No. 76/18 20.04.18
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (20.04.18) reports that Tufan Erhurman, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime in the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus, has said that the announcement of early elections in Turkey on 24 June, 2018 influenced the “municipal elections”, which would be held in the occupied area of Cyprus on 1 July and that he will meet with the “chairperson” of the “high election council” for evaluating the issue. In statements yesterday after a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Erhurman did not exclude the possibility of “amending the law” and noted that the most reasonable thing to do is transferring the “local elections” to 24 June, the date on which they were planned in the first place. He added, however, that in order for doing this they need to discuss the issue with the “high election council” and make the necessary preparations.
Asked to comment on the information and the debates as regards a possible cooperation in the “elections” between the four parties which participate in the “coalition government”, Erhurman said that the four parties have not reached the point of supporting a candidate anywhere and of jointly holding propaganda in favor of any candidate adding that during their meetings they consider the issue of where each party intends to nominate a candidate or whether they intend to nominate a candidate [in certain places]. “The alliance here might be an alliance in the sense of not nominating candidates by the others or by one or two of the others in a place where one of them [the parties] nominate a candidate”, he explained.
Writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (20.04.18), the paper’s editor-in-chief Basaran Duzgun refers to the decision of holding early elections in Turkey and reports that Turkey experiences historic days. “Turkey, which with the change of system has acquired a form of governance to which we had not been used to until today and almost every day experiences developments which could be considered as surprising, will witness new upsides down with the early elections decision”, notes the columnist adding that various assessments and comments are being made for this surprising development.
“No one can orderly and briefly put forward what is happening, because Turkey has sharply been divided into sides, into camps”, argues Duzgun adding that it is as if everyone shots against the other side being behind sand bags in his own camp, something which should never happen in normal democracies and prevents sound assessments regarding Turkey’s future.
Pointing out that when one looks at the statements made for the elections, he would think that dictatorship prevails in Turkey, Duzgun wonders “how could healthy elections could be held in such an environment and what the result of the elections would be”.
Describing the fact that Turkey entered into an election climate as “bad news” for the self-styled government, the columnist explains his view by adding the following:
“The fact that the government, which has recently passed its budget and rolled up its sleeves to act, needs Ankara is a reality. If this is expressed in a more diplomatic manner, the government must proceed its way in cooperation with Ankara. As a matter of fact, our ministers have started visiting Ankara the one after the other and holding long-lasting meetings with their interlocutors. By the statements they make, it is understood that they asked for Ankara’s support for the projects which they are developing. Alas, however, an election climate which is worse than a battle for life and death exists now in Ankara. This is the agenda until 25 June. In such an environment, no one will look at our face”.
Columnist Cuneyt Oruc in his commentary in Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (20.04.18) under the title: “AKP gave the start signal of its election campaign in Cyprus”, reports on Turkey’s decision to go on snap elections on June 24 and writes that according to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) “representative” in the occupied area of Cyprus Mehmet Demirci, the party has push the button for its elections campaign in “north Cyprus”.
Speaking to the columnist, Demirci said that the number of the “registered Turkish voters” in the “TRNC” is 105,000. Demirci also said that they had already launch the “election campaign” in Cyprus as of today and alleged that they are already ready for the elections as if they would take place tomorrow.
He further said that they are also looking for an “alliance” in the “TRNC” and stated that this “alliance” will be probably reflecting a “cooperation” between the “AKP representation office in Cyprus” and the Grey Wolfes. Demirci stated further that their aim is for AKP to gain more than 50% of the votes in the “TRNC”.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.04.18) reports that so-called minister of economy and energy, Ozdil Nami departed yesterday for Ankara for a series of “contacts”.
Nami will hold separate meetings today with Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for Cyprus Affairs Recep Akdag, the Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci, the Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Ozlu and the Minister of Customs and Trade Bulent Tufekci.
Nami is accompanied in his “visit” to Turkey by the “undersecretary” of his “ministry” Erkan Okandan.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.04.18) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met yesterday with a “delegation” composed by the “speaker” of the so-called assembly Teberrukken Ulucay and the “deputies” that will be attending the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) meetings and the meetings of the European Parliament (EP) in the forthcoming period.
Speaking during the meeting, Akinci pointed out to the importance of being informed about the meetings of the “delegation” abroad, adding that he himself also briefs the “assembly” about his “contacts” abroad. Akinci alleged further that “consultation between him and the assembly is very important for bringing the desirable results”.
Also speaking, Ulucay announced that “5 deputies were assigned in the foreign affairs committee of the assembly for holding contacts abroad and for carrying out a more coordinated work”. Ulucay explained that 2 out of the 5 “deputies” will be attending PACE’s meetings and the other 3 the meeting of the European Parliament (EP). Ulucay further asked from Akinci to arrange a “consultation meeting” with these “deputies” next week.
The “deputies” who were assigned to attend the meetings of PACE and EP abroad are the following: Fikri Toros and Armagan Candan, “deputies” with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Erek Cagatay, “deputy” with the People’s Party (HP) and Oguzhan Hasipoglu and Hamza Ersan Saner, “deputies” with the National Unity Party (UBP).
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (20.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-confident-erdogan-will-win-presidency-in-first-election-round-on-june-24-130560) reports that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is confident that its chairman and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will win the presidency in the first round of voting by securing at least 50 % plus one vote.
“The latest polls indicate that our president’s [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] vote is 55.6 %,” AKP spokesperson Mahir Unal said on April 19 in a press conference following a meeting with Erdogan and AKP deputies in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan had convened AKP lawmakers in Ankara to discuss the upcoming period for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held on June 24, over one year ahead of their originally scheduled date.
Following the meeting, AKP officials came together under Erdogan in a “harmonization commission” to accelerate the legislative harmonization process necessary to hold elections.
The June 24 elections will be the first parliamentary and presidential elections under the amended Constitution stipulating a shift from a parliamentary to an executive presidential system in Turkey, and existing legislation needs to be harmonized for this process.
“Initially we need to confirm the process of presenting a candidate with 100,000 votes, even though there is a provision in the [amended] Constitution on how the candidates can be determined. There will be a swift regulation on that,” Unal said.
He said the harmonization of the election and political parties law will be discussed with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in line with the alliance that the two parties have formed for the elections.
“We will discuss it in the people’s alliance commission and then we will submit it to Parliament,” Unal added.
Noting that the AKP’s campaigning will “probably start on May 15,” he vowed that the party is “ready for elections.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said “the early elections will have positive economic effects.”
“There will be no need for run-off elections. The result of the [presidential] elections is now certain after the reaction of the markets,” Bozdag told state-run Anadolu Agency in an interview on April 19, adding that the markets had a “positive response” to the announcement of early elections.
“Whoever wins the election on June 24 will have a perspective for five years. There will be no question of whether or not a government can be formed after the polls. The nation’s government will come directly out of the ballot box,” he said.
“June 24 is the date when the new governance system will begin to be implemented in line with the people’s will. Our people will open the door of a new era on June 24,” he said, adding that the decision “to hold early elections is a step that will ruin those who have planned dirty plots against Turkey.”
Bozdag also predicted that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) would nominate its leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu as its presidential candidate.
“I think Kilicdaroglu will be the CHP’s candidate. But when I look I see that the opposition seems to have been caught in the rain without an umbrella,” he said.
“If Kilicdaroglu is not the candidate, it would mean that the CHP has no aspiration to come to power,” Bozdag suggested, also arguing that the main opposition party is “afraid of establishing a pre-election alliance.”
“Its potential ally is clear: The Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP]. But it will face serious difficulties in explaining to its patriotic grassroots voters if it decides to form an alliance with the HDP,” he said.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (20.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkeys-early-election-to-decrease-uncertainty-speed-up-reforms-deputy-pm-simsek-130584) reports that early elections will decrease uncertainties and bring forth opportunities to speed up reforms, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said on April 18, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
“With early elections, uncertainties will decrease, opportunity to speed up reforms will be born, a new and strong governing system will be realized,” Simsek said on Twitter.
A similar comment was voiced by another top government official on April 19, as Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag said that “early polls would positively affect the economy.”
“Early polls will positively affect the economy. The reaction given by markets to the news on early polls was quite positive. Early elections will boost the economy,” Bozdag told state-run Anadolu Agency in an interview on April 19.
The Turkish lira, which has plumbed a series of record lows in recent weeks on widening concern about double-digit inflation, an escalating trend in the country’s current account deficit and a rise in geopolitical concerns, surged 2.2 % on April 18 following Erdogan’s announcement, according to Reuters data.
The currency was at 4.0285 to the dollar on April 19, weaker from the April 18 close of 4.0074, amid a rally in commodity prices, mainly in oil prices.
The currency’s record sell-offs may have figured in the call for early elections, according to some investors.
“A continued depreciation of the currency would likely negatively impact voter behavior and may jeopardize Erdogan’s plans for victory,” said Paul Greer, a portfolio manager at Fidelity International in London, as quoted by Reuters.
“We read the early election announcement as a recognition from the government of a need for a tighter monetary and fiscal adjustment sooner rather than later,” he added.
Mainly driven by huge buys at Borsa Istanbul and dollar sell-off by local players, Turkey’s main stock exchange Borsa Istanbul also soared on April 18, adding 3.1 %, its biggest one-day gain in a year. The banking and holding sector indices increased 4.64 and 2.25 %, respectively. Among all sectors, the BIST mining index recorded the best performance with a 6.43 % rise while the leasing factoring sector index fell by 0.46, making it the only sector to end the day down.
Mehmet Simsek, Turkey, elections, snap polls, early elections, politics, AKP, MHP, People's Alliance, lira, Turkish Lira, economy
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (20.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/chp-to-meet-leaders-for-alliance-chp-leader-130585) reports that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has said the CHP will meet the leaders of political parties for a possible alliance in the upcoming snap elections, stating that his party is open to “all segments who are in favor of democracy.”
“We will hold meetings with other party leaders and then make decisions. Whoever stands for democracy, whoever is against a one-man regime, whoever wants people to be in peace and for people to express their thoughts freely, we invite them to the June [elections],” Kilicdaroglu told reporters in Istanbul on April 19.
His comments come as Turkey prepares for snap elections to be held on June 14, following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement on April 18.
Kilicdaroglu sought to voice his party’s confidence in the election, vowing to “bring about democracy” and “crown the republic with democracy.”
As Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have formed what they call a “People’s Alliance” to enter the elections, CHP spokesperson Bulent Tezcan said the CHP is open to “forming alliances under certain principles.”
“We never close the door to alliances. We do not have any preconditions for alliances. We have only one condition: A ruling model that would free Turkey from this trap and strengthen democracy,” Tezcan said in an interview with private broadcaster NTV on April 19.
“The possibility [of forming an alliance] is always there. It could be a multiple-party alliance. We could see a ballot paper where parties outside of the alliance could appear,” he said.
He said the leaders of the Felicity Party (SP) and the İYİ (Good) Party have also voiced a positive stance for an “alliance of principles,” and the CHP will continue its contacts with other parties.
The CHP spokesman noted that the legislative package approved by the AKP-MHP alliance allowed the forming of pre-election alliances and maintained the 10 % national threshold on entering Parliament, while also granting certain advantages for minor parties to enter Parliament by entering alliances.
The new legislation allows parties to enter an election under the name of alliances while keeping their logos on ballot papers. The electoral threshold will be calculated from the total votes of all parties in one alliance, giving the small parties the possibility to enter despite not individually crossing the threshold.
Saying the CHP favors all parties entering Parliament without a threshold, Tezcan added the “a model canceling out the threshold for other parties can be considered.”
Responding to a question about whether there is a possibility of the CHP entering elections under the banner of an alliance on the ballot paper, he said “surely there is.”
“I will not list who there will be, but there is [a possibility]. The important thing is the principles under which this alliance will come together,” he added.
Tezcan also underlined that the constitutional amendment stipulating the shift to an executive presidential system included provisions concerning the characteristics of the presidential candidate, but adjustment laws are needed to instruct political parties to determine their candidates.
“There isn’t any adjustment law yet. There is a regulation about the method of determining candidates for parliamentary elections. It is not possible to decide without seeing the new adjustment law,” he said.
He said the CHP will determine the name of its candidate “in the coming days,” adding that he favors the candidacy of CHP leader Kilicdaroglu.
Responding to a question concerning his candidacy, Kilicdaroglu said the CHP’s party assembly will be the authority to give such decision.
“In the coming days we will convene our party assembly and then we will determine our candidate,” he stated.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.03.18 https://aa.com.tr/en/politics/-candidates-can-t-contest-both-polls-simultaneously-/1123266) reports that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s deputy chairman on Thursday said running for parliamentary and presidential elections simultaneously is not possible.
"It is not possible to be a candidate for Parliament’s membership and presidency simultaneously," Hayati Yazici told reporters in AK Party headquarter in Ankara.
Yazici said the citizens will have to apply to Supreme Electoral Council to nominate their candidate, referring to the constitutional article that reads: “The citizens will be able to nominate a presidential candidate provided that he/she gets at least 100,000 signatures."
He said the electoral boards would be responsible for supervising and controlling the necessary steps about signatures and nominations.
"Supreme Electoral Council has a software to perform it," Yazici said, adding the that the citizens would apply to provincial or district election boards.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday a plan to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, over a year before they had been scheduled, in November 2019.
On April 16, 2017, Turkey held a referendum on a constitutional reform in which the majority of voters pronounced themselves in favor of an 18-article bill switching a parliamentary system into a presidential one.
Under the constitutional reform, the number of lawmakers in the Parliament will rise to 600 from 550, the presidential and the parliamentary elections will be held after every five years and the elected President will not be bound to cut ties with his or her party.
The political parties or alliance which received at least five % of vote in last elections or 100,000 voters could nominate their candidate for the presidency.
In the new system, the president will have executive power and the title of “head of state”, representing Turkey, the unity of Turkish people and assuring the implementation of the constitution and the harmonious execution of state bodies.
Turkish daily Sabah (20.04.18 https://www.dailysabah.com/elections/2018/04/19/former-joint-presidential-candidate-ihsanoglu-announces-support-for-erdogan) reports that the main opposition parties' joint candidate who ran against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey's first presidential election in 2014 announced he will vote for the President in the upcoming snap polls on June 24.
The former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) member of parliament, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on Thursday said that he is supporting his party's decision to back President Erdogan and will act accordingly in the snap polls.
Ihsanoglu lost the election in the first round on Aug. 10 to Erdogan from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, garnering just 38 % of the vote, despite being the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and then-third-strongest party MHP's choice of presidential candidate.
Erdogan took 51.79 % of the vote while Selahattin Demirtas had 9.76 % in the 2014 election.
The Turkish President announced Wednesday that early presidential and parliamentary elections are being planned for June 24, a day after MHP Chairman Devlet Bahceli called for early elections.
Erdogan is the presidential candidate for the AK Party and MHP's "People's Alliance," but the CHP has not revealed its candidate as of yet, although there have been speculations made about certain figures, including CHP Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Turkish Hurriyet Daily News (20.04.18 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/two-more-hdp-lawmakers-stripped-of-statuses-in-turkish-parliament-130598) reports that two more lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were stripped of their Deputy statuses on April 19.
Turkey’s Sanliurfa lawmaker Osman Baydemir and Hakkari lawmaker Selma Irmak lost their seats after the final verdict of legal cases against them was read aloud in the Turkish Parliament.
The total number of HDP lawmakers who were stripped of their seats increased to 11.
Irmak was sentenced 10 years in jail for being a member of “an armed terror group” and “spreading terror propaganda.”
Baydemir was also sentenced nearly one and a half years in jail for verbally assaulting a police officer.
The HDP Deputies who have lost seats in the Turkish Parliament are Figen Yuksekdag, Nursel Aydogan, Faysal Sariyildiz, Tugba Hezer Ozturk, Besime Konca, Leyla Zana, Fethat Encu, İbrahim Ayhan, Ahmet Yildirim, Osman Baydemir, and Selma Irmak.
Back in Feb. 27, HDP lawmakers Ahmet Yildirim and İbrahim Ayhan were stripped of their parliamentary status.
Yildirim was sentenced to one year and two months in prison in June 2017 for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech after the April 2017 referendum.
With the latest procedure, Yildirim became the first MP in parliamentary history to be stripped of his status for “insulting the President.”
Ayhan, meanwhile, was sentenced to one year and three months in jail in July 2017 for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” over his social media posts and for attending the funerals of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members.
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