A candidate for Sunday’s General Elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has received support from a number of high profile football celebrities. Football agent Tekin Birinci, who is standing for TDP (Toplumcu Demokrasi Partisi / Communal Democracy Party), has been sent good luck messages from the likes of former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams, his fellow Arsenal and England teammate Sol Campbell, Joan Laporta, the former chairman of Barcelona FC , and former Trabzonspor and Ajax star striker Shota Arveladze.
Over a dozen famous faces from Europe, Africa and Central Asia have recorded short video clips wishing Birinci well in his campaign to become a Parliamentarian in his native North Cyprus. The FIFA-registered agent, whose clients include young Turkish Cypriot talent Ahmet Sivri who recently signed a professional contract with Galatasaray, is hoping to be elected as an MP for the capital city Lefkoşa on Sunday, 7 January 2018.
Tekin’s election campaign received a welcome boost as a host of renowned football stars publicly backed him to become an MP for North Cyprus. Many have commented on how the young entrepreneur has already helped raise the profile of the country.
One of the first to respond was former Arsenal centre-back Tony Adams, MBE, who as captain led the Gunners to four Premier League/First Division titles and many other honours during his illustrious 22-year career at the North London club. The legendary player told Tekin:
Tony Adams to Tekin Birinci: “I can’t think of a better person to be elected in northern Cyprus”
“I hear that you’re running for election in northern Cyprus. I wanna wish you the very best of luck. Politics is not my game, although I did captain England and Arsenal for a good long while, and I suppose dealing with people and getting the best out of people is what I tried to do. I wish you the very much the best of luck in your political career. I can’t think of a better person there is out there to be elected in northern Cyprus!”
Former Barcelona FC chairman turned politician Joan Laporta said Tekin was “a serious man, really committed in everything you are doing”. Laporta, who is currently an MP in the Catalan Parliament, called Tekin “my friend” and ended by wishing him well in the elections.
Central defender Sol Campbell, who threw his hat into the ring for the 2016 London Mayoral elections, but wasn’t selected by the Conservative party, said in his clip to Tekin: “I know you’re going for elections in Northern Cyprus. We believe in you. Stay true. I know you can bring everyone together…You believe in the people and the people will believe in you…You’ve got what it takes. Do it!”
Another good luck message came from Shota Arveladze. The Georgian international is one of the best loved foreign players to have played in Turkey. He spoke in both Turkish and English in his video clip:“Tekin, merhaba kardeşim [hello brother]…I heard you’re running in [the] elections in Cyprus. I wish you the best luck.”
Former Leicester City and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey had this to say: “I know you’re going for elections in Northern Cyprus. I want to wish you good luck! …I hope you unite the whole of the north of Cyprus.”
Another former Arsenal star to lend his support to Tekin Birinci’s political aspirations was Kanu. The ex-Nigerian international said, “Best of luck my friend…You’re the kind of people we’re looking for. Go for it! You will get it!”
Çolak: I believe that in the TRNC, in football and sport you will do many things to help their recognition around the world”
Notable football figures from Turkey to back Tekin’s campaign were Yılmaz Vural, Bülent Uygun and Tanju Çolak. Çolak, a former goal king for Galatasaray and winner of the European Golden Boot (the only player from Turkey to do so) has previously stood in Parliamentary elections in Turkey. In his good will message, he told Tekin:
“I truly believe you will be successful. I wish you the best of luck. I believe that in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, in football and sport you will do many things to help their recognition around the world.”
TRNC 2018 General Election
Fifty seats are up for grabs in Sunday’s Parliamentary Elections in the TRNC, which is being contested by eight parties. Polling booths will be open from 8am to 6pm, with the results expected on the same night.