Turkish Cypriot PM slams ‘enosis day’ celebrations law
NICOSIA – Anadolu AgencyTurkish Cypriot Prime Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün on Feb. 12 slammed the Greek Cypriot parliament’s recent decision to introduce the 1950 “Enosis day” celebrations in schools as part of the curricula.
The Greek Cypriot parliament on Feb. 10 voted to introduce in public schools the yearly commemorations of the 1950 referendum, when 96 percent of Greek Cypriots voted for the island to be annexed to Greece.
Özgürgün said in a written statement that the move was “the most severe blow” on the ongoing negotiations over the reunification of the island, and “the clearest evidence of the Greek side’s desire to own the whole island.”
“There can be no other explanation for the parliament’s approval of a proposal made by three deputies who take every opportunity to display their animosity toward Turks, and they are a racist minority in that parliament,” he said.
The premier added that if the negotiations were to continue without this decision being annulled, it would not only be a waste of time, but also “disrespect to all parties who contribute positively to the process.”
The issue of the reunification of Cyprus remains unsolved despite a series of ongoing discussions which resumed in May 2015.
The main goal is to find a political solution as the sides seek to reunify the island under a bi-communal and bi-zonal federal system after more than 40 years of division.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 unification attempt by the Greek Cypriots with Greece, which was followed by Turkey’s intervention in the island as a guarantor power.
Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. were assigned as the three guarantors of Cyprus after it gained independence from the U.K. in 1960.
Özgürgün’s statement came a day after Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı criticized the Greek Cypriot law and called the move a “serious blow” to ongoing peace talks aimed at reunifying the island.
Akıncı called on Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to publicly denounce the law. He also urged the two biggest Greek Cypriot political parties - the right-wing DISY and communist AKEL, which backed the reunification efforts - to rescind it in parliament.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said the law sends “a very dangerous message” to Greek Cypriot youths and raises feelings of insecurity among Turkish Cypriots.
The law was proposed by the far-right ELAM party, while AKEL voted against it and DISY abstained.