Some 5,000 students who have graduated from high schools in Austria have come to northern Cyprus for their traditional graduation holiday X-JAM at the end of a three-month battle with Greek Cyprus, daily Hürriyet reported today.
Greek Cyprus allegedly began to impose an embargo in order to prevent the students from spending the holiday in Turkish Cyprus, after Turkish officials were challenged over their holding of X-JAM three months ago. Stories about Turkish Cyprus were reportedly broadcast by Greek
Cyprus on Austria's top broadcasters, saying "Turkish Cyprus is an occupied zone," and "There are landmines on the coast and thousands of Turkish soldiers with heavy weapons are threatening civilians and foreigners."
Nevertheless, the students have still come to Turkish Cyprus as a result of the efforts of Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış, the EU Commission and the Austrian government to counter the Greek Cypriot campaign, according to Hürriyet.
"If I had not been in Turkish Cyprus last year, I would definetely have given up. However, we could clearly see that this propaganda was slander," Austrian official Dr. Alex Knechtsberger said.
The first group of 2,500 students are in Turkish Cyprus now, and the rest of the group is set to arrive next week, according to reports.