Monday, 20 April 2009

Turk ultranationalists win in occupied Cyprus

What the Turks have done to the cemetery in the occupied Greek village of Yialousa

So the ultranationalist UBP has won the so-called 'parliamentary elections' in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, winning 44 percent of the vote and 26 of the 50 seats in the occupation 'legislature', exposing as fools and liars those Greek Cypriots – many in Christofias' communist-led government – who believe the Turkish Cypriots are itching for reunification and peaceful co-existence with the island's Greeks.

Of course, the communists will point to the fact that the majority of those who voted in the occupation 'elections' – 62 per cent – were Turks from the mainland and not Turk Cypriots and that the settlers played the decisive role in electing the the UBP, which is the political wing of the Turkish Cypriot terrorist group, TMT, and favours partition of Cyprus. But we simply don't know if the settlers voted differently from Turkish Cypriots. We assume that the Turkish settlers voted for parties opposing reunification of the island and supporting greater integration with Turkey because in any deal with the Greek Cypriots a large number of settlers would have to leave Cyprus or, at least, evacuate the Greek properties they're currently squatting in; but the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his CTP have previously won 'elections' when the electorate was composed of similar numbers of settlers and Turkish Cypriots. It's always been thought that the settlers' vote is highly susceptible to pressures from the Turkish government – which under Erdogan has opposed the UBP and favoured the CTP – so it's now possible that the settlers are developing an independent political consciousness, which is as virulent and nationalist as that of the Israeli settlers in Palestine.

The second point worth making about the 'elections' in the occupied areas is that the first point regarding shifting psephological patterns in the Turk population in Cyprus is largely irrelevant. This is because it is the Turkish government and the Turkish army that decides what goes on in occupied Cyprus and not their puppet 'president' Talat and certainly not any puppet 'government'.

Turkey will determine Talat's position in talks with Christofias, not the UBP 'government'. It is possible, of course, that Turkey will use the 'election' of the UBP to toughen its already hardline stance in the negotiations and argue that in doing so it's only reflecting the 'democratic' wishes of the Turkish Cypriots. In this way, Turkey would, in the eyes of the international community, hope to absolve itself from the failure of the Christofias-Talat talks and avoid consequences to its EU candidature.

On the other hand, it has been suggested that Turkey and Talat will now want to push ahead and arrive at a settlement before 'presidential' elections in the occupied areas next year, which Talat may well lose; but Turkey doesn't do diplomatic daring or flexibility and it's more likely they'll try and use the return of the UBP to pressure Christofias to come to an Annan-style agreement before Talat is replaced with a Turkish ultranationalist as leader of the Turkish community in Cyprus.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that even if a UBP 'government' doesn't pose an immediate threat to Talat's position as Turkish Cypriot negotiator; the UBP's victory is a victory for the Turkish deep state, which the UBP is an arm of. The Turkish deep state is significantly present in Cyprus, particularly in the form of the Turkish military commanders serving in the occupation army; and this alliance between the UBP and the Turkish occupation army will certainly give the UBP 'government' room to manoeuvre in further attempts to embed the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' and dehellenise/Turkify occupied Cyprus. This could result in, among other things, more destruction of Greek cultural heritage in the occupied areas, more Turkish settlers being brought in and given 'citizenship' of the 'TRNC', the halting of excavations of massacre sites, the increased harassment of the enclaved in Karpasia and of Greeks crossing to visit their villages in the occupied areas and so on.