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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Third Turkish Cypriot candidate could scupper Eroglu ]

Third Turkish Cypriot candidate could scupper Eroglu

Author: 
Simon Bahceli

THE EMERGENCE of a third candidate in the north’s April 18 ‘presidential’ election yesterday looked set to threaten front runner Dervish Eroglu’s chances of victory.

Former Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ and staunch nationalist Tahsin Ertugruloglu, who is currently the National Unity Party’s (UBP’s) deputy for north Nicosia, announced his candidacy last night after returning to the island following a series of meetings with Turkish officials in Ankara. These meetings included one on Wednesday with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who Ertugruloglu is thought to have sought the approval of before deciding to run for office.

The errant deputy’s candidacy will cause great annoyance to UBP supporters, the majority of whom are believed to be loyal to Eroglu.  Furthermore, the appearance of fellow UBP member Ertugruloglu on ballot slips is far more likely to erode support for Eroglu than for left-wing opponent and incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat.

Whether Ankara favours Ertugruloglu’s candidacy was not entirely clear yesterday. Despite inviting him to Ankara for a meeting on Monday, the Turkish President did not actually get round to seeing him until Wednesday afternoon. Furthermore, it is widely assumed, especially in the diplomatic community,  that the Turkish government wishes to see the moderate, pro-solution Talat remain in charge for the time being. Ankara will however be careful not to be seen as having favourites in the breakaway north.

Some however believe the emergence of a third candidate will have little effect on the eventual outcome of the election.

“I don’t believe Ertugruloglu will create a deep impact. It will only force a second round of voting,” head of the Cyprus Policy Centre at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) in Famagusta Ahmet Sozen told the Cyprus Mail yesterday. Similar to the voting system in the south, a candidate has to receive more than 50 per cent in the first round to win outright. If none does, the two highest scoring candidates go head to head.

Although coming from the same party, Ertugruloglu is seen as more of a nationalistic hardliner than his elder opponent. According to Sozen, his support in this election will come from those who used to support former nationalist leader Rauf Denktash. Indeed, the Democrat Party (DP), which his son Serdar Denktash now leads, has offered Ertugruloglu its support in the upcoming election.

It is not immediately clear what Ertugruloglu stands to gain by running; most agree he is unlikely to gain more than third place on April 18. However analysts reckon his aim may simply be to reap revenge on Eroglu by scuppering his third attempt at becoming ‘president’ of the north. Ertugruloglu was widely reported as being “incensed” when Eroglu refused to hand him a ‘ministry’ on becoming ‘prime minister’ last April.

Sozen believes that through his candidacy Ertugruloglu is dicing with his future in the UBP and that his move will either win him leadership of the party, through Eroglu’s third failure to become ‘president’, or his expulsion. But expulsion would also come at a price for the UBP, as Ertugruloglu is one of 26 UBP deputies in the north’s ‘parliament’ of 50 deputies. If he goes, so does the UBP ‘government’.

How much support Ertugruloglu can garners among the north’s voters remains a total mystery as opinion polls so far have only included the names of Talat and Eroglu. According to one published on March 6, Eroglu will gain 53 per cent vote and Talat 47 per cent.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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