Hundreds of students took to the streets across Cyprus on Wednesday, brandishing Cypriot flags and chanting slogans, as celebrations to mark 40 years since the north unilaterally declared the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)’ began on Tuesday.
Coordinated by the Pancyprian Student Coordinating Committee (Psem), anti-occupation events unfolded in all major cities.
The central theme of one of the demonstrations, encapsulated by the slogan “Cyprus – Free – Reunited Homeland – one people,” resonated as students voiced their collective condemnation of the ‘TRNC’.
In Nicosia, the anti-occupation march, characterised by a substantial turnout, began from the wholesale market in Kaimakli and concluded at the Mia Milia checkpoint.
Elsewhere in old Nicosia, student members of far-right party Elam also marched in central Nicosia towards the Ledra checkpoint with placards and Greek flags.
A statement released by Elam said the party “will never compromise with the occupation and the Islamisation of our homeland”.
“Forty years after, while our efforts should have been focused on isolating and dismantling the secessionist regime of the occupied territories, unfortunately, misguided policies, such as the acceptance of the bizonal and bicommunal federation, lead to the gradual upgrading of the pseudo-state internationally,” the statement said.
Meanwhile at the Mia Milia checkpoint, the president of Psem George Mousis delivered a speech, underlining the forty years that have elapsed since the illegal declaration of the TRNC.
Mousis also highlighted the complicity of the military establishment in Turkey, adding that the celebrations in the north “strengthens the ongoing toxic narrative and exacerbates the existing division”.
Drawing attention to Resolution 541 of the United Nations Security Council, he said that it serves as a shield protecting the legitimacy and existence of the Republic of Cyprus.
“The events of 1974 continue to afflict the Cypriot people as a whole,” Mousis said. “The dead, the missing, the refugees will not be vindicated as long as the occupation persists.
“As Psem, we continue the struggle for the resolution of the Cyprus issue, based on international law and UN resolutions.”
In his speech, he also took a dig at the events currently unfolding in Pyla, where construction works are currently halted and the situation is being monitored by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp).
“The long period of deadlock and a negotiation vacuum had its side effects. New illegal facts emerged, burdensome to the prospects of achieving a solution, caused by Turkey both in Pyla and in Varosha, with the opening of a part of the enclosed city, and in the Cypriot EEZ,” he said, adding that the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community is in the hands of Ersin Tatar, who supports division and the two-state solution.
“We promise that we will fight until the final justice for Cyprus, until the liberation and reunification of our land and people, to overturn Turkey’s divisive plans and those who indirectly or directly promote division,” Mousis said.