Can Cavusoglu, Gay Activist, Could Become Turkey's First Gay Mayor

Turkish flag against blue sky
Turkish flag against blue sky

A 43-year-old man is to become the first openly gay candidate to stand for office in Turkey, local media said Saturday.

Can Cavusoglu announced he would run for mayor as an independent candidate in Bulancak, a town of 60,000 people on the Black Sea, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The US-educated activist and Istanbul native wants to become the first gay mayor in majority-Muslim Turkey, where homosexuality is not illegal but remains frowned upon outside urban centres.

Cavusoglu describes himself as a gay activist who also campaigns for women's rights, and "a thinker, painter, writer" who hopes to attract American investment to the town if elected.

Turkey, an aspiring candidate for EU membership, has seen a significant relaxing of attitudes towards homosexuality in recent years.

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