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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.

GYİAD head: KKTC waiting for more Turkish investment July 12, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus.
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The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) is in serious need of investment and has lucrative opportunities for investors, Young Executives and Businessmen’s Association (GYİAD) Chairwoman Pınar Eczacıbaşı has said, calling on Turkish businessmen to expand their operations to the island.

The KKTC has significant investment potential and will become a focus for investors in the medium and long-term, Eczacıbaşı said in an interview with the Anka news agency on Sunday. Members of GYİAD recently paid a visit to the KKTC, where they held talks with government officials, including President Derviş Eroğlu. “The KKTC expects a great deal of investment from Turkish businessmen. They also go to great lengths to attract investors to the country,” Eczacıbaşı said. GYİAD is planning a second and third visit to the KKTC and is arranging meetings in Turkey with the participation of KKTC officials, Eczacıbaşı said, adding they are determined to improve the KKTC’s ties with business circles in Turkey.

She cited the services sector as the main investable field in the KKTC, because the country has made great progress in education and attracts students from a number of countries. Tourism and casino investments also appear to have a profitable future, Eczacıbaşı stated, adding that these sectors are poised to grow, with demand from Greek Cyprus also on the rise.

With the country’s foreign trade developing, investors should also consider taking on transportation, port construction and aviation projects, she pointed out. Eczacıbaşı recalled that in their meeting with Turkish Cypriot Finance Minister Ersin Tatar, Tatar invited Turkish businessmen to build shopping malls in the KKTC as shopping mall construction in Turkey has reached the saturation point.

J. Lo cancels KKTC gig under Greek Cypriot pressure July 11, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, KKTC.
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Jennifer Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony. Jennifer Lopez and her husband, Marc Anthony.

Latin pop star Jennifer Lopez has canceled a planned performance in northern Cyprus after whipping up a storm of angry protests from thousands of Greek Cypriots.

Lopez’s gig at a luxury hotel had triggered protests among Greeks, who accused her of according legitimacy to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), which does not have international recognition and has been barred from interaction with rest of the world for decades. The Greek Cypriots hailed Lopez’s turnabout as “a victory” while the Turkish Cypriots called it the success of a Greek Cypriot campaign to keep them isolated.

Reports that Lopez would perform at a luxury hotel in the north on her 41st birthday later this month triggered a Greek Cypriot online campaign pushing for the event’s cancellation. The campaign paid off after Lopez announced her withdrawal with a snub to Turkey. “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 her website said.

The official statement said after a full review of the relevant circumstances in the ethnically split island, it was the decision of the Latina star’s advisors to cancel the appearance. “This was a team decision that reflects our sensitivity to the political realities of the region,” it said.

Lopez was reportedly to be paid $3 million by organizers for her one-off performance. Lopez, her husband singer Marc Anthony and their twin children were due to stay at the swanky newly built $220 million Cratos Premium Hotel in KKTC. She was slated to perform there on July 24.

Murat Bozoğlu, a director of the hotel, had earlier said that the Premium Gala night would be broadcast live to 193 countries in the world by Fashion TV and that this significant tourism event was not only important for the promotion of Turkish Cyprus but also for the whole island.

Organizers of the event had this week acknowledged Lopez’s publicists were getting thousands of letters of protest, but that the show would go on. A Facebook site against the concert attracted almost 20,000 members within a week.

Cyprus was split after a Turkish intervention that followed a Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military junta ruling Greece in 1974. The internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government, which runs the southern part of Cyprus, accuses Turkey of holding Greek Cypriot land under occupation.

Turkish Cypriots in the north, on the other hand, accuse the Greek Cypriots of persistently blocking efforts to lift their international isolation even after they voted for a plan to reunite the island in 2004, a plan rejected by the Greek Cypriots.