CYPRUS: Turkish Cypriots in search to close power vacuum

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has met political party leaders in the north of Turkish-held Cyprus to try and form a new administration after ruling coalition collapsed over a political scandal.

Head of the ruling coalition, Tufan Erhurman tendered in his resignation to Akinci on Thursday, essentially marking the collapse of a 15-month partnership between four parties of different political backgrounds.

Following the collapse of the coalition, Akinci met with the leaders of the six parties who sit in the Turkish Cypriot assembly, in an effort to identify parties willing to cooperate to form a ruling coalition.

As things stand, the new ruling formation is likely to include the right-wing National Unity Party (UBP) known for its nationalistic stance on the Cyprus problem, headed by Ersin Tatar, and Kudret Ozersay’s right-wing People’s Party (HP), a key partner in the previous coalition.

The new alliance is expected to see former partners, Erhurman’s left Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Serdar Denktash’s Democratic Party (DP) and leftist Communal Democracy Party (TDP) excluded from the future partnership.

Currently UBP has 21 seats, CTP 12, HP 9, DP 3 and the extreme-right-wing New Birth Party (YDP) 2.

Erhurman in his meeting with Akinci, told the Turkish Cypriot leader that the mandate for forming a new coalition should be given to UBP’s Ersin Tatar as they are the only party with enough representatives to set up a government.

It is understood that Erhurman’s CTP is unhappy with Kudret Ozersay’s HP’s stance, as they see a possible deal with UBP to bring down the current administration.

Serdar Denktash has stated that even if his party is to take part in a new coalition, he will not personally participate.

His son is involved in a scandal involving public land which is considered as the reason for the administration’s collapse.

TDP’s Cemal Ozyigit has fired at Ozersay and UBP, accusing them of planning and executing a scenario to bring down the administration with the aim of taking over.

He told Turkish Cypriot reporters on Monday that Ozersay did not leave the coalition just because of a ‘land scandal’ but had planned his exit.

We confronted him with these suspicions, but he denied everything saying that he did not even have coffee with an UBP representative said Ozyigit.

HP’s Ozersay has said that the party is to decide on steps to be taken at a general assembly of the party to be held on Monday night.

UBP’s Ersin Tatar said that there are not many options for the formation of a ruling coalition, stressing that UBP participation will be necessary. We are in the midst of a crisis, there is a governance gap and we should not prolong the procedures.

Tatar mentioned that the financial protocol with Turkey has yet to be signed and any further delays will lead the Turkish Cypriot community into financial turmoil.

The Turkish Cypriot coalition fell apart after 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 by 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 said there was trust crisis between the four partners of the coalition and that the situation had become untenable.

Source: The Financial Mirror