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18 July, 2024
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Only 5,676 of 103,281 eligible T/C voters participated in the EU elections

Cyprus government investigates causes behind voter apathy and lack of participation by Turkish Cypriots


In the recent European Parliament elections on June 9, hopes for a high turnout of Turkish Cypriot (T/C) voters were dashed. Despite having 103,281 eligible voters, only 5,676 T/Cs cast their ballots, a slight drop from 5,804 in 2019, according to an article by Apostolos Kouroupakis in this Sunday's Kathimerini.

This was surprising given that the number of eligible voters had increased by over 20,000. The three T/C candidates—Niyazi Kızılyürek from AKEL, Hulusi Kilim from Volt, and Oz Karahan from the Union of Cypriots—struggled to mobilize voters.

Several reasons explain the low participation. Assistant Professor Sonan Sertac pointed out that only the most politically engaged T/Cs turned out to vote. He blamed the political parties for not doing enough to encourage voters and noted that polling stations were inconveniently located, requiring voters to cross to the south. Sertac also highlighted growing political apathy, with only a 30% turnout in the recent northern elections, indicating that many T/Cs don't see these elections as important.

Hulusi Kilim, a Volt candidate, said the low turnout was due to the lack of effort by T/C parties to get people to the polls. He criticized the secretive support of candidates by these parties and noted ongoing frustration and distrust towards Greek Cypriot political parties.

Oz Karahan, the Ecologists' candidate, mentioned practical issues like the hot weather and the difficulty of reaching polling stations. He also pointed out that Turkey's interference prevented the Goethe Institute in Nicosia from being used as a polling station.

Both Kilim and Karahan emphasized that many T/Cs feel disconnected from the European elections, seeing them as irrelevant to their daily lives. They also mentioned past disappointments with elected officials, which further discouraged voters.

Cyprus  |  elections  |  Turkey

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