| Politics |Yenidüzen



The northern half of the tiny island is struggling to cope with problems bigger than its size. Increasing rates and variety of crime; the widening income gap between social groups; inequalities in public services, especially in health and education; the fact that home ownership has become a dream for the middle and lower classes, that is, for a very large segment of society; the fact that people who go to the supermarket face different price tags every day in their attempt to access basic food items… Of course, the darkness in which we are imprisoned is not limited to these. Corruption, fraudulence, lawlessness and squandering public assets are the four pillars of this system.

The worst thing is that, day by day, Turkish Cypriots are being cut off from production. The chaos experienced in the citrus sector last month and the livestock sector in the past few days – regarding the supply of meat – caused frustration both on the part of consumers and those who want to exist in this country by producing. We see that, one by one, we are all taking turns, one way or another. Patriarchal and ultra-conservative pressures target women and children; brutal market conditions exacerbate poverty; private sector workers fall victim to give-and-take bargains made by others without the security of unionisation, and the chance to claim their rights, and young people end up emigrating due to policies that erode the roots they have stubbornly planted in the soil.


Instead of establishing a more egalitarian social structure and distributing the material wealth concentrated in the hands of a small group of people to a broader base, the current submissive ‘political will’ is busy implementing to the letter the plan of destruction it has been presented with. Frankly, I have never thought, or believed that they are incapable of solving problems. On the contrary, they aim for this destruction and act purposefully. That is why they see the strengthening of production and democratic practices, which will enable social actors to participate effectively in the solution of problems, as a danger.

The method they know best is manipulation and misdirection. For example, the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources has been talking for days about the incentives they offer to livestock farmers and producers, trying to render their protests meaningless. On the other hand, Erhan Arıklı, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, who is a master of distortion, mentions how expensive the vehicles that labourers use for work are, and gives the impression that they do not actually need support. In his mind, he creates the perception that production tools are a luxury, not a necessity! On the other hand, they can gift 59 million euros to a private company! ‘Inconsistency wherever you look, foolishness wherever you look’ [Editor’s note: Lyrics from a song by Ahmet Kaya, ‘Başım Belada’ (I am in Trouble)]. What and who they serve is as clear as day.

Does the aforementioned deprivation, poverty and corruption affect all of us? No. As always, those who handle honey will lick their fingers. A small group of people, the majority of whom are foreigners, are living in ‘abundance’. While many of you are struggling with inadequate health and education facilities and unemployment, while you cannot even afford an apartment as big as a coop to hang up your hat, others are able to buy up the entire building – and they do all of this in the absence of any ties to this country, or without even belonging to it. Instead of reducing this imbalance in the acquisition of immovable property, those in power are making the legal space even more enabling. So, manipulation, again. Wilfully and persistently, they are destroying our perception of reality, just like the way they are destroying our social existence.


The lack of control over population movements, the lack of population policy that is carried out with the logic of ‘come no matter who you are, stay even if you may not be in the records’, both deepens the economic crisis and aggravates poverty, and leads to an increase in vulnerable segments with the disruption of public services. Consequently, polarisation between social groups, and violence-based social problems intensify.

I believe that we will not repeat the mistakes of the past if we realise that the problems experienced by almost all segments of society are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Although we are disconnected from international law, we are getting our share of neoliberal policies that have become widespread all over the world. This brings with it a distrust of politics, a tendency to give up a struggle, in short, a reluctance for democratic participation. This distress is reinforced by vague political solutions that are often put forward, politicians who fall victim to populism, and performances on a stage where images rather than ideologies compete. People sit in their spectator [i] seats and watch what is happening, and gradually lose their ability to react. This situation unfortunately leads us to behave with the ‘What will happen if I react? They are all the same anyway’ approach, and paves the ground for us to fall into despair and involuntarily help perpetuate a situation we do not want to be in.


The structure we live in is making it more and more challenging for Turkish Cypriots to have access to a decent life. But it is not only those who set the rules of the game and the puppets in their hands who are responsible for this. In a place where the understanding ‘each one for themselves’ dominates, of course, the train has already left the station. Likewise, the Cyprus Problem, which has still not been resolved, is the root cause of this rottenness.

The important thing is to lift the veil that has covered our eyes. The protest carried out by the Union of Livestock Farmers for the past three days reached another level when the Butchers Union decided to march side by side with the animal producers against the ‘government’. The solidarity shown not only by them but also by organisations such as Kamu İş [Public Workers Union] – Turkish Cypriot Farmers Union – KTAMS [Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Union] – EL SEN [Turkish Cypriot Electricity Workers’ Union] – Türk Sen [Turkish Cypriot Workers’ Union] enabled the struggle to spread to a wider base.

As a result, the protesters, who are not addressed in any way by the illegitimate government of UBP-DP-YDP [National Unity Party-Democratic Party-Rebirth Party], should act with an approach that also takes into account the increasingly impoverished consumers, so that the network of the struggle can expand. I wonder if this time we will be able to build the broad-based social opposition that we have never been able to establish. According to a statement released last night, the protesters said that they will wait until Friday to reconsider the decision to import meat, and if there is no progress, they will organise a general strike together with the majority of public sector unions. Will the ‘government’ be able to step back and prevent the water from reaching boiling point, or will the social opposition respond in a powerful manner? We will see.

[i] Şenses, Fikret.  “Küreselleşmenin Öteki Yüzü: Yoksulluk – Kavramlar, Nedenler, Politikalar ve Temel Eğilimler” [The Other Side of Globalization: Poverty – Concepts, Causes, Policies and Principal Tendencies], İletişim Yayınları, p. 333.


I met the world on the 25th day of September in 1985. I do not know whether this is because I was born in autumn or not, but I have a melancholic nature. Melancholic but not sad. One should not be sad. Otherwise one can lose one’s belief in life. I grew up in a left-wing family environment that cared about equality and justice. Foundations of my tough and feminist stance were laid then. I studied Law in Istanbul University and became a lawyer in 2008. Then of course my soul was overwhelmed, I was unable to contain myself and I continued my studies in Istanbul Bilgi University Human Rights Law postgraduate program. After which, once again, I returned to the cage. I have been working as a lawyer, doing research in civil society, dealing in politics and writing since 2011, while dreaming of peace.

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