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Greece quits Turkey children’s games over N.Cyprus April 26, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, Kibris, KKTC, Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Greece quits Turkey children's games over N.Cyprus
Turkey celebrates the April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day with world’s children on Saturday. April 23, 2011.
Children from 90 countries including the United States, China, Azerbaijan and Armenia, are competing in 13 branches in the games, opened on Sunday to mark the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

Greece withdrew on Monday from the world children’s games taking place in Ankara, Turkey, showing participation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as a reason.

Ankara’s Mayor Melih Gokcek said the Greek team withdrew from the games on the first day of the First World Children’s Games organized by the Municipality and Directorate General of Youth & Sports.

“It is not possible to accept such an ill-minded and saddening behavior that makes children a tool of politics,” Gokcek said.

Gokcek said the organizers had rejected Greece’s demand to exclude TRNC from the games, and defined Greece’s behavior as a stroke on world peace and friendship.

Children from 90 countries including the United States, China, Azerbaijan and Armenia, are competing in 13 branches in the games, opened on Sunday to mark the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

Turkish Cypriots seek redress for property in European court July 26, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, KKTC.
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A group of Turkish Cypriots have applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for the return of property that they were forced to abandon during attacks against the island’s Turkish population by Greek Cypriots in the 1960s.

In their application to the top European court, 21 Turkish Cypriots said that the Greek Cypriot authorities have not responded to their requests to reclaim their property, the Turkish Cypriot news agency TAK reported on Saturday. They said in their appeal to the ECtHR that they seek the return of their property, abandoned in December 1963, and full compensation for 47 years of lack of access to their assets.

For decades, thousands of Greek Cypriots have applied to the European court demanding compensation for the property they left behind in the Turkish part of the island during a Turkish military intervention on the island to protect the Turkish Cypriots from Greek Cypriot attacks in 1974. The court ruled earlier this year that the applicants should seek redress at a property commission created in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), angering Greek Cypriots.

The applicants, all from the once-mixed village of Matya, said they had to leave their homes after a Greek Cypriot attack targeting the village’s Turks. They have been unable to return to their homes. Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders, holding talks on reunification of the island, are now trying to tackle the property issue, the most complicated aspect of the Cyprus dispute.

Lopez faces lawsuit seeking damages after canceling KKTC gig July 26, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, KKTC, Turkey.
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Jennifer Lopez is facing a hefty lawsuit seeking compensation for pulling out of a contract in which she agreed to stage a concert to promote a newly built $220 million hotel in Turkish Cyprus. She backed out of the deal after a storm of angry protests from Greek Cypriots.

The hotel’s CEO, Murat Bozoğlu, announced on Saturday that the hotel plans to seek compensation, claiming that Lopez’s withdrawal is politically motivated and that the resort had suffered damage as a result of her decision, which, he said, was a violation of a contract the Latino star signed with the hotel. Bozoğlu did not say how much the organizers would ask for, but media reports speculated on Sunday that it could be as high as $100 million.

Reports that Lopez would perform at a luxury hotel in Turkish Cyprus on her 41st birthday later this month triggered an online campaign by Greek Cypriots that pushed for the event’s cancellation. Following weeks of controversy, Lopez announced she had canceled her planned participation. “Jennifer Lopez would never knowingly support any state, country, institution or regime that was associated with any form of human rights abuse,” a statement on the singer’s website said last week.

Accompanied by his lawyers at a news conference in İstanbul, Bozoğlu said: “We signed a 16-page professional agreement with Lopez, and we specified all the conditions one by one under which she could cancel her participation. Lopez’s pretexts don’t fit any of these reasons. This being the case, we have the right to seek compensation for damages from her,” Bozoğlu said.

Saying that Lopez had severely damaged the image of the hotel, Bozoğlu added that they will fully exhaust their options using the best lawyers from New York to protect their rights. The hotel director also said his company will send an official notice to the singer in the hope that Lopez will reconsider her decision. “If we don’t get an answer, we will start the legal proceedings,” Bozoğlu said.

Jennifer Lopez criticised over Cyprus gig July 21, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, KKTC.
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Greek Cypriots angry at invitation to attend the inauguration of a hotel in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus

Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Lopez – Greek Cypriots want her to cancel planned gig in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty ImagesSinger Jennifer Lopez may have given it little thought when she accepted a seemingly innocuous invitation to celebrate her 41st birthday in northern Cyprus.

The deal: a sun-soaked stay en famille at a $220m destination described as the “single biggest hotel project both sides of the island” in exchange for a one-off performance to celebrate its opening.

But on the Island of Love, where memories of war are never far removed, the star appears to have walked into a political minefield. Instead of eliciting hot anticipation, the visit has ignited the sort of controversy that no celebrity needs.

Cyprus was invaded in 1974 by Turkish troops in response to an attempted coup by the Greek junta in Athens, and has been divided between Greeks in the south and Turks in the north ever since. It remains one of the world’s most intractable disputes, where almost every action is seen through a political lens.

A web campaign led by indignant Greek Cypriots to convince Lopez to change her mind has attracted thousands of signatories angry that she should even consider performing in territory that is not officially recognised by the United Nations.

“It is with dismay and shock that the people of Cyprus and especially the Greek Cypriot women in the Republic of Cyprus and elsewhere in the world heard the news that you intend to attend the inauguration of a hotel in the occupied by Turkey [sic] part of our native country,” says a letter that forms the basis of the campaign.

The missive, carried on the Cyprus Action Network of America, argues that nearly four decades after the island was “barbarically invaded” it would be morally unconscionable for the artist to visit.

To add insult to injury, campaigners say the hotel in Kyrenia will open on 20 July, exactly 36 years since Turkish paratroopers were dropped onto the island’s central plain.

“The Turks go to a great length to secure support from people like you in order to promote their political ambitions and objectives. Does your charitable work and status permit you to give credibility to Turkish rapists, thieves, invaders, occupiers of our stolen properties,” the letter asks.

Despite the furore, the five-star Cratos Premium insists the event will go ahead, promising a “very special birthday party … full of surprises for Jennifer Lopez”.

But opposition is mounting. An estimated 7,000 people have signed up to a Facebook campaign – and it shows no sign of letting up.

Witty Christofias July 12, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Egypt, KKTC.
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It appears that the limits of bargaining skills of Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias were as much underestimated as his trustworthiness was exaggerated during the Annan Plan period.

“I am disappointed… I was fooled,” said then European Union’s Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verhaugen as well as many other clever European politicians seeing that over 75 percent of Greek Cypriots voted to kill the UN peace plan, or the Annan Plan. Whereas, they were sure of the pro-settlement commitment of the Greek Cypriot people and were so confident of the strong political will of Christofias – the most important political force behind the then Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos. A Greek Cypriot “Yes” vote in the referendum was certain, while the Turkish Cypriots needed to be convinced to support “settlement now, EU accession tomorrow.” In any case, the EU membership aspirations of the pro-settlement Greek Cypriot people should not be allowed to be held hostage to the intransigence of the Turkish Cypriot side and “with or without a settlement the island must be admitted into the EU.”

Verhaugen and other European bureaucrats and politicians were “fooled” at the time by many Greek Cypriots, particularly by Christofias. Up until a week before the April 24, 2004 vote on the Annan Plan Christofias was supportive of the compromise deal, but all of a sudden he came up with “In order to deliver a strong yes a while later, we have decided to say no.” Such a grandiose U-turn by witty Christofias made many people feel “we were fooled.” That the “a while later” Christofias referred to never came and the Annan Plan since then has been considered by the Greek Cypriot side as “dead and buried” but somehow still alive with the limits it provided to the Turkish Cypriot demands.

Christofias is now proposing Eroğlu that Turkish Cypriots should agree to hand over sufficient territory to resettle 100,000 of the total 165,000 Greek Cypriots who migrated from north to south in 1974. That is not only Güzelyurt or Morphou and some areas in the Famagusta area, but also almost the entire Karpas Peninsula, the former Nicosia International Airport region including the Trikomo village as well as tens of villages along the border from east to west is demanded to be given to Greek Cypriots. Plus, tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots should be allowed to return and live in the remaining Turkish Cypriot areas. More? Northern Cyprus has a population of around 265,000. Of these 265,000 citizens, around 100,000 are mainland settlers. Christofias is now saying that he would accept a maximum of 50,000 of those settlers and for the rest he is prepared to “pay and send back to Turkey.”

How can Christofias see the right in himself to ask Turkish Cypriots to go further in such painful areas despite the fact that even the Annan Plan ceilings were too high to accept but just for the sake of a settlement Turkish Cypriots felt obliged to accept to demonstrate their pro-settlement resolve. With such odd demands, of course, these talks cannot go anywhere but to failure.

Indecent offer

During a recent encounter in Brussels with Turkish minister in charge of EU affairs, Egemen Bağış Christofias disclosed that he made an important and generous offer to Turkey. According to the offer if Turkey agreed to return the Varosha suburb of Famagusta to the Greek Cypriot side his administration would agree to opening of accession talks in some of the chapters his government has been holding hostage. Christofias is of course a very clever salesman. He would not sell everything in one go. He would not lift the Greek Cypriot veto on the entire set of chapters it has been holding hostage. He has stressed that “The Cyprus issue will always be a handicap in Turkey’s EU process” as long as the Cyprus problem was not resolved. According to Christofias Turkey will take a step and Christofias will lift the veto on one or more chapter. In a while Turkey will do something else and Christofias will generously lift some other sanctions.

Give and take is the essence of diplomacy, but poor Christofias is so witty that he is unaware of the fact that Turkey can neither compromise from Cyprus, nor from its EU bid and many wise persons in Turkey and in Europe are aware that it is in the best interest of both Turkey and the EU not to force Ankara to make a choice between the Cyprus issue and Turkey’s EU membership.