UK general election candidate vows to support North Cyprus

  Jul 1, 2024 11:02 am Ibrar Younas 686

UK general election candidate vows to support North Cyprus
Ertan Karpazlı

By ELTAN HALİL

 

A CANDIDATE in the UK’s general election has promised to raise awareness of the international isolation of the TRNC “at every opportunity” if elected.

The pledge was made by Ertan Karpazlı, who is one of two candidates of Turkish Cypriot ethnicity running for election in London.

The other is Nesil Çalışkan, the Labour Party’s candidate in Barking, as previously reported by Cyprus Today.

Karpazlı, a journalist who was born in the London borough of Enfield in 1987, is an independent candidate in the Enfield North constituency, an area with a large number of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot voters.

His mother was born in the UK but raised by her grandmother in the İskele district village of Kurtuluş before returning to Britain when she was 13. His father was born in the upper Mesaoria Plain village of Serdarlı and moved to the UK in 1983 after marrying his mother.

Speaking exclusively to this newspaper, Karpazlı said that “challenging for direct flights to North Cyprus and the end of embargoes is part of my manifesto”.

“This is not a political issue, this is a human rights issue, and championing human rights is always going to be part of my agenda, it’s who I am,” he said.

“Before I can represent my constituents I must represent myself to them. If they’re happy with what I am standing for and they vote me in, I will take that as an indication that my constituents want me to fight for these issues in Parliament.

“If, however, they want an MP who will continue towing the same line on Cyprus, resulting in the prolongation of this terrible situation, that is their choice. I will continue to fight for my principles outside of Parliament.

“In the event I am elected, I will bring up the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people living in international isolation in North Cyprus at every opportunity.

“I will work with other MPs, lobby groups and experts to help me produce strong arguments to that end.

“If I feel we have made progress in changing a few minds, I will have Bills proposed to commence direct trade between the UK and the TRNC.”

Karpazlı added that while campaigning he is “very clear on this issue, not only with Turkish Cypriot constituents, but also Greek Cypriot constituents”.

If elected, he would join the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus “without a doubt” and would also be willing to support the UK-based Freedom and Fairness for Northern Cyprus campaign if approached by them, he said.

 

UK CYPRUS POLICY NEEDS ‘RADICAL CHANGE’

 

Asked for his position on the Cyprus issue, Karpazlı said: “For too long the UK has been taking the same futile approach to the Cyprus Problem. By backing the general stance of the international community for a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus, and by continuing to not recognise the TRNC, the UK is failing to provide an incentive for the Greek Cypriot administration to take reunification talks seriously.

“Each time the talks fail, usually because of a lack of will on the Greek Cypriot side to negotiate, it is the Turkish Cypriots who continue to suffer under international isolation.

“I think it’s time for a change in strategy. The UK needs to level out the playing field in the talks to create the right environment for negotiations to produce fruits.

“If recognising the TRNC is what it takes to get the Greek Cypriots to sit down at the negotiation table, then that’s what the UK should do.

“I don’t want to dictate to the people of Cyprus what their future should look like. Whether they want a two-state solution or a one-state solution is for them to decide.

“But the status quo cannot continue. It is against human rights. The UK, as guarantor, needs to play its part in helping both sides of the divide to get to a point where they can make a decision, either to officially go their separate ways on amicable terms, or help secure a deal that protects the rights of both populations.

“This will require a radical change in UK policy, which I will be fighting for if elected MP.”

 

‘I’M NOT ALONE’

 

Karpazlı, who said he visits North Cyprus “as often as I can” and who also spent a period of his life living in Türkiye, is up against six other candidates.

They include the Labour Party’s Turkish-born candidate Feryal Demirci Clark, who is seeking re-election after winning the seat in 2019 with 51.8 per cent of the votes.

While nationwide polls are predicting a Labour victory in the general election, Karpazlı is hoping that the support of independent candidates in other Enfield constituencies and any disillusionment with the mainstream parties will help his campaign.

“I was born in Enfield and my current registered address is in Enfield, so I know the problems of Enfield very well,” he stated.

“There are three constituencies in Enfield – Edmonton and Winchmore Hill, Enfield North, and Southgate and Wood Green.

“There are three independent candidates in each constituency, including myself, who are endorsed by the Enfield Community Action Group.

“Between us we made a strategic decision on who should run in each constituency. It was decided that I had the best chance of winning in Enfield North, so we went with that.

“The other two candidates – Khalid Sadur for Edmonton and Winchmore Hill and Karl Vidol for Southgate and Wood Green – and I all more or less stand for the same things, so we didn’t want to compete against each other.

“So, although I’m independent, I’m not alone. I do have backing from local community groups and leaders, which I can’t say for other candidates who represent political parties.

“Most of them have been parachuted in from elsewhere, whereas I have deep-running roots in Enfield.

“Ultimately I thought running as an independent would give me more control over my campaign to actually represent the people of Enfield.”

Karpazlı said he is planning to attend the 7th Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival, which is taking place in Enfield tomorrow, just four days before the general election.

In the past the event has been attended by British politicians such as former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and other MPs.

This article first appeared in the print version of Cyprus Today on June 29



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