The National Unity Party (UBP) won the parliamentary elections in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus on Sunday, garnering 36.5 percent of the vote. The party wants closer ties between the internationally unrecognised Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey. Consequently its victory is perceived as a further setback for attempts to reunify Cyprus.
Do Turkish Cypriots even want a reunification?
The daily paper Phileleftheros doesn't believe the new leadership in the north of the island can provide a solution to the Cyprus problem:
“Logically, the Turkish Cypriots' economic dependence on Turkey leaves any Turkish Cypriot leadership little to no room for manoeuvre. The worst aspect, however, is that there is zero willingness to sever the umbilical cord with Turkey. So the question is whether the Turkish Cypriots want an alternative to sharing their home country with the Greek Cypriots. Over the course of time it has become clear that it's not about who is elected to power but about how determined the Turkish Cypriots are to free themselves from Ankara's dictatorship.”
Turkish Cypriots want a two-state solution
The Turkish Cypriots have clearly positioned themselves with the vote, writes the Turkish-Cypriot columnist Yusuf Kanlı in Hürriyet Daily News:
“The cumulative vote of the center and the center-right parties who defended the consolidation of the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot sovereignty, partnership rights and continued military presence, as well as maintenance of the guarantor status of Turkey, exceeded 70 percent. After the establishment of the new government, it would not at all have been easier for President Mustafa Akıncı to continue his pro-federation stance while the majority of parliament supported a two-state under the European Union or a loose confederation of two sovereign component states, which over 70 percent of the new parliament supported.”
Ankara wins, the Cypriots lose
Columnist Şener Levent is deeply disappointed by the result:
“The retreat of the left to the point of its becoming virtually extinct has strengthened the right. The left looked just like the right. And it collapsed. When they saw that there was no longer any significant difference between the parties the voters gave up on the copies and turned to the original. This is why 40 percent of the voters didn't go to the polls - voter turnout has never been lower. Thanks to the timidity and complacency of the opposition the country has once again been left at the mercy of [Turkey's] most loyal slaves. We said Turkey would win. It has won. And the Cypriots have lost.”