

Nazif Boztli, representative of Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party in northern Cyprus, criticizes the proposal.

He said among voters who were voting in a huge gymnasium in the northern part of the capital, Nicosia, that “Erdogan’s two-state solution (…) is unrealistic,” stressing, “We want a union based on mutual respect.”

“game over”

Some voters voted without much hope.

“The game is over,” said a Turkish Cypriot lawyer, seeing the latest opinion polls tilting in Erdogan’s favour. He added that the Turkish president “will win whatever the results here in Cyprus (…) and we will bear the consequences of that.”

“We don’t expect anything to change with the elections in Turkey. Change in Cyprus must come first and foremost from the Cypriots,” Bilge said.

But to resume peace talks after their failure in Crans-Montana (Switzerland) in 2017, the next Turkish president must restore “good relations” with the European Commission and recognize that “the status quo in Cyprus is unsustainable,” says Kemal Baykali, founder of the NGO Unite. “Cyberus Now”, which works for the reunification of the island.

Ioannis Ioannos, a Greek Cypriot analyst at the Geopolitical Cypros Center, said rapprochement with the European Commission would be easier if Kilicdaroglu was elected.

greater respect

Yonca Ozdemir, 50, believes that the small “republic” cannot in any way advance on its own and needs Ankara on its side.

The Turkish Cypriot, who holds Turkish citizenship and has lived in Cyprus for 16 years, said, “The TRNC is closely linked to Turkey.”

She added that “everything that happens there has a direct impact on us (…) no one recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” stressing that half of the Turkish Cypriots want to reunify the island.

Kemal Bekali hopes that the winner of Sunday’s elections in Turkey will be able to put Cyprus at the top of the political agenda, above all always remembering that the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and although it depends on Turkey’s money has its own “government”.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories