“No picnic over others’ pain” — Turkish Cypriots protest Erdoğan’s planned trip to Cyprus

14 Nov

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is scheduled to make an official visit to Turkish occupied northern Cyprus tomorrow. He has announced that he will “picnic” in the city of Famagusta/Amochostos/Αμμόχωστος, which has remained a unoccupied no man’s zone between Greeks and Turks since the 1974 invasion. Turkey has refrained from settling Turks from Anatolia in this part of Cyprus and it has — since the invasion — been seen as a sort of potential bargaining chip between the island’s two communities. Erdoğan’s visit is a clear symbolic statement that that will no longer be the case.

The protest is a sign of hope (though yes, the second video below contains a lot of Turkish gloating). It’s also an indication of the moderately nationalist and genuinely secular and modern identity of Turkish Cypriots. It was a real mistake on Greek Cypriots’ part to harass them as they did in the 50s and 60s, alienating and painting them into a corner.

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