| Politics |Bağımsız



Turnout for Sunday’s by-elections held for a single seat stood at 29.92 per cent. While this rate is the lowest in history, it clearly declares the problem of political legitimacy. The situation with regards to the politicians is very grim.

To better understand the severity of the situation, we could compare Sunday’s elections with the 1991 by-elections. Those who are old enough would remember. In the 1990 elections, the UBP [National Unity Party] completed the elections as the number one party with 54.7 per cent of the votes, winning 34 seats. The Democratic Struggle Party [DMP], formed by the merger of the CTP [Republican Turkish Party], the TKP [Communal Liberation Party], the Democratic People’s Party [DHP], and the Rebirth Party [YDP], obtained 16 seats winning 44.5 per cent of the votes. However, when the leading partners of the DMP alliance party, the CTP and the TKP, decided not to enter Parliament on the grounds that there was interference in the elections, 12 seats remained vacant, and by-elections were held in 1991. The turnout rate for this election which was boycotted by CTP and TKP was 67 per cent. Can you imagine? Sixty-seven per cent of the population participated in the 1991 by-elections, in which four small parties competed apart from UBP, while the turnout rate for the elections on June 25, 2023, where all parties except the BKP [United Cyprus Party], HP [Peoples’ Party], and YKP [New Cyprus Party] nominated candidates, was 29.92 per cent. These three parties did not participate in the elections and boycotted them.

The winner of the latest by-election is CTP’s candidate Sami Özuslu and the leader of CTP, who perhaps gained legitimacy for a little longer thanks to this outcome. I want to congratulate Sami Özuslu on this occasion and hope he doesn’t become like the others.

So then, who lost the by-elections? In my opinion, there are four losers. The first is [UBP leader] Ünal Üstel, in other words the UBP. Second is the Supreme Election Council [YSK]. Third is the party leaders who did not activate democratic mechanisms when nominating candidates. The fourth is TDP [Social Democratic Party], which is incapable of determining candidates. The performance of all of them in the by-elections was very disappointing. Moreover, all party leaders who nominated candidates for the elections about which so much noise was made and who campaigned for the elections demanding votes from the public, have already made history by becoming the ones who prepared the ground for the lowest turnout.

So you may ask, what good did it do to make history? Did anyone seriously engage in self-criticism or consider resigning? Of course not. Because they are incapable of showing the virtue and courage to engage in self-criticism and, if necessary, withdraw from politics due to their failed endeavours. Some are democrats, some are leftists, some are nationalists, and so on. Their common characteristic is that they are political figures who have lost the trust of the people. And we all know that it is impossible for them to regain that trust. In other words, the esteemed party leaders have hit rock bottom in Turkish Cypriot political culture. They all need to immediately take a deep breath, resign as party leaders and open the way for new names in order to be able to emerge from this rock bottom or hole. The recent by-elections have proven that our people clearly see that the political institutions in our country are of no real use. The moral decline in politics in recent years is enough to convince anyone not to go to the ballot box and vote.

The valuable message given by the Turkish Cypriot people in the by-elections is very clear, and it is necessary for those engaged in politics to comprehend it. What a group of people who turned politics into a profession and who are disconnected from the people’s issues do in parliament in the form of social activity cannot be considered politics. Simply holding elections at regular intervals does not mean we are governed by democracy. Your style of politics, which has exploited the tolerance, democratic sensitivity, and secularism of the Turkish Cypriots for far too long, has reached the end of the road. From this point on, the era of “Party leaders nominating candidates, and people burying their heads in the sand and approving their choices” is history as of June 25, 2023. Everyone understands that you engage in politics not to solve the problems of the people but to satisfy a group of individuals around you, whether they vote for UBP or CTP.

To cut a long story short, the public, in the by-elections, has totally shown the country’s politicians a red card. Of course, no one will consider this card shown to them. But it stands as an important sign that the political system is bogged down. From now on, neither the government nor the main opposition will be the same. After this, everyone should correctly understand the red card shown by the people and reconsider why they engage in politics. In essence, politicians have run out of road.




He was born in Famagusta and completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown. He completed his university education, master's degree and doctorate in Turkey. On 13 June 2004, he participated in the European Parliament elections in Cyprus as the only independent Turkish candidate and received 681 votes from Greek Cypriot voters. He is the author of numerous national and international books, articles and book chapters in his field. His book 'The Orange of Cyprus' has also been published in Greek. His book on 'Interstate and Non-Governmental International Organizations: History, Policy, Organs, Documents’, co-authored with M. Bülent Uludağ, was published in English in 2021. He has published around 25 books in his field. His articles were published in Yeni Yüzyıl, Finansal Forum, Referans, Yeni Şafak, Radikal, Cumhuriyet, Afrika newspapers while he was a columnist for Kıbrıs Gazetesi between 2009-2020. He is currently a columnist for the Bağımsız news website.

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