‘Mayoral’ elections in the north were overwhelmingly won by opposition parties, indicating Ankara’s losing touch with what Turkish Cypriots want in their daily lives, analysts said on Tuesday.
The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) elected seven ‘mayors’ on Sunday, the National Unity Party (UPB) six with one each for the Democratic Party (DP) and Communal Democracy Party (TDP). Three ‘independents’ were also elected.
According to former director of Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen newspaper Cenk Mutluyakalı, the CTP, representing the largest left-wing Turkish Cypriot party in the north, saw its representation increase from 31.9 per cent to 35.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, the UBP, affiliated with Turkey, saw its shares drop from 39.6 per cent to 35.8 per cent.
Mutluyakalı added all parties affiliated with ‘government’ alliances lost votes in the ‘local authority’ elections. The Democratic Party and Rebirth Party saw their numbers drop significantly while the People’s Party, headed by former negotiator Kudret Özersay, is now struggling to stay afloat, Mutluyakalı explained.
According to presidential candidate Achilleas Demetriades, the results actually send a message of hope that a federal solution for Cyprus can be found. In north Nicosia, Mehmet Harmancı, a close associate of former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, won with a large margin.
In Famagusta, Süleyman Uluçay with the CTP was elected, and is opposed to one-sided actions opening up Varosha, Demetriades said.
“Turkish Cypriots are sending a clear message of hope concerning all of Cyprus.”
Journalist Vatan Mehmet told the Cyprus News Agency the new political alliances reveal the ignorance of Turkey’s representatives in the north where local politics is concerned.
As opposed to ‘presidential’ or ‘parliamentary’ elections, Turkish Cypriots do not vote for ‘local’ elections with the Cyprus problem in mind or political agendas, Mehmet noted. They vote based on the proposals candidates submit that can improve peoples’ lives on a local level.
“Traditionally, Turkish Cypriot voters send Turkey a message that we did what you wanted for the ‘presidential’ and ‘general elections’. On a ‘local’ level however we will support the opposition.”
One reason Mehmet cited for the fall of the UPB is the schism within the party. Its leadership has also realised that “buying” votes with “financial gifts” has not yielded the necessary results, he added.