Elections Summary

Elections are not independent, democratic or free: In general neither the election campaigning process nor the actual casting and counting of the votes are done according to the democratic norms. For example a parliamentary commission report on the 1990 parliamentary and presidential elections stated the following findings:

Turkish Original Here

a. Just before the election time the Electoral Law has been changed in a way that does not fit to the spirit of democracy and democratic pluralism.
b. During the election time restrictions BRTK (Turkish Cypriot radio & TV) and TRT (Turkish government Radio & TV) had illegal broadcasts.
c. There has been illegal broadcasts using the government radio and television transmitters and reflectors which effected election results during 1990 elections. This happened eventhough only broadcasts read and endorsed by the High Electoral Commission are supposed to have been allowed.
d. Local and foreign newspapers published articles on the election day that are considered to be interference to the elections.
e. Civil service workers were given advance salaries one week before the elections without any regulations in order to gain election advantages.
f. There has been domestic and foreign interference to the elections which changed the fate of the elections.
g. Right before the election day and on the election day itself The Immigration office was oppened and citizenships and identification cards were issued. This is considered as a direct interference to the elections.
h. Security forces joined acts of flyer and banner destructions which falls outside their duties.
i. Citizens doing their military duty are allowed to cast their votes in the nearest ballot boxes to their camps. However, when political parties demand the electoral listings and which regions they belong, they are not given. Therefore, there are well spread rumours which lead to certain bothering results indicating there has been double castings by these people.
j. Some candidates were attacked, beaten and their cars were damaged.
k. The bureau of Electoral Listings does not operate continuously therefore some people who are not citizens or electors were included in the electoral listings and they casted votes.
l. Foreign officials came to our country and visited villages and advised Turkish Cypriot citizens. This amounted to interference to the elections.

The revelations by this unusual report are very striking. As can be seen in the attached original document the commission that prepared this report included MPs from all parties in the parliament including the ruling parties. The report was presented to the parliament and was adopted unanimously. It is important to note here that this report is not exhaustive and since the first elections of the Turkish Cypriot Federated State in 1976 and the rest of the elections for both the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus elections have been flawed to various degrees.

Turkish Government has interfered with the election process from the lowest to the highest possible degree. In 1981 parliamentary elections three opposition parties won 21 out of 40 seats and declared immediately that they would be ready to form a coalition. Therefore, the main opposition party (Communal Liberation Party , then presided by Alpay Durduran) was supposed to be given the duty to form the government. However, the president declined to obey the tradition and both military and civilian officials from the then military dictatorship in Turkey interfered and did not allow a government to be formed until two of the opposition MPs left the coalition and joined the ruling party for a coalition. This example shows an interference to the electoral process from the highest degree.

After 1981 elections opposition parties were explicitly campaigned against using the government controlled media and pressure from both Turkish Cypriot and Turkish authorities as indicated by the findings of the above commission report. A striking example of government controlled intrusion to control the opposition parties comes from the revelations of the president Rauf Denktash during interview with Mr Erten Kasimoglu which was published in his book "Old Days, Old Records" (Eski Gunler Eski Defterler, Nicosia, Cyprus). While describing the declaration of independence at 15 November 1983, Mr Denktash says "We have formed our cells in National Liberation Pary… Outside this cell there were people like Fuat Veziroglu and Ekrem Ural who believed in the independence…Also people that they had influence on. We made sure we had the right number of MPs ….". This was later on re-confirmed by president Denktash in his short memoirs. (see Declaration of Independence & 1981 elections from Denktash' short memoirs: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3|)

This led to a dinner to a dinner on November 14th in the presidential palace where all MPs were gathered from their homes and were informed that the independence was to be declared. They were told that there was going to be a discussion and voting in the parliament the following day. Mr Denktash revealed in this interview that he told the opposition MPs who rejected this course of events "If you vote against the independence, you should know that you will not be able to continue your political life. I mean, a political party which opposes the independence and the republic to be formed can not continue to be a political party." This revelation clearly shows that the MPs who voted next day for the declaration of independence and disollution of the existing state where not free and were threatened by the highest authorities. It should also be noted that all this was done under the direct supervision of Turkish authorities. Another interesting revelation by Mr Denktash is when he says "When they asked me to call the Turkish embassy which decides on all activities in North Cyprus. I told them that they will not be able to do so. As of 20:00 all phones in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus were closed for calls to and from the outside. Because we had Mr Tugrul Hilmi, the head of the telecommunications authority in our cell and he took the responsibility for this action. (see Declaration of Independence & 1981 elections from Denktash' short memoirs: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3|)

This was only the beginning. On November 15th, the republic was declared. There was an immediate reaction from the international community and president Denktash left the country. During this period the parliament met twice and there heated discussions about what would happen to the existing constitution and whether there would be a Constituent Assembly as was the case back in 1975. There was a great opposition towards changing the contents of constitution drastically and against forming a new Constituent Assembly. After the president Denktash returned from UN headquarters in New York, he called a parliament meeting and declared the decision to form a Constituent Assembly amid strong rejection by the opposition parties. It should be noted that even non-opposition MPs were against the Constituent Assembly during earlier meetings, however, an apparently pre-staged scenario played and they voted for the Constituent Assembly. A ridiculous decision was made to dissolve an elected parliament and form a new one with 30 new members (total of 70 members) who were appointed by the president, i.e not elected, to form the new republic and make its constituion and its laws. This also gave way for the president to continue his presidency which was to end at the end of its term according to the older constitution. All this shows how the democratic process was destroyed by from highest level and also by the intrusion of a foreign government.

Another interesting point is that the above mentioned "cells" directed by the president increased their intrusion in the Communal Liberation party which led to its fractioning and it changed its political stand. Eventually the party expelled its president Alpay Durduran who was the main figure in its establishment and its president the party was the main opposition party. This another example of undemocratic intereference into the political life by the president who was supposed to be independent of party politics. This repeated itself later on when another opposition party, Republican Turkish Party gained strength and joined a coalition in the government. When its president saw the undemocratic actions in the government, the party was leaving the government politics and intrusions took place which led to its fractioning.