Turkish Cypriot parliament’s Chief of Staff Mustafa Caluda has been removed from duty after his older social media posts criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were published by a local news website.
Caluda called Erdogan a “dictator” in his Facebook posts in 2017.
He also blamed Turkish leader for seeking to establish a “one man” regime in the country via a 2017 referendum on the presidential system.
“Erdogan is someone who acts as he sees fit. If you want a one-man rule, go say yes in the referendum,” Caluda wrote.
The presidential system in Turkey was adopted in a referendum in 2017 and entered into force after the presidential and parliamentary elections held in 2018, granting Erdogan vast executive powers. Since then, Turkish authorities intensified a crackdown on the dissident, including political opposition, media organizations and social media users. Tens of thousands of people arrested on charges such as terrorism and insulting the president.
Caluda’s dismissal came after Ozgur Gazete (Free Newspaper) published his posts, that he later removed from his social media account.
“There are photographs of the man at the head of this state taken in the presence of the pope. Isn’t it this mentality that brought terrorists into the country in Habur in 2009? Isn’t this mentality that sat behind the PKK on a negotiating table and ignored their armament? Isn’t it this mentality that went arm-in-arm with FETO for years and allowed it to be organized within this state? It is Erdogan and the AKP mentality. Nobody should make fun of the intelligence of this nation. This government, which is responsible for all these things, now demands more authority from the people. Erdogan is paving the way for a one-man rule. Will you say yes to that?” Caluda wrote.
Underlining that he is not against a presidential system, Caluda said he is against the format of the system introduced by the AKP.
“Let’s not confuse an authoritarian leader with a dictator,” he wrote.
Turkey is expanding its influence over northern Cyprus in the recent years, stretching its crackdown into the Mediterranean island.
Cyprus has been ethnically split since July 20,1974, when Turkish military intervened in response to a Greek Cypriot coup d’etat, ordered by the military junta in Greece, aiming to unify the island with Greece (ENOSİS). Internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, governed by the Greek Cypriots, controls the south of the island, and the Turkish Cypriots, the north. The administration in the northern part of Cyprus, founded in November 1983, is only recognized by Turkey.
The decision over Caluda’s removal off the duty was published in the official gazette on Wednesday.