CYPRUS: Turkish Cypriot coalition collapses over land ‘scandal’

Head of the ruling coalition in the Turkish-held north of Cyprus submitted his resignation to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Thursday, essentially marking the collapse of a 15-month partnership between four parties of different political backgrounds.

The Turkish Cypriot coalition fell apart after Kudret Ozersay, head of foreign affairs, resigned over what is being presented as a property scandal involving the son of Serdar Denktash the head of finance in the north.

A probe was launched into public land being leased without proper procedures being followed to the Rauf Denktash University, of which Serdar Denktash’s son Rauf is a main shareholder.

Following the launch of the probe, Serdar Denktash stepped down in order to facilitate the investigation. Denktash heads the centrist Democratic Party (DP) one of smaller but key partners in the coalition.

Denktash standing down was followed by the resignation of Ozersay, who heads the right-wing People’s Party (HP) which collected 17% of the vote in 2018 elections.

Ozersay in statements made to Turkish Cypriot media said there was trust crisis between the four partners of the coalition and that the situation has reached a point where it cannot be tolerated any more.

He said that Denktash is not just a member of the administration but the representative of one of the four partners in the coalition.

HP’s decided on Wednesday night to pull out of the coalition with 55 votes to 4.

The leftist Communal Democratic Party (TDP), to which Akinci is affiliated, has yet to announce its intentions.

After HP’s decision to withdraw, the head of the coalition and leader of the left People’s Republican Party, Tufan Erhuman announced that he would resign in order to facilitate the succession process.

The collapse of the ruling coalition in the north did not come as a surprise as a trust issue between partners had become obvious in the last few months, while rumours in the north had HP in talks with nationalistic National Unity Party (UBP) to form a new administration.

Ozersay has denied on several occasions he was in contact with UBP, stating that he did not even have a coffee with the party’s leader Ersin Tatar.

Akinci announced that procedures to form an administration to succeed the outgoing coalition will begin next week when he will have separate meetings with each party.

The outgoing coalition is the first to be formed with the partnership of four parties from different background and the 34th administration in 36 years since the creation of the breakaway state in the north only recognized by Turkey.

Source: The Financial Mirror