Comedian seeks a future in politics .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - A prominent Turkish comedian, who has criticized many of the country’s problems in shows on the national television channel over the last 20 years, has become a mayoral candidate.

Levent Kırca’s show "Olacak O Kadar" has become known for its depiction of problems in Turkey. In one episode, the water cuts when Kırca is having a shower so he calls the Istanbul Municipality Waterworks, or İSKİ, with soap in his hair. The İSKİ official tells him to wait and it will come back on some time and just ignores the person.

After criticizing local administrations, government and corrupt citizens, not only in television programs but also in theater for over 40 years, Kırca, 59, is now entering politics. Kırca is the mayoral candidate from the Democratic Social Party, or DSP, in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district. He said he has always felt close to Üsküdar and its residents. His election pledges mainly cover art, culture, education and health issues.

"I will turn Üsküdar into Hollywood. Üsküdar will be a center for art and culture. A municipality theater, concert center, conservatory and many studios for movies will be built in Üsküdar," Kırca told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. As an actor, he said he could reflect his sense of art and aesthetics into the neighborhood.

Kırca has many other project plans for Üsküdar. Opening courses for women so they can learn a profession, redesigning Üsküdar into a disabled-friendly environment, bringing aesthetics, art and wisdom into the governance of the district, building a special stop for taxi drivers and taking care of elderly people are on his long list of projects. It is the first time that Kırca has entered the active political arena, but with his criticism on television and in theater he has always been a part of politics as an opponent.

He said he had accepted DSP leader Zeki Sezer’s offer immediately, firstly, to serve the people to change things in the right way and secondly, because the DSP is Bülent Ecevit’s party, who died as the party’s leader and was known for his honesty.

He is confident he will be elected, "If I am not elected, Üsküdar will lose, not me. I do not need money, fame, or anything else, I already have them. But, I am a chance for Üsküdar to make itself a better place."

His campaign slogan is "Üsküdar will smile with me." Kırca said he would not pay money for flags or posters in his campaign but would be on the streets talking to people before and after the election.

"Advertisements on the streets belong to the Istanbul Greater Municipality, or İBB, and they will not allow us to hire them," said Kırca.

Being a popular artist, comedian and opponent will be an advantage for Kırca as his name is already familiar, however, it holds some disadvantages too. "As an artist Levent Kırca is an irreplaceable person, but as a mayor, people demand more than art," said Mahmut Övür, a columnist from daily Sabah.