Turkish diplomats in north Nicosia have denied allegations made by incumbent Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who recently said he had received threats and insults while on the campaign trail.
Local media said Akinci claimed recently on a television programme that Ankara was “clearly intervening in the elections” which are set to take place in the north on Sunday.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, citing Turkish Cypriot media reports, Akinci said “they did this as well, there are dignitaries who fall under the one who rules Turkey, telling me through my team that in case I withdrew my candidacy, it would be better for you and your family.”
Earlier this week, Turkish media said Akinci gave a concrete example when he claimed that some lawmakers from Turkey had called on people in Bogazi, a village on the divided island’s eastern shore, not to vote for the Turkish Cypriot leader.
'Dignitaries who fall under the one who rules Turkey told me through my team that in case I withdrew my candidacy, it would be better for you and your family'
But Ankara’s diplomatic mission in north Nicosia issued a statement denying the allegations and accusing Akinci of seeking votes, suggesting his comments were made in bad faith.
“The claims made are a reflection of adopting a re-election campaign strategy based on creating opposition to Turkey,” the statement said.
Akinci, seen by many as a dovish candidate on the Cyprus Problem, recently cried foul over one of his opponents, hawkish candidate Ersin Tatar, who appeared to take credit over a controversial move to re-open a beach strip in Varosha, an abandoned ghost town since August 1974.
A Security Council presidential statement on Friday called on Turkey to reverse course of action regarding Varosha in accordance to UN resolutions, while Ankara denied any violations and said the statement “does not reflect the reality.”
Tatar, who is among other candidates in favour of pushing forward with reopening Varosha, has said the move was not political but a “national issue” for all Turkish Cypriots.
Nearly a dozen candidates will compete on Sunday, while a runoff election could take place between the top two candidates on October 18 if a clear winner fails to emerge on October 11.
Media pundits have been unable to assess the outcome of Varosha in Sunday’s elections, with some political pundits north and south estimating that a runoff will take place between a hawkish and a dovish candidate.
Akinci has also cried foul over Ankara’s role in helping out with the pandemic crisis in the north, saying Turkish diplomats in Nicosia had “turned the office into election headquarters.”
The Turkish Cypriot leader, who has often criticized Ankara politics and policies vis a vis Cyprus, also said nothing had been done against those who launched threats and insults against him while on the campaign trail.