Mersin mayoral candidate who missed İYİ Party deadline nominated from DP
Burhanettin Kocamaz, who was running for the southern province of Mersin’s metropolitan municipality on İYİ (Good) Party’s ticket, has been registered as a Democrat Party (DP) candidate after Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) did not ratify his mayoral candidacy because İYİ Party’s provincial branch submitted his nomination after the 5 p.m. deadline on Feb. 19.
DP Mersin provincial head Turan Kadızade announced on Feb. 21 the nomination of Kocamaz after convincing the party’s previous candidate Pınar İvenç to withdraw.
Kocamaz has been the mayor of Mersin Metropolitan Municipality since 2014. On Nov. 20, 2018, he announced his resignation from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). A few weeks later, he declared his transfer to İYİ Party, a party set up by former MHP lawmakers and members after growing disagreements with the MHP leader.
Kocamaz failed to stand as a candidate from İYİ Party after the provincial administration in Mersin missed the candidacy submission deadline on Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. of the YSK, prompting the party’s headquarters to dismiss those likely to be responsible.
“İYİ Party, which has been encountering many difficulties and tricks, is going through another hoop today. The candidate lists, determined after months of work, have been submitted to the provincial electoral boards. But the candidacy document of Mr. Burhanettin Kocamaz, our candidate for Mersin Metropolitan Municipality, was not accepted by the election board on grounds that it was submitted after 5 p.m.,” said İYİ Party in a written statement on Feb. 19.
“This is neither negligence nor irresponsibility. This is an operation from within against İYİ Party. The provincial head has been removed from duty. It is our duty to find out the reasons behind this and those responsible,” the statement stressed.
The party’s statement also stressed that Kocamaz was a candidate likely to win a “landslide victory” in Mersin.
Meanwhile, Kocamaz also called the incident a case of “betrayal” and “an inside job.” “We were struck from within the party while we were well ahead in the elections. No matter what anyone says, we have not given up. We will surely find a way and will not hand Mersin over to some circles,” Kocamaz said on his Twitter account on Feb. 19.
“The walls put up as obstacles on our party’s way are exemplary to see the situation of politics in Turkey. We know very well how and why this operation was done. Doing the necessary things against those playing tricks on our party is our duty to our sacred nation,” İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener said on Feb. 20 at a party meeting.