North Cyprus’ main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) has been named the worst political party when it comes to attendance at the Parliament for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.
İskele MP Önder Sennaroğlu missed nearly half of all Parliamentary sessions between 2 April and 30 June 2018, attending just 11 out of 20 sessions. He is closely followed by his party leader Hüseyin Özgürgün, and fellow UBP members Ünal Üstel, Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu, and Kutlu Evren who each missed eight sessions during the same period.
The story about MP attendance made front page news in Kıbrıs – the TRNC’s largest daily – and was quickly picked up by other media and commentators. Using the latest figures provided by the TRNC Parliament on its own website, reporter Ergül Ernur calculated that UBP, currently North Cyprus’ largest party in Parliament with 21 MPs, has the worst Parliamentary attendance record during the three spring months. On average, UBP MPs missed a quarter of all Parliamentary sessions during this period.
Most UBP MPs were not only regularly absent from Parliament, but they failed to obtain prior permission or offer any apology for their absence. Özgürgün and Sennaroğlu (pictured above) were the worst two offenders, showing a complete disregard for their constituents and Parliament by missing a total of 8 and 9 sessions respectively, with each MP failing to offer an apology on five of these occasions.
Of the remaining five political parties currently sitting in Parliament, the TRNC’s newest political entity the People’s Party (HP) came out top with a near perfect attendance record. Eight of its nine MPs did not miss a single session of Parliament. Only HP leader Kudret Özersay, the TRNC’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, had Parliamentary absences, with all four due to official visits abroad.
Three MPs from the ruling coalition Republican Turkish Party (CTP), and one each from the other two junior coalition partners, the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) and Democrat Party (DP) also registered perfect attendance.
The names of the 13 MPs who attended all twenty sessions were: Asım Akansoy (CTP), Fazilet Özdenefe (CTP), Salahi Şahiner (CTP), Fikri Ataoğlu (DP), Ayşegül Baybars (HP), Hasan Topal (HP), Erek Çağatay (HP), Jale Refik Rogers (HP), Hasan Büyükoğlu (HP), Mesut Genç (HP), Tolga Atakan (HP), Gülşah Sanver Manavoğlu (HP), and Cemal Özyiğit (TDP).
The 19 MPs with the worst Parliamentary attendance record between 2 April and 30 June 2018, including those with an official* leave of absence, were:
- 9 absences: *Önder Sennaroğlu (UBP, 3 of 9 absences with leave)
- 8 absences: Hüseyin Özgürgün (UBP), *Kutlu Evren (UBP, 1 of 8 absences with leave), *Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu (UBP, 4 of 8 absences with leave), and *Ünal Üstel (UBP, 5 of 8 absences with leave)
- 7 absences: *Menteş Gündüz (UBP, 2 of 7 absences with leave) and *Yasemi Öztürk (UBP, 2 of 7 absences with leave)
- 6 absences: Ersan Saner (UBP), *Hüseyin Angolemli (TDP, 2 of 6 absences with leave) and *İzlem Gürçağ (UBP, 2 of 6 absences with leave)
- 5 absences: Ali Pilli (UBP)
- 4 absences: Aytaç Çaluda (UBP), Doğuş Derya (CTP), *Erhan Arıklı (Rebirth Party, YDP, 3 of 4 absences with leave), *Kudret Özersay (HP, all four absences with leave), Nazım Çavuşoğlu (UBP), Serdar Denktaş (DP), Sunat Atun (UBP), and *Zorlu Töre (UBP, 1 of 4 absences with leave).
Since January 2018, TRNC MPs receive a monthly pay cheque of 12,500 TL – currently worth £1,619. Their attendance at Parliament is only required part-time, with few MPs organising regular constituency surgeries to meet with local voters. Trade unions are among those vocal about the poor value for money Turkish Cypriot MPs offer given their limited work load, especially in the current economic climate when ordinary workers in North Cyprus have seen their earnings plunge following the depreciation of the Turkish lira.