Front Page Headlines
Who is the Prime Minister?
Ersin Tatar who entered the presidential elections as the prime minister will be sworn into office today and will become the new president. So who then will become prime minister? While Tatar says he will continue to head the government until the National Unity Party (UBP) chooses its new party leader, the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman, who is also a legal expert, says this is not legally possible. There is currently no government or prime minister in the country after the Peoples’ Party (HP) quit the government. Tatar is expected to appoint a minister to serve as acting head of the government. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Kudret Özersay is keeping his silence.
- Fuat Oktay to visit the island – The Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay will be arriving on the island today to take part in Ersin Tatar’s swearing-in ceremony.
- The race for the UBP’s leadership has begun – The candidates so far are Nazım Çavuşoğlu, Dursun Oğuz, Faiz Sucuoğlu and Ünal Üstel.
All waiting for the flu vaccine
The first shipment of the flu vaccine, which the Turkish Cypriot Health Ministry had ordered in August, is expected to arrive in the first week of November. Even though the order was placed for 50,000 units, it is not yet known how many there will be in the first shipment.
- Tatar will take over the Office of the President today (Friday) – Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay will be attending the ceremony.
- Çavuşoğlu, Sucuoğlu, Oğuz and Üstel are candidates – It is becoming clearer who will run for the top seat in UBP.
The number of local infections is on the rise following the lifting of mandatory quarantine for those who are to visit the country for less than three days.
- It will be a tough fight for the top seat – Three ministers and one former minister have already declared their candidacy for leadership of the UBP. The official applications for the top seat at UBP will be accepted on Monday.
- Tatar will be sworn in – The fifth president of the TRNC will be sworn in at parliament first and will then take over the Office of the President. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay will attend the ceremony.
- Violation of the constitution – CTP leader Tufan Erhürman criticised Tatar for insisting on chairing the Council of Ministers’ meetings until a new government is established.
The figure has reached seven
Agriculture Minister Dursun Oğuz has announced he is a candidate for UBP’s leadership. All candidates so far are MPs. Following Ersin Tatar’s election as president, the search for a new UBP leader has begun. In addition to the six candidates Diyalog announced two days ago (Wednesday), Agriculture Minister Durun Oğuz said he too was in the race. Thus, Oğuz’s announcement raised the number of candidates to seven. Meanwhile, attempts are being made to convince former UBP leader and MP Hüseyin Özgürgün who has been living in Istanbul to return to the island.
₺3,000 (€320) per vote per person
The Trade Unions Platform says it rejects the outcome of the elections claiming it was not legitimate. The platform claimed that voters were bribed, with ₺3,000 (€320) given out per vote. “As a result, there was direct interference in the political will of the Turkish Cypriots, therefore, the outcome of the elections does not have any legitimacy,” the platform stressed. It added that Ersin Tatar does not represent the Turkish Cypriot community’s political will.
- UBP leadership race – Four MPs have so far announced their candidacy for leadership of UBP. These are Nazım Çavuşoğlu, Faiz Sucuoğlu, Dursun Oğuz and Ünal Üstel. Whoever wins the race will become the premier.
- Tatar to be sworn in – Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay will attend the ceremony to be held at the Turkish Cypriot parliament. Following the ceremony at 3pm, there will be a handover ceremony at 5pm at the Office of the President.
- 188 cases in the south and three in the north.
Erhürman slams Tatar for retaining PM seat until UBP congressYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Governance and Power Sharing
The crisis of government, which emerged after the People’s Party (HP) quit the coalition a week before the elections, continued to occupy the north’s agenda on Thursday.
The leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman slammed Ersin Tatar who earlier on Wednesday said he intended to remain as head of government until the National Unity Party (UBP) elected its new party leader.
Tatar has said that he would entrust the task of forming a new government to the newly elected leader following a two-round run-off, expected to be completed on November 7.
“It is not possible for the president-elect Ersin Tatar to continue to rule the TRNC as the prime minister. This is not possible legally,” Erhürman said.
In a social media post on Thursday, Erhürman stated that from a legal perspective, Tatar needed to submit his resignation to Mustafa Akıncı the moment his coalition partner quit the government, days before the first round of the presidential election.
“There are tens of thousands of unemployed people, thousands of businesses closed down and many people concerned about their or their loved one’s health. It is not right to create legal debates at such a time,” Erhürman warned.
“This country cannot be governed like this!” the CTP leader stressed.
Erhürman pointed out that Tatar following his election needed to appoint one of the ministers in his cabinet, since his deputy withdrew from the coalition, to serve as acting head of government.
Tatar will be sworn in at a ceremony in the Turkish Cypriot parliament today (Friday) and according to the Anadolu News Agency, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay will be arriving in the north to take part in the ceremony.
A handover ceremony will also take place at the Office of the President on Friday with Mustafa Akıncı handing over the post to Tatar.
In the meantime, various segments within Turkish Cypriot society continued to express their opposition to Tatar’s election.
The Trade Unions Platform on Thursday said it did not recognize the outcome of the elections.
The platform, in a written statement, said there had been direct and open interference in the election by Ankara and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).
It claimed that PR experts and MPs from the AKP and Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as well as staff from the Turkish embassy in Nicosia had actively worked and campaigned for Tatar’s election.
“Moreover, the conclusion of the repairs on the water pipeline project and Maraş (Varosha) were used to win votes for Tatar,” the platform noted.
It said that there were even reports that people were pressured by high-ranking public officials to vote for Tatar.
“While we as the members of the platform reject the outcome of the elections, we also need to underline that the ‘Vichy Government’ in the north does not represent the political will of the Turkish Cypriots,” the trade unions stressed.
The platform argued that Tatar’s election was the first step in the process for the north’s annexation to Turkey and concluded by stressing that they will not give up their struggle to protect the Turkish Cypriots’ rights and to work towards unification of the island.
The Platform statement was signed by the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (KTÖS), the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers’ Union (KTOEÖS), the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants’ Union (KTAMS), Turkish Cypriot Revolutionary Workers’ Unions Federation (Dev-İş), the Turkish Cypriot Press Workers’ Union (Basın-Sen), the Turkish Cypriot State Workers’ Union (Çağ-Sen), the Turkish Cypriot Cooperative Workers’ Union (Koop-Sen), and the Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions’ Federation (Türk-Sen).
In the meantime, it was announced on Thursday that the ruling UBP will hold its extraordinary congress on October 31 to choose a new party leader.
The process of electing a new party leader will take place in two rounds, the second a week later on November 7.
On Thursday UBP’s İskele (Trikomo) MP Nazım Çavuşoğlu, Famagusta MP Dursun Oğuz and Kyrenia MP Ünal Üstel all announced they would be running for the party leadership. Rumours that other UBP MPs such as Zorlu Töre, Sunat Atun, Hasan Taçoy and Ersan Saner also intend to run for the party’s leadership are also rife.
Üstel had served in the UBP-People’s Party (HP) coalition as the “Tourism and Environment Minister” until the coronavirus pandemic.
He was held responsible for allowing a group of Turkish businessmen to enter the north without complying with quarantine requirements and the HP had demanded he be removed from his post for his involvement in what became known as the “private jet scandal”.
In his candidacy announcement on Thursday, Üstel asked to “walk to a new future under his leadership with Tatar in the presidency.”
“The coming days will see UBP’s single-party rule… Let’s put all problems aside and focus on the real problems in our country. We need a leader that will work towards solving the country’s problems together with the motherland and a leader that will be maintaining good neighbourly relations with the Greek Cypriots,” Üstel said.
Çavuşoğlu, in his message to UBP supporters, highlighted that he has not caused any problems within the party over personal ambitions.
“It is vital to work towards the future with a collective mind and collective effort. I believe I can be the leader of UBP, which I worked for at every level to date, that will carry the flag further with responsibility,” Çavuşoğlu said.
He also noted that he was appointed minister five times in the past and that he is experienced over the others in managing the party and governing the north.
Dursun Oğuz, currently serving in the cabinet as the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, also announced his candidacy, promising to work to further develop the party and the country.
Labour Minister and Nicosia MP Faiz Sucuoğlu also said on Thursday, he will submit his application for the party’s leadership and announce his election manifesto on Monday.
“My team and I are determined to work for the people, who are waiting for an effective government that will address the country’s problems,” Sucuoğlu stressed.
He expressed confidence that he will win the top seat in the party.
Turkey rejects Greece, Egypt & S. Cyprus’ trilateral statementYenidüzen, Kıbrıs, Havadis, Diyalog
Energy, External Security, Regional/International Relations
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday rejected “baseless” allegations and accusations made against Turkey in the trilateral meeting between Greece, Egypt and South Cyprus.
In a statement, the ministry said it rejected the memorandum issued after the trilateral summit held in South Cyprus on Wednesday.
It noted that all of the statements issued by the trio, which claims to support peace, stability and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, target Turkey, which reveals their true intentions.
“The only real cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean is possible with an inclusive stance that includes Turkish Cypriots and all countries sharing the coast,” the ministry said, adding that the countries that create problems in the region cannot provide a solution to the conflict as long as they do not change their maximalist and hostile policies.
“We will continue to protect our rights and the Turkish Cypriots’ rights with determination,” the statement added.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades held a trilateral meeting on Wednesday.
Mitsotakis said they all agreed that Ankara was “blatantly” violating international law.
“Turkey’s leadership has fantasies of imperial behaviour with aggressive behaviour from Syria to Libya, Somalia to Cyprus, from the Aegean to the Caucasus,” he said.
The EU should also take note of Turkey’s “many violations” of the EU-Turkey customs union accord, Mitsotakis said.
“It is not possible for a state, a third state, a country which is a candidate for EU membership, to be exempt from (customs) duties, to reap the benefits of the common market but at the same time threaten the eastern borders of the EU,” he said.
The three leaders condemned Turkey’s recent actions in Maraş (Varosha).