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UK Lord Joins Cyprus Discussion By US-Based Turkish Influence Organization

October 27th, 2020 13:34

The Turk­ish Her­itage Orga­ni­za­tion (THO), a US-based orga­ni­za­tion with ties to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Erdoğan, recent­ly host­ed a webi­nar pan­el about Cyprus fea­tur­ing a British mem­ber of the House of Lords. Accord­ing to the descrip­tion of the event:

Octo­ber 12, 2020 On Fri­day, the Turk­ish Her­itage Orga­ni­za­tion host­ed a webi­nar pan­el fea­tur­ing a dis­cus­sion on “Build­ing a Peace­ful Future in Cyprus.” This webi­nar fea­tured a dis­cus­sion on a his­tor­i­cal back­ground and oppor­tu­ni­ties for coop­er­a­tion with the per­spec­tive of the upcom­ing Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in North­ern Cyprus. The pan­elists fea­tured Lord North­brook, House of Lords, UK Par­lia­ment, Unit­ed King­dom, mem­ber of the Par­lia­men­tary Group Friends of the Turk­ish Repub­lic of North­ern Cyprus; Mr. Ergun Olgun, For­mer Under­sec­re­tary of the Pres­i­den­cy, For­mer Chief Nego­tia­tor, North­ern Cyprus; Prof. Her­bert Regin­bo­gin, Fel­low at The Catholic Uni­ver­si­ty of Amer­i­ca & THO Advi­so­ry Board Mem­ber, Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca; and Prof. Dr. Ahmet Sözen, Chair­man, Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence and Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions, East­ern Mediter­ranean Uni­ver­si­ty, North­ern Cyprus.

Read the rest here.

The THO mod­er­a­tor asked Lord North­brook var­i­ous ques­tions about the UK’s posi­tion con­cern­ing Cyprus, includ­ing the island’s divi­sion, the UK’s mil­i­tary bases in Cyprus, and the upcom­ing elec­tions in the Turk­ish Repub­lic of North­ern Cyprus (TRNC). The THO mod­er­a­tor addi­tion­al­ly not­ed that the UK has been “qui­et on the Cyprus issue.” It would seem that the THO is try­ing to both under­stand the UK posi­tion on Cyprus as well as advo­cate for the Turkish/TRNC posi­tion on the island.

Giv­en the occu­pa­tion­al back­ground of the oth­ers on the pan­el, the THO is also like­ly attempt­ing to influ­ence Lord North­brook con­cern­ing Cyprus issues. With the UK leav­ing the EU, the TRNC has an oppor­tu­ni­ty to have bet­ter rela­tions with the UK, and the TRNC deputy prime min­is­ter and min­is­ter of for­eign affairs have spo­ken direct­ly to this point. Lord North­brook is a good can­di­date for such influ­ence as he has spo­ken out about North­ern Cyprus’s iso­la­tion and for the shar­ing of hydro­car­bon resources between the two sides of the island in the Lord’s Chamber.

The US-based Turk­ish Her­itage Orga­ni­za­tion (THO) describes itself as a non­par­ti­san, non­prof­it 501(c)(3) orga­ni­za­tion deal­ing with US-Turkey rela­tions and Turkey’s role in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty, among oth­ers. Its cur­rent pres­i­dent Ali Cinar has writ­ten many arti­cles or op-eds for state-oper­at­ed and pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­pers. His name appeared in a warn­ing from a Turkey expert at the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress think tank to Hilary Clinton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign man­ag­er about the “Erdo­gan crew” invest­ing in Demo­c­ra­t­ic politi­cians. Its pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent and oth­er THO lead­ers report­ed to Erdoğan’s son-in-law and oth­er Turk­ish offi­cials about the THO’s lob­by­ing efforts.