By Constantinos Psillides
Mustafa Akinci, the dark horse of the Turkish Cypriot ‘presidential’ elections held on Sunday is no stranger to the political scene.
He was born on December 28, 1947 in Limassol and was the first elected mayor of the Nicosia Turkish Municipality at age 28. He served for an uninterrupted term of 14 years from 1976 to 1990 and forged a strong collaboration with also long-time Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades.
The two mayors worked towards implementing the Nicosia sewerage project and the capital’s Master Plan. The leftist politician served from 1987 to 2001 as the leader of the Communal Liberation Party (TKP). From 1993 to 2009 he was an elected MP in the Turkish Cypriots ‘parliament’ while he also served as ‘deputy prime minister’ and ‘minister’ of tourism between 1999 and 2001.
In 2003, during the Annan plan period, Akinci was amongst the founders of the Peace and Democracy Movement. The movement merged with the Communal Liberation Party in 2007 and formed the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) with Akinci at the helm.
A pro-solution politician, Akinci’s campaign symbol was an olive branch, which he says symbolises the peace that can be achieved between the two communities.
In an interview he gave to the Cyprus Mail last week, Akinci said that if elected he would focus on building a momentum towards a solution to the problem.
In the interview Akinci also said that he was in favour of practical solutions, arguing that it would push negotiations forward. He cited as examples common car insurance and common telephone coverage.
Lefteris Christou, spokesman for semi-govermental Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) told the Cyprus Mail that the cell phone coverage issue had been put to the table before.
“Politics was always an obstacle to reaching an agreement. Provided that both sides are willing and we can work out the details, this is doable,” he said.