Hard-rock diplomacy in N Cyprus as Anastasiades invited to Deep Purple gig
Zeynep GÜRCANLI NICOSIA / Hürriyet
The group will take the stage at the Near East University on May 24 within the scope of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the university.Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu has invited his Greek Cypriot counterpart to the concert of the legendary British rock band Deep Purple, which is scheduled for next month in the northern part of the divided capital.
Eroğlu told daily Hürriyet that he made the proposal to Nicos Anastasiades during recent negotiations, but had not received an answer. The president said he is renewing the invitation for the concert. The group will take the stage at the Near East University on May 24 within the scope of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the university.
The group’s front man Ian Gillan has recently issued a statement defending the band’s decision to perform in Turkish Cyprus amid criticism from Greek Cypriots. Gillan said the group was not taking any sides and that Deep Purple had performed in many troubled regions in their touring history. “We have never been on one side or the other when it comes to performing music. I remember, during the Cold War, hearing about visits to London by the Bolshoi Ballet and the top football teams from Moscow, also the Cossack dancers, and many other cultural exchanges between the West and the Soviet Union. The diplomatic and cultural side was always open for art, entertainment and sport, no matter how frightening and confrontational all the rest of it was,” Gillan said.
Apart from the concert invitation, Eroğlu said his side aims at a referendum in three months to solve the dispute. “But Anastasiades thinks there will not be a solution before 2015,” Eroğlu said. The leaders re-launched peace talks in February after a two-year hiatus.