Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in a written statement has slammed members of the “racist and fascist Elam for burning a ‘TRNC’ flag during demonstrations on Friday to mark the 34th anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence of the breakaway state in the north.
The nationalist party responded that they would never bow to the conqueror, while the Turkish foreign ministry also issued a statement later in the day condemning the fact that the incident was not condemned by anyone on the Greek Cypriot side so far.
“The fact that no investigation has been called shows that they formally support this incident,” the Turkish foreign ministry statement said.
“We believe that this is the responsibility of the Greek Cypriot administration as well as the Greek authorities, who make statements that incite hatred against the Turkish Cypriots”, the statement added.
Akinci in his statement said the burning of the flag was “one more mistake by this organisation” which, he said “does not tolerate and instead disrespects the Turkish Cypriots and their symbols”.
“Elam is not limited to hate speech but carried out acts of hate, which serves politically-fuelled hostility,” he added.
“It is alarming that so far no lessons have been learned from such acts of hatred and violence that have filled Cyprus’ past with pain. Our island’s need is not to fill the minds and hearts of young people with hatred. Hatred is a heavy burden for both Cyprus and humanity. The right thing is not to increase hatred, but to get rid of this burden as soon as possible,” he said.
Referring to the incident some months ago where a Greek Cypriot pupil stole a Turkish flag from the elementary school in Lysi during an event in the north, Akinci said the family’s apology was the correct course of action and should be an example.
He also said the Turkish Cypriot side expects “the right voices will speak out against the wrong behaviour of Elam fascists in Greek Cypriot society”.
“In Cyprus, where respect for common values and symbols of societies are necessary, there should be no room for hate speech or hate actions,” Akinci added.
Turkish Cypriot foreign minister Kudret Ozersay said he had discussed the matter with the police and the ‘attorney-General in the north, who he said would identify those involved in consultation with the UN, “and take the necessary steps”.
“Those who do not respect the flag, the symbols and values of those who are different from them have not been taught by culture,” he said.
Elam responded on Sunday in a written statement criticising Akinci and Ozersay.
“The National People’s Front 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 honour, the fact that we are the only problem of the conquerors! At the same time, we send a clear message to every Mustafa and to every Ozersay that on this earth there are still Greeks who resist and do not worship the conquerors. There are still those who will never become “liked”, nor the “good children”, because they learned to be proud… the Elamites will never respect any flag of the occupation, nor any symbol of the conqueror!”