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Hulusi Kilim “Reconciliation thrives when there is mutual trust”

Hulusi Kilim, Secretary General of Volt, says that the establishment of the party revived the hopes of Turkish Cypriots.

He states that problems such as Mixed Marriages will concern the party.

He also believes that the unresolved Cyprus problem affects the future of Turkish Cypriot youth.
Specifically, he states that “for the Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus issue means not being able to build a life on the island, not being able to have a job and not being able to see a future. The status quo works completely against the Turkish Cypriots and endangers their social existence.”

About the bi-communal character of Volt, we talk with Hulusi Kilim, Secretary General of Volt Cyprus, in an interview he gave to Voice International.

Question: Volt declares itself the first bi-communal party in the Cypriot political scene. What is the Party’s relationship with the Turkish Cypriot community? Is there a response?

Hulusi: Volt is the first political party in the history of Cyprus in which Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots participated together during its founding. Over the years, we have gone beyond conventional politics and created a platform for members from all communities in Cyprus to produce policies together at the political level.

We have received very positive reactions and encouraging comments from Turkish Cypriots since the day of establishment. In addition, many people who said they wanted to actively participate in the party contacted us and we generally received requests from many Turkish Cypriots to join the party as members.

Many have told us that such a step should have been taken a long time ago and that since we took such a step, their hopes, which were already extinguished, have been revived. These are very positive signs that encourage us and show that we are taking the right step in the first place.

Our request to all who have contacted us so far is to come forward and contribute to this effort with their views and comments about the party. Because on this path we will only be able to do the right thing by getting everyone’s opinions, that is, opening the way for people to get directly involved in politics.

Question: You recently posted that you met with the Movement for Resolution of Mixed Marriage Problems. What are the intentions of the Party to solve problems that mainly concern the Turkish community?
Hulusi: As a bi-communal party, we will include the problems faced by the Turkish Cypriots in our policies, raise awareness of these problems at the political level and offer proposals for their solutions. We will express at every opportunity that the Republic of Cyprus is a bi-communal state and that we must internalize the bi-communal character of Cyprus in order to create a united Cyprus.
Today, Turkish Cypriots face multidimensional problems that affect every aspect of their lives and pose a huge social threat. The problem of the citizenship of children born from mixed marriages is one of them and its origin lies in the Cyprus issue. These people experience great injustice and suffering because they cannot acquire Cypriot citizenship, which comes from one of their parents and is their constitutional right. It is unacceptable that they are deprived of such a fundamental constitutional right. This problem is tearing families apart, disrupting equality between citizens and fueling people’s anxieties about the future.
There is a great injustice.

We believe that it is possible to solve this particular problem at the political level by following a benevolent approach. We believe that the relevant authorities should act decisively, in consultation with all parties involved, and resolve this issue as soon as possible and put an end to the grievances people are experiencing. At this point, Volt is ready to contribute as much as it can with both suggestions and consultations.

Question: Are you planning bi-communal events for the future and what reapproachment initiatives can we expect?
Hulusi: We support bi-communal activities and any initiative that contributes to rapprochement, and in this area Volt will be just as active as all other NGOs and political parties that aim to bring Cypriots closer together and reunify Cyprus.
Reconciliation thrives when there is mutual trust. Trust is achieved in an environment of healthy communication, interaction and honesty. That is why we will press for the conditions to overcome the political obstacles that make the approach difficult. We will put proposals to parliament, ask questions to government, and propose to leaderships to consider unilateral or mutual confidence-building measures aimed at increasing cross-community communication and people-to-people interaction.
Initiatives that strengthen relations between two communities that have lived parallel lives for many years increase the prospect of a solution and make a possible solution permanent. The Volt will certainly support these initiatives and compete both on the road and on the table.

Question: We are experiencing the biggest negotiation gap since 2017 and the wreck for negotiations in Crans Montana. How does the status quo affect the participation and interest of Turkish youth in society and politics?
Hulusi: The fact that the Cyprus issue remains unresolved is one of the sources of great despair felt by the Turkish Cypriot community in general. The lack of any hope for a solution and the lack of efforts at the political level in this direction bring the future perspective especially of young people to a pessimistic point. Research conducted by Civic Space in March 2023 shows that 57.3% of participants aged 18-30 are inclined to leave the island. This rate shows us the seriousness of the situation. Let alone dealing with politics or issues related to everyday life, young people are thinking of leaving the island. This means disaster not only for the Turkish Cypriots, but also for the Greek Cypriots.
Furthermore, the lack of any prospect for a solution to the Cyprus problem prevents our young people who are currently outside the island from returning to Cyprus. For the Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus issue means not being able to build a life on the island, not being able to have a job and not being able to see a future. The status quo works completely against the Turkish Cypriots and endangers their social existence.
The average age of Volt management is 36. We are a young team. We speak the same language as our own generation, the people who are the future of this country, and we reflect that in our policies. We hope that the youth will heed Volt’s appeals, participate and contribute to our efforts so as to improve public opinion on the country’s politics. Those who played a role in creating problems in the past cannot solve them. That task belongs to the youth.

Kallis Antounas-Voice International 2023

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