A man who distributed income from municipal agricultural lands to the poor and students has become the first communist municipal mayor in Turkey.
Fatih Mehmet Macoglu won the mayorship for Tunceli province on Sunday, securing 32.7 percent of the votes and becoming the first communist mayor of a province in Turkey.
Turkish citizens voted in local elections across the country to elect their mayors and municipal council members for the next five years on Sunday, March 31.
According to preliminary results, Macoglu, the candidate for the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), has been elected as the new mayor of Tunceli municipality defeating his rivals from the CHP and HDP.
Macoglu bagged 5,887 votes, while Opposition HDP candidate Nursat Yesil received 5,169 votes, according to unofficial results.
Tunceli is located in the eastern part of Turkey, which is dominantly Alawite-Zaza-Kurdish. The population is nearly 90,000. Tunceli was the CHP’s only stronghold in the Kurdish region in modern Turkish politics. However, in the last municipal elections in 2014, the HDP won in Tunceli’s municipality, with 42 percent of votes, ahead of the CHP.
Macoglu first gained popularity when he became the first-ever communist municipal mayor of a small town, Ovacik, in eastern Turkey.
He was born in the Ovacik district on December 20, 1968, and started his career in 1989 working in the Health Ministry in the town of Bozkir, Konya. Then he moved Pertek, Tunceli, from 1992 to 2007.
He worked as a medical officer in the Tunceli State Hospital emergency department from 2007 to 2014.
After resigning from his public post for the 2014 local elections, he was elected as mayor of Tunceli’s district of Ovacik for the TKP.
Known as the ‘Kominist Baskan’, or ‘Communist President’, he planted chickpeas, beans and potatoes in municipal lands across the district, and distributed the income from the fields to low-income families and as a scholarship for students.
During his Ovacik mayorship, many volunteers across the country visited Macoglu’s bean lands for harvesting. Macoglu also collected the beans and has sold organic products from the land.
For the March 31 local elections, he once again stood for the TKP for Tunceli.
He is married and has two children.