Cyprus Mail

Harmanci drops largest hint yet of Turkish Cypriot leadership bid

Mehmet Harmanci

Turkish Cypriot Nicosia mayor Mehmet Harmanci on Wednesday dropped the largest hint yet that he will run for the Turkish Cypriot leadership next year.

In a televised interview with the north’s public broadcaster BRT, Harmanci referred to his landslide victory in the Nicosia Turkish municipality (LTB)’s most recent mayoral election in December 2022 as evidence he must take his career further.

“It is not possible for a politician who received 49 per cent of the votes to stay only with the LTB. In the long run, seeing it this way is a very narrow view. One needs to evolve into other political spheres,” he said.

“I am aware of the responsibility society gave me with 49 per cent of the vote.”

He said his first priority was to fulfil his obligations regarding Nicosia, noting that for this reason, he would not immediately “take a more active role in central politics”.

“I will not let Nicosia say that Mehmet Harmanci is acting with different political motives and without fulfilling his duties.”

The next Turkish Cypriot leadership election is set to take place in October next year, with Harmanci expected to fill the space on the left of Turkish Cypriot politics vacated by Mustafa Akinci when he retired following defeat in 2020.

Ersin Tatar is expected to stand for re-election and win the endorsement of the north’s largest political party, the conservative UBP, while it is widely believed that centre-left opposition party CTP leader Tufan Erhurman will also throw his hat into the ring.

Serdar Denktash, son of late Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, confirmed in September to the Cyprus Mail that his name will also be on the ballot paper.

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