Veteran academic, politician, and human rights activist, Baskın Oran, is a professor of political science and international relations at Ankara University.
He has written key books on Turkey’s foreign policy and significant studies on the history of ethnic and religious groups in Turkey.
On Thursday, he wrote an article about Turkey’s annexation attempts in Northern Cyprus for Artı Gerçek.
A translation of the article is given below:
Congratulations on our second ‘undeclared annexation’ after N. Syria: the Erdoğan Republic of Northern Cyprus
The One-Man Regime that is currently preparing for a Syria operation with the absurd claim that “We can’t wait for when they will attack us,” has made an undeclared annexation of the north of Syria. It is not known how long it will last, but this is a well-known situation.
However, there is another situation taking place in Turkey that is not so well known. President Erdoğan is carrying out an “undeclared annexation” of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, by which we Turkish people have satisfied our need for greatness. Instead of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the Erdoğan Republic of Northern Cyprus, is under creation.
His method is simple: to bring people who have no political base other than Ankara into the TRNC government. This is a model that has been meticulously implemented in TRNC politics since October 2020:
a) Instead of Mustafa Akıncı, who seeks a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation solution, Ersin Tatar is elected president as “Turkey’s man”, on the votes of Turkish citizens [who were moved to North Cyprus] (like the Syrians who have been made citizens in Turkey).
b) Someone who has proved themselves loyal to Erdoğan is identified, and Ersin Tatar makes him prime minister. This person is then appointed as chairman of the party. Cypriot journalist Hasan Kahvecioğlu says Turkey’s this act is a fait accompli.
Let us give a brief example. Faiz Sucuoğlu, who President Erdoğan dislikes, is first prevented from becoming prime minister. Then, after getting the most votes, he is appointed, but is forced to resign three times within three months. He finally gives up and is replaced by Ünal Üstel, who will be appointed on 12 May 2022. Üstel received only 575 votes against Sucuoğlu’s 2,706 votes in the previous congress of the National Unity Party (UBP), the country’s largest party, placing him fifth of the five candidates, and he was not even a candidate at the most recent congress.
Experienced Cypriot journalist, Metin Münir, who took a two-year break while studying at Mülkiye – the Politics and the civil service faculty – and also worked as a mujahideen, writes: “Erdogan is now doing to the Turkish Cypriots what the military did to him and the religious parties.” After describing what was done to Sucuoğlu, he says:
“What can be seen on further examination, is Ankara’s desire to change the political and legal order in the TRNC to one similar to that in Turkey. This is an order in which the executive is sovereign and arbitrary, there is no judicial independence, the media is under the control of the executive, and people are under the yoke of religion. For this to happen, the UBP must be taken over completely. Then it will carry out an undeclared annexation and the TRNC will effectively become a province of Turkey.”
Let us investigate the “Economic and Financial Cooperation Agreement” signed in Ankara on 14 April 2022, it says: “The ‘Republic of Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Cooperation Framework Document’ in Annex-1 is taken as basis in the implementation and execution of this Agreement.” Let us read this Annex 1. I will write my comments in parentheses next to the articles:
“Religious services will be provided more effectively within an institutional framework, under a single roof, within the state legal entity.” (The Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey will be cloned into the TRNC.)
“Other than union activities, trade unions will be prevented from engaging in political and ideological activities that go beyond their founding purpose. Collective bargaining agreements will be automatically re-arranged after the expiry of the deadline.” (Silencing employees and imprisoning them in if they do not keep quiet.)
“The rules regarding the right to hold meetings and demonstrations will be regulated, and the Ministries of Internal Affairs of both states will be responsible for this.” (Those who take to the streets to protest the restrictions on rights will be jailed and the Ministry of Interior of Turkey will also be authorised to carry this out.)
“The experience and know-how of the Press Advertisement Agency will be transferred to the TRNC and press legislation, including the media support system, will be updated and strengthened.” (No official announcement will be advertised in the opposition press.)
“The use of the national currency – the Turkish Lira – and national payment systems will be expanded”. (However, Turkey has always exported inflation to the TRNC through the use of the Turkish Lira. Moreover, opposition on the island constantly repeats: We must switch to a stable currency and get rid of the destructive effects of the Turkish Lira.)
“Restrictions on the acquisition of property will be reduced. Naturalisation conditions will be facilitated” (For whom? Turkish citizens? Syrians? Qataris?)
“TRNC’s electricity sector will be restructured.” (Government-owned production and distribution will now be given to private companies, resulting in permanent electricity price hikes.)
“The country’s mining potential will be evaluated and brought into the economy.” (The mining companies that have dug up the production areas of Turkey and drove the villagers crazy will now dig into the island.)
“[Turkey] will contribute to the works to be carried out on the TRNC’s port infrastructure.” (The remaining ports will also be privatised.)
“Mobile communication between the two countries will be maintained uninterruptedly and wage differences will be eliminated.” (The internet will become more expensive in the TRNC.)
“Concrete and effective cooperation will be ensured in the field of the TRNC’s internal security.” (Turkey’s Embassy in Nicosia will be fully responsible for the administration of the TRNC.)
“Disinformation efforts by third countries, civil society, and social media against Turkey will be eliminated.” (Those who write, draw, speak, or print about pressures in Turkey will be imprisoned, just like in Turkey.)
Could this cloning attempt be successful on the Island? Münir writes: “The face of the Turkish Cypriot people, no matter which party they vote for, is turned towards the West. More than 110,000 [Turkish Cypriots] have a European Union identity, which is close to the entire adult population.”
Let me put it more squarely:
1) I only trust President Erdoğan for the Turkish Republic to return to normal, because he has carried the excesses to extremes have become an immunisation to our country. Political Islam, which was once fondly remembered by some, is now gone forever.
2) I trust the British influence, started in 1878, especially when the Diyanet [directorate of religious affairs] is brought to the fore, that efforts to transform the TRNC into the KKEC will fail. Because imperialism has two faces: a) It squeezes an orange; b) It brings human rights. (For example, England has completely abolished the tradition of suttee, that is, the burning of the wife with the deceased husband in India.)