Greek Cypriots cannot tolerate the voice of Turkish Cypriots, Ersin Tatar said after students protested against the Turkish Cypriot leader as he was heading to a conference at King’s College London.
Turkish politicians and Turkish Cypriot ‘officials’ also condemned the “aggressive” behaviour of Greek Cypriot students.
The group, holding Greek and Cypriot flags, shouted slogans such as ‘Morphou, Varosha, Kyrenia, Karavas, are ours and not Tatar’s and called for Turkish troops to leave the island.
They booed Tatar and banged on his car as he was heading to the conference, while Turkish media reported the students attempted to attack the Turkish Cypriot leader.
Tatar was cheered on by Turkish students who attended the conference.
British police were present and no violent episodes were recorded.
During the conference, Tatar mentioned the politics in the north, highlighting how Turkish Cypriots have been in favour of peace but the Greek Cypriot side continue to isolate them.
Commenting on the protest, Tatar said that it was a showcase of the Greek Cypriot “mentality, which cannot even bear to hear the voice of Turkish Cypriots”.
He said it was “very ugly and inappropriate” and showed “there has been no change in the mentality of the Greek Cypriots”.
Among others, he expressed the belief that the university students attending the conference would understand the injustices and struggles of the Turkish Cypriot people and support them in this struggle.
During an interview with LBC radio, he said a two-state solution is realistic and crucial for Turkish Cypriots.
Meanwhile, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, who is expected to visit the north on Friday, called Tatar to wish him “well” after the incident according to Bayrak news media.
Tatar also said the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosoglu is supporting him and the ‘TRNC’.
In a post on Twitter, Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote that “the Greek Cypriots, who could not digest the growing recognition of ‘TRNC’…started to become aggressive.
“I conveyed my best wishes to President Ersin Tatar, who was attacked in London.”
Messages of support towards Tatar also came from the north as ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel said the perception that tries to prevent the Turkish Cypriot people from having their voices heard on every platform, which ignores Turkish Cypriots, does not see them as equals and does not accept that we are common owners of the island. This has been proven again in London, he added.
He condemned the aggressive, as he described them, actions, calling them “banners full of hatred and insults”.
“They should know that these ugly actions aimed at diminishing our voice will never reach their target. They will not prevent our voice and our just demands from being heard, as they did yesterday.”
The “Inappropriate and disrespectful” protest against Ersin Tatar was also slammed by ‘deputy prime minister’ and ‘minister of tourism’, Fikri Ataoglu.
“It is clear that there will be no agreement on the basis of a bicommunal federation with this mentality that does not accept Turkish Cypriots in any environment. For this reason, we will continue to walk confidently towards a two-state solution,” he said.
“Such provocative actions by the Greek Cypriots can never intimidate the Turkish Cypriot people and can never deter us from our just cause and struggle,” said ‘speaker of the house’ Zorlu Torah.
Reactions to Wednesday’s protest came after Turkish Cypriot unions protests in the north over Tatar’s “expensive” trip to the UK amidst a financial crisis.
The leadership of the ‘public’ employees and T/C teachers’ unions had gathered outside the ‘presidential palace’ building to protest Ersin Tatar’s expensive trip to London on Wednesday.
The T/C trade unionists opened a banner in front of the gate of the building depicting the well-known traveller during the Ottoman Empire period Evliya on his horse, wearing a fez and corresponding attire, and on the other side Ersin Tatar on a helicopter with the top open waving cheerfully.
The T/C unionists left at the gate of the ‘presidential palace’ a pillow and a fez on it, like the one worn by the tour guides at the time.
This aimed to criticise the cost of the trip and others taken by the Turkish Cypriot leader by comparing him with traveller Evilya.
Yeni Douzen wrote on Wednesday that in 15 months, the whole of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, Ersin Tatar has made 19 trips abroad, which he lists calendar-wise, with the vast majority being to cities in Turkey, in addition to his trip to New York in September and his visit also to London on November 5 last year.