Turkey elections the focus of discussion in Nicosia

Turkey elections the focus of discussion in Nicosia

Nicosia, December 7, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriacos Kyriacou

Academics, political analysts, Cypriot MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou and other speakers outlined on Monday their assessment and views on Turkey`s role after the November elections, during a round-table discussion organized in Nicosia by the European Parliament Office in Cyprus and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of Nicosia.

Hadjigeorgiou expressed the belief that there are sound possibilities for a Cyprus settlement, noting that representatives of Turkey and the European Commission are sending out the message that things in Cyprus are going well.

He said that Turkey sees now the need for a Cyprus settlement and the benefits it will reap from a solution. Furthermore he stressed that the future of a state cannot be linked to surveillance by another state.

Turkish Political Science professor and writer Cengiz Aktar said that AKP`s supporters voted for stability in the country and the continuation of the system which the governing party had established in the past 13 years and not for participatory democracy.

He said the army and the judiciary have succumbed to the governing party, while fundamental freedoms are violated and there is no sign for the revival of the peace process on the Kurdish issue. Furthermore, he said that according to MIT data 2,700 Daesh fighters are Turkish citizens. Aktar noted that the only light at the end of the tunnel are the negotiations on the Cyprus problem.

Rector of the University of Nicosia Michalis Attalides, who holds the Jean Monnet Chair Ad Personam, said that the AKP does not believe, as former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit did, that the Cyprus problem was solved in 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island.

He noted that Turkey is evolving into a factor of instability in the region. This, however, he added, does not mean that Turkey is less important for Western interests since it is an important mediator-state in the region between the West and the Middle East. Furthermore, he said that the EU needs Turkey but Turkey needs the EU today more than ever before.

Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of Cyprus Niyazi Kizilyürek said that Turkish Cypriots are fed up with the continuation of the current situation in Cyprus and are interested in a climate of cooperation, a new state of play. He said that there is a new mentality among Turkish Cypriots which began when Mehmet Ali Talat took over their leadership and continues until today.

He said that there are differences between the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey and that the former have a different culture. He noted that AKP determines the economy, the quality of life and the rules of the game in the occupied areas of Cyprus and that Turkey plays a guardianship role over the Turkish Cypriots.

Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy Director General Thanos Dokos said the Middle East has always been an area with great unrest but during the past few years the situation has worsened and there are many problems and challenges.

He said that Turkey has lost investment in Libya while its relations with Egypt are going through a difficult period. Furthermore, he expressed the belief that there has not been a real agreement between EU and Turkey on the refugee issue.