TURKISH Cypriot publisher and writer Sener Levent will stand as a candidate for Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in the May euro elections, he said.
It will be the first time a Turkish Cypriot has stood for MEP since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004.
Last week, the government approved legislation that makes it easier for Turkish Cypriots to vote in European Parliament (EP) elections by registering those eligible on the electoral roll automatically.
The bill provides that all Cypriot citizens who are eligible to vote, including those living in the north with Republic identity cards, will be automatically registered on the electoral roll and will not have to apply. Some 80,000 Turkish Cypriots are believed to hold Republic of Cyprus identity cards.
Cyprus is entitled to six MEPs. Theoretically, Turkish Cypriots could elect two representatives, if they all turned out to vote in the May 26 ballot.
Turkish Cypriot political parties, except the New Cyprus Party (YKP), have argued that the Cyprus government’s decision was taken “only for the show”.
They say both sides should determine their EP representatives in separate elections
But writing his daily column in Afrika yesterday, Levent said he did not agree with this stance, especially coming from some of the “biggest supporters of peace” on the island.
“I believe that these elections are a great opportunity for cooperation and solidarity between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots,” he said. “I am a candidate because I want to see how much we have managed to overcome the wall of nationalism here. We will be saved on this island only when a Turk defends the rights of the Greeks and a Greek defends the rights of the Turks.”