Activists belonging to Solidarity reunification group in the north, were removed by security on Thursday after they unfurled a banner against the celebration of the Turkish invasion during a reception organised by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
“There can be no celebration of pain. Face your past,” the banner said. The members of the group also wanted to read a news release but they were removed by security.
It took place while Akinci was greeting people attending a reception to mark the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion, which the Turkish side claims was an intervention.
According to their statement, every July 20, in the name of the celebration of peace and freedom, Turkish Cypriots were bombarded with posters, tanks, flags, and numerous chauvinistic slogans and speeches.
The communities living on the island suffered a lot during those dark years before and after 1974, but no one admitted to the crimes that took place against both. Nor were the culprits punished, they said.
“An indifference prevailed about the pain and experiences of the people. Not only there was no confrontation with the past, but the two sides embarked on the blame game, resulting in the domination of nationalism across the island.”
“And those who have imposed on us July 20 as a celebration of peace and freedom are part of that game. This day, which is a day of pain and sorrow for Greek Cypriots with whom we share this island, is presented to us as a day of celebration.”
Building peace will start the day the two sides understand each other and show respect to each other’s pain, and “not at negotiating tables with stale methods and closed-door rooms.”