Turkish Cyprus condemns burning of its flag in Greek Cyprus
Turkish Cypriot authorities and Turkey's Foreign Ministry have condemned the burning of its national flag by Greek Cypriot students who protested the establishment of Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15.
Demonstrations were organized by the National Popular Front (ELAM), Greek Cyprus’ ultranationalist party, at the Ledra border crossing in Nicosia.
During the demonstrations, the flag of Turkish Cyprus was set on fire, with the students hurling the slogan, “Greek blood flowing in Cyprus, we will not give the Turks a centimeter.”
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı condemned the burning of the Turkish Cypriot flag on Nov. 16.
“Another mistake has been added to the often-repeated mistakes of this organization, which does not tolerate and respect Cyprus’ equal partner Turkish Cypriots and their symbols. It is clear that ELAM, which transcends hate speech and acts as an act of hate, serves the hostility that it feeds politically,” Akıncı said.
“It is worrying that there have still been no lessons learned from such hate and violent actions that have filled Cyprus’ past with pain,” he noted.
“Our island does not need to fill the minds of young people with hate. Hate is a heavy burden for both Cyprus and humanity,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kudret Özersay, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Turkish Cyprus, stated that he had met with the Turkish Cypriot law enforcement and judicial authorities regarding the flag-burning incident.
“Those who do not respect the flag and similar symbols and values of those who are different from them are those who have not received their share of civilization,” Özersay said.
Turkey: Greek side provoking hatred
Turkey's Foreign Ministry also condemned the burning of the Turkish Cyprus flag in a statement released on Nov. 17.
"The fact that the Greek Cypriots have neither made any statement condemning this act of hatred nor have investigated the perpetrators, demonstrates that this act has official support behind," said the ministry in a statement.
"We believe that the Greek Cypriot Administration, as well as the Greek authorities, with their statements provoking hatred towards the Turkish Cypriots, have a responsibility in this incident," said the ministry in a statement," it added.
ELAM also responded on Nov. 17 in a written statement threatening Mustafa Akıncı and Kudret Özersay.
“The National People’s Front [ELAM] is once again in the crosshairs of the occupying authorities, proving for the umpteenth time, beyond doubt, that on this island the only problem is Turkey,” the party said.
“We reiterate that for us it is a medal and a title of honor, the fact that we are the only problem of the conquerors! At the same time, we send a clear message to every Mustafa [referring to President Akıncı] and to every Özersay [referring to Kudret Özersay] that on this earth there are still Greeks who resist and do not worship the conquerors.”
ELAM was founded in 2008 by the ultranationalist Golden Dawn Party of Greece.
According to recent polls, the party has the support of 3 percent of the popular vote in Greek Cyprus. The party has failed to send MEPs in the recent EU elections.
ELAM defends the Athens-inspired coup of 1974 that sought to unite the island with Greece and that triggered Turkey’s partial intervention of North Cyprus.