By Jean Christou
Ozdil Nami was forced to have a lecture he was giving at the London School of Economics (LSE) on Tuesday night moved to a secure venue after threats were issued online when leaflets for the event referred to him as the Turkish Cypriot foreign minister.
James Ker-Lindsay, Senior Research Fellow at LSE who chaired the meeting told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday the lecture had to be moved and restricted to LSE staff and students, and Nami’s title changed on the literature before the event could go ahead.
“He had been listed as the TRNC foreign minister, which didn’t go down well,” said Ker-Lindsay. This was followed by what were deemed by LSE security as credible threats and the possibility of protests.
Ker-Lindsay said a decision was taken on Tuesday afternoon to move the lecture from a less secure venue within the main building to an area that needed swipe cards to access, which only students and staff possessed.
This meant, he said that ordinary Greek and Turkish Cypriots in London could not attend and were disappointed as they wanted to hear what Nami had to say. “Both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots had to be turned away. It was regrettable,” said Ker-Lindsay. “A few protesters turned up but were not let in.”
In his talk, Nami spoke about recent developments on the Cyprus issue, the stalled negotiations and the Turkish navigational telex (NAVTEX) that had prompted the Greek Cypriot side to withdraw from the talks last October.
Ker-Lindsay said there were a handful of Greek Cypriot LSE students who did attend the lecture and that Nami had responded well to their questions. The literature was also amended to title Nami as a ‘representative of the Turkish community’ to respect the British government’s stance of non-recognition of the ‘TRNC’ but by then the security concerns had already been raised.
Ker-Lindsay said some people at the lecture asked Nami how he felt about the furore over his title but “he was not fussed”. “Ozdil took it very well and accepted it had to happen,” said Ker-Lindsay.