Turkish Cypriot Nicosia Mayor Mehmet Harmanci said on Friday that a fight which broke out in the old town’s popular Zahra Street on Thursday night was a “mafia exercise”.

A brawl broke out between two large groups of men during the evening, with eyewitnesses saying the street “turned into a warzone”.

“What happened last night on Zahra Street was not just a simple fight, but power exercises carried out by mafia groups, as happens in every area of the country,” Harmaci said.

He added that the fight was the result of “the efforts of the same people who have been involved in crime many times before to do such things for their own benefit.”

Speaking about Zahra Street, he said “it was not easy to create places like this, and we will not let them go easily.”

He went on to say that his municipality will cooperate with all the relevant authorities to tackle the issue and also take its own measures.

Addressing the mafia groups himself, he said “the point to which you have brought this country is chaos in every domain. We are not part of your order; we created what we created with our fingernails.”

We will not waste the success of the old town on you,” he said.

Zahra Street is located in Nicosia’s old town, atop the western side of the city walls. In recent years, it has become a hub of social spaces, cafes, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues.