Bicommunal organisation UniteCyprusNow on Friday condemned what they called “the lynch campaign” against Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
“We would like to remind Turkish officials that Cyprus is the common homeland of Turkish and Greek Cypriots and it is only Cypriots who should decide the fate of their own country,” the organisation said in a written statement.
Akinci has come under fire from Ankara for comment he made British newspaper, the Guardian, last week when he said the Turkish Cypriots would not accept to be a minority of the Greek Cypriots, nor a slave to rulers in Turkey, and that they wanted independence and freedom.
“Mr Akinci simply expressed the views and feelings of each and every sane Cypriot who believes in a peaceful future, when he said that any annexation of the northern part of our country to Turkey, like that of Hatay province in the late 1930s, would be a disaster,” said UniteCyprusNow.
“Unfortunately, this has triggered another lynch campaign against Mr Akıncı on the grounds that he `disrespected history’. This is a clear indication that the establishment in Turkey cannot tolerate any dissenting view or narrative, either locally and internationally.”
The organisation called the attacks against the Turkish Cypriot leader “unjustified”, not only because annexation would be a disaster for all Cypriots, but also because attacks from official quarters constitute a direct challenge to the democratic rights of the Turkish Cypriots to choose a leader who represents their views. Turkish Cypriots are due to go to the polls in April.
“As an added effort to undermine Mr Akıncı, Turkish officials, in cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot coalition parties, have announced that a conference will take place to determine the future of the fenced off district of Varosha, at a time when the campaigns for elections in the north are in full swing,” the organisation added.
UniteCyprusNow, in cooperation with the other Famagusta civil society organisations, the statement said, has stated numerous times that Varosha belongs to its lawful owners and it should be a place for cooperation not conflict. Any initiative for Varosha should respect the relevant Security Council resolutions.
“Needless to say, attempts to bypass Mr. Akinci, the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriots, on such a vital issue, means undermining the efforts to reignite talks under the auspices of the United Nations,” it said, adding that the organisation was expressing its solidarity with the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriots “and applauds his determination to stay true to the federal cause, which is the only realistic solution of the Cyprus problem”.
It calls on all peace-loving Turkish Cypriot compatriots “in the face of attacks from nationalistic circles” and invites all Greek Cypriots to “stand by our compatriots in this difficult hour”.
“Cyprus belongs to all Cypriots and it is only we who have the ultimate right and responsibility to decide the future of our country. And this future is none other than a united country for all Cypriots, when being in the European Union; we will be able to enjoy peaceful relations and cooperation with all our neighbours.”