Kılıçdaroğlu laundered Erdoğan's policies on Cyprus

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), paid a one-day visit to Northern Cyprus last week.

He met with several senior officials but cancelled an appointment with Mustafa Akıncı, former president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), at the last minute. Akıncı said he and his family had received threats from Turkey’s intelligence agents amid pressure to withdraw his bid to become president of Northern Cyprus at elections in October. He narrowly lost the election.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements during the visit caused great disappointment. The CHP is a political party with close ties to Cyprus. Former CHP leader Bülent Ecevit served as prime minister during Turkey’s 1974 military intervention in Cyprus. Ecevit has a very special place in the hearts of Turkish Cypriots. Unfortunately, Kılıçdaroğlu’s visit once again damaged these "historical ties".

During his visit, Kılıçdaroğlu lent his support to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s policy that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should be recognised as an independent state. He said the Cyprus issue is a national cause for all political parties in Turkey and that there were no differences in policy when it came to the TRNC’s legal status.

Can we explain how the CHP is sheltering under Turkey’s so-called “national cause” to blindly follow Erdoğan’s proposals and not raise its voice against the abandonment of Turkey’s long-held policy of a federal solution to the Cyprus issue?

Why did a main opposition party leader give up support for a federation so easily, a policy that matches the party’s political views and principles of social democracy?

Why did Kılıçdaroğlu chase after Erdoğan, who has declared the CHP's 50-year-old party policy as "dead”?

If the CHP's policies were to change, shouldn’t it have done so democratically?

The acceptance of this new policy toward Cyprus, imposed by Erdoğan's authoritarian regime, shows the CHP’s big weaknesses in foreign policy.

Kılıçdaroğlu's courting of hard nationalists on Cyprus - he seems to be almost trying to prove to them that he is more nationalistic than Erdoğan - deeply hurts the feelings of Turkish Cypriots.

A party that is a member of Socialist International could at least keep its distance from a policy on Cyprus that is invented by Erdoğan’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). It could question the “separatist” line that Erdoğan has crossed and glossed over and present an alternative to Islamist authoritarianism. But it did not.

Kılıçdaroğlu seems not to have realised that this AKP-originated policy is not accepted by Turkish Cypriots. Obviously, he neither examined the election results nor the latest polls in Northern Cyprus.

Kılıçdaroğlu also made other blunders during his Cyprus visit.

A report revealing Turkey’s interference in the October presidential elections was published on the day of Kılıçdaroğlu’s visit. He ignored it.

Even though Kılıçdaroğlu says he is in favour of an independent, internationally recognised state in Northern Cyprus, he is now hesitating to say that Turkey's political parties should not interfere in the elections of that state.

Doesn’t the will of Turkish Cypriots matter to the "social democratic" political party of Turkey?

Is there no political value for a party boasting of its leftist credentials to oppose the flouting of the wishes of the citizens of a brotherly country?

Does it not concern Kılıçdaroğlu when Erdoğan assaults secularism, one of the six founding principles of the CHP, through Cyprus and tries to manipulate the head of the TRNC’s Constitutional Court?

Aren't the rule of law and secularism among the priorities of the CHP?

Doesn’t Kılıçdaroğlu, who roars away in Ankara on such issues, have something to say about them when it comes to Cyprus?

Apparently not!

Kılıçdaroğlu could have made great positive contributions to the TRNC’s democracy by holding meetings with institutions whose legitimacy has been attacked by AKP efforts to discredit them.

Turkish Cypriots never accept the interference of Turkey’s political parties in their internal affairs, neither from the AKP nor the CHP… None of them…

Kılıçdaroğlu chose not to be a voice for this reality.

Opposing the AKP’s desire to make a backyard out of TRNC would have relieved Turkish Cypriots. But Kılıçdaroğlu did not do so.

This visit, which could have provided so much, has instead brought more blemishes to the reputation of both Kılıçdaroğlu and the CHP.



The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.