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Denktash: North should hold parallel ‘EU elections’

serdar denktaş; Serdar Denktash
File photo

Serdar Denktash, son of late Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash, said on Thursday the north should hold parallel ‘EU elections’ this June.

Speaking to the north’s public broadcaster BRT, he said the aim of this would be to demand the two European parliament seats set aside in principle for the Turkish Cypriots.

These seats are currently filled by representatives elected in the Republic, and until 2019 all six Cypriot MEPs were Greek Cypriot, with one Turkish Cypriot, Niyazi Kizilyurek, elected as a member of Greek Cypriot political party Akel.

However, Denktash’s idea is for parallel elections to take place in the north to elect two Turkish Cypriot representatives. Their job, he said, would be “to knock on the doors of the European parliament every day and remind people every day of the injustice done unto the Turkish Cypriots.”

He said, “let us elect our two parliamentarians as the rightful holders of two seats and send them to Brussels. Let these people shout for our rights in Brussels day and night. We know they won’t let us in. Let them say those two seats are occupied every day.

“Let’s point out the mistake the European Union made by asking, ‘how can you accept a country as a member when it has not solved its own internal problems?’ Because according to them, what is happening here is an internal problem.”

He added, “North Cyprus is EU territory, but it is considered a black zone. Let’s ask them, ‘how can you do this?’ Let’s question and remind them.”

Speaking about the EU’s stance on the Cyprus problem, he said “we think everyone is busy with this issue just as we are, but they are not. The officials from [the Annan plan era] are either dead or out of office.

“Current authorities know this issue only as the Greek Cypriot side tells them. We will go and remind them. For this reason, we must hold elections here on the day they hold European elections in the South,” he said.

Denktash’s comments come a day after Turkish Cypriot leader and the north’s ‘foreign minister’ both criticised Niyazi Kizilyurek for campaigning in the north for his re-election, with Ertugruloglu saying he wishes for people to “not respect Kizilyurek’s activities in our country.”

Denktash also touched on the wider issue of the Cyprus problem, saying “as long as the international community creates inequality between the two sides, it is wrong to expect the side they made more politically powerful to share anything with the other side.

“While the side which said yes to the Annan plan was punished, the side which said no was rewarded,” he added.

Additionally, he called for the north to create an equivalent to the Republic’s National Council, where political party leaders and other high-level officials convene with the President to discuss the major issue of the day.

However, he said, the north is suffering from a “leadership vacancy”.

“Leadership is not the presidency, the prime ministry, or the ministry, but a different quality … The concept of a leader is a completely different concept,” he said.

He added, “you need to be a leader who is listened to … but such a structure does not currently exist. That understanding went away with my father.

“Leaders like that may come not once every five years but once every 100 years. The way to fill this gap now is to implement collective leadership and present something to the public by discussing and talking with people who have the same goal,” he said.

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