Esref Vaiz

Politics of Northern Cyprus

Politics of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is head of state and the Prime Minister head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Since the Turkish invasion of 1974, the Republic of Cyprus has been divided de facto. The north third of the Republic of Cyprus unilaterally declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which de facto controls the northern one-third of Cyprus. The United Nations considers the TRNC to be legally invalid in its resolutions and calls for its withdrawal. The Government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has remained a non-recognized entity (except by the Government of Turkey) since its UDI in 1983.

In 1974, following a coup by the Greek backed National Guard and the arrival of Turkish troops in response (claiming that their authority to do so was under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee), the Turkish Cypriots formally set up their own institutions under the title Turkish Federated State of North Cyprus. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). In 1985, they adopted a constitution and held elections--an arrangement thus far recognized by Turkey & Pakistan.

Political conditions

From 1975 to 2005, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was Rauf Denktaş. An ardent nationalist, he pursued a policy of trying to gain international recognition of the TRNC. However, this stance proved to be a major stumbling block to reconciliation efforts. This stance - while initially supported by the Turkish Cypriot populace, began to work against him when the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union.

The TRNC held multi-party parliamentary elections in 1993, removing the long-ruling National Unity Party in favour of a coalition of the Democratic(DP) and Republican Turkish(CTP) parties. However, in August 1996, a new coalition was formed between the two main rightist parties, the National Unity Party and the Democratic Party, which stayed in power for the next eight years. In 2003, the CTP and DP formed a new government, placing CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat as the new Prime Minister.

In 2005, Rauf Denktaş retired from the presidency. Talat won the Presidential Election, becoming the TRNC's second President. He resigned as Prime Minister, which was taken over by CTP Deputy Leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

UN-sponsored negotiations to develop institutional arrangements acceptable to both communities began in 1968; several sets of negotiations and other initiatives followed. Turkish Cypriots focused on bi-zonality, security guarantees, and political equality between the two communities. The Greek Cypriots however emphasized the rights of unrestricted population movement, recovery of property, resettlement, and the return of territory to their control. Turkish Cypriots favour a federation of two nearly autonomous societies living side by side with limited contact, and allowing Turkish migrants to stay, while Greek Cypriots envision a more integrated structure, and requiring the Turkish migrants to leave the island.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan tried to present a compromise formula which would have enabled a federal state to be established on the island. While there were serious compromises made on both sides, neither the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaderships were happy with the final plan. Nonetheless, it was decided to put the issue to the voters.

In 2004, the Annan Plan was supported in a referendum by two-thirds of the Turkish Cypriots voting. However, it was defeated by nearly three-quarters of the Greek Cypriots. Had the plan been accepted by both communities, the United Cyprus Republic would have resulted. However, the rejection by the Greek Cypriots meant that only they could benefit from all the privileges of EU membership. (Turkish Cypriots of genuine Cypriot extraction are able to apply for Republic of Cyprus passports.) This has started to change international attitudes towards the Turkish Cypriots as the Republic of Cyprus government still insists upon maintaining the international embargoes on the TRNC despite the results of the vote.

Executive branch

|President |Mehmet Ali Talat |CTP |25 April 2005 |- |Deputy chief of state, Speaker of the House |Fatma Ekenoğlu |CTP |28 April 2005 |- |Prime Minister |Ferdi Sabit Soyer |CTP |28 April 2005 |- |Deputy Prime minister and Foreign Minister |Turgay Avci |ORP |27 September 2006 |} The Council of Ministers is appointed by the Prime Minister and endorsed by the President. Current cabinet was sworn in on 27 September, 2006. Prime Minister: Ferdi Sabit Soyer Deputy Prime Minister- Foreign Minister: Turgay Avci, Minister of Finance: Ahmet Uzun, Minister of Interior: Ozkan Murat, Minister of Public Works and Communications: Salih Usar, Minister of Labor and Social Security: Sonay Adem, Minister of Health: Esref Vaiz, Minister of Education and Culture: Canan Oztoprak, Minister of Agriculture: Onder Sennaroglu, Minister of Economy and Tourism: Erdoğan Şanlıdağ, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources: Mustafa Gökmen.

Legislative branch

Northern Cyprus elects a legislature. The Assembly of the Republic (Cumhuriyet Meclisi) has 50 members, elected for a five year term by mitigated proportional representation. A party must cross the election threshold (5% of the total vote) to get any seats in parliament. The TRNC parliament is composed of 50 MPs, chosen from 5 electoral districts, Lefkosa (Nicosia), Magusa (Famagusta), Girne (Kyrenia), Guzelyurt and Iskele. In parliamentary elections, voters vote for individual candidates. There are two ways of voting for this.

  • One can either vote for a party, which in effect means is voting for every candidate from that party in that electoral district once. Voter can further prioritize the MPs in this kind of voting.
  • Or alternatively one may not choose a party but would vote for different candidates from different parties. In this kind of mixed voting, a person can not choose more than the number of MPs from that district.

Political parties and elections

The presidential election takes place every 5 year. In the elections, in order to secure outright victory, a candidate has to have at least 50% of the votes. Otherwise the candidates that receive the two highest votes will go to second round voting one week later and the winner becomes the president.

Judicial branch

Supreme Court. Judges are appointed by the High Judicial Council (made up of 8 High Court judges, the President of the Republic, representatives from the Republic's Assembly, the Bar, and the Prosecutor General).

Source: BRTK

Other issues

Political pressure groups and leaders: Federation of Turkish Cypriot Labor Unions (or Turk-Sen)

International organization participation: OIC (observer-state member)

References

See also

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