Mustafa Akıncı, Turkish Cypriot leader, who is running for a second term for presidency, said in a TV interview today that he has been threatened for being a candidate, by an authority who is affiliated with Turkey’s leadership.
Akıncı said that they conveyed their message through his own executive assistant and told him that it will be best both for him and his family, if he withdrew his candidacy.
Akıncı on other occasions had commented that he “has never seen so much intervention by Turkey” throughout his 45 years in politics.
Critics have expressed concerns over Turkey’s interference into Turkish Cyprus politics in advance of the October 11 presidential election.
On 6 October the Turkish Cypriot government collapsed following a press briefing in Ankara, at which Minister Ersin Tatar (also a presidential candidate) announced that they will be reopening the Varosha. The press briefing announcing the reopening of the tourist resort which has been sealed off for decades was announced alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Akıncı commented that he was not informed in anyway about the decision to reopen the Varosha and said that “it is a mistake that will put the Turkish Cypriot people in a difficult situation on the international stage.”
Turkey’s leaders see Mustafa Akıncı, who is supporting a federal solution to the Cyprus problem, as an enemy due to his criticism of Ankara’s policies including Turkey’s interventions in Syria.
This is not the first time that presidential candidates have felt threatened in Cyprus. Previously in 2000 Rauf Denktaş and Dervis Eroglu were competing in the presidential elections. However Eroğlu withdrawal in the second round, allowing Denktaş became president. Eroğlu later revealed that the Turkish National Intelligence (MIT) agents were following him.