Some trade unions and non-governmental organizations in Northern Cyprus gathered in front of the Turkish Embassy on Monday (7 February) to protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Reason for the demonstration was Erdoğan's saying "It is significant that the ones who are nourished by our country move into this direction" subsequent to another demonstration on 28 January. On Monday, PM Erdoğan met the second President of Northern Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat, in Ankara.
The Trade Union Platform, established by unions in Northern Cyprus, protested Erdoğan's reaction by gathering in front of the Embassy at Nicosia. Regarding the animosity in Northern Cyprus against Turkey, the PM had said, "Who do you think you are? It is significant that the ones who are nourished by our country move into this direction".
"Don't hide behind the referendum"
The unionists wanted to submit a letter to the Ambassador in Nicosia, Kaya Türkmen, to be forwarded to PM Erdoğan but they were stopped by the police. The Embassy said that the letter would have to be sent by mail. The union members criticized the embassy's approach: "As if we came to invade or loot the embassy or to carry out a terrorist action. This attitude is unacceptable".
The letter read, "Once more we remind the ones who are trying to usurp the political will of Turkish Cypriots that every people has the right to a free and independent life in the geographical region they live and the right to govern themselves. You should stop hiding behind the "Yes" voted by the Turkish Cypriots in the referendum in 2004".
The Greek part of Cyprus in the south of the island accessed the European Union (EU) in 2004. Turkish Cypriots supported the plan to join the EU as a single United Cyprus Republic in a referendum on 24 April 2004 but the Greek Cypriots rejected the plan.
Meeting between Erdoğan and Talat
İzzet İzcan, Secretary General of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), said, "We will hold Prime Minister Erdoğan responsible for any violence and oppression imposed to any of the participants of the demonstration on 28 January".
The President of Northern Cyprus, Derviş Eroğlu, met represenatives of political parties that are represented in the parliament on Sunday (6 February). The Parliament of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) furhtermore held an extraordinary session on Monday morning. The agenda was not announced.
The meeting between Erdoğan and Talat at the headoffice of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara lasted one hour and 45 minutes. It was announced that the politicians discussed the banners posted at the demonstration on 28 January.
What did Erdoğan say?
The demonstrators on 28 January posted banners featuring slogans like "Have we been rescued? To hell with it!", "We do not want money, a package or civil servants from Ankara", "Ayşe ran out of money and stole some on holiday" and "Ayşe, go home, we'll pay the fare".
Başbakan Erdoğan criticized the slogans, "The provocative actions in Northern Cyprus are being done together with the South. They tell us 'Get out of here'. They are insensitive towards their government. They do not have the right to carry out such a protest action against Turkey. They say 'Turkey, get out of here'. Who do you think you are! I have dead soldiers and veterans, I have a strategic interest. Whatever Greece has to do with Cyprus, Turkey has the same business with Cyprus in a strategic aspect. I look and see that he wants an appointment with me. I will call him and talk to him, we will ask him about this".
While some parties in the opposition in Cyprus criticized Erdoğan, he was supported by Eroğlu as the President of Northern Cyprus, İrsen Küçük, the Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus and Rauf Denktaş, founder and first President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cypus. (AS/EÖ/VK)