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Turkish American Solidarity with Turkish Cypriots
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1759 days ago | Thursday, 24th July , 2008 , 21:04 [pm] | Azerbaijan
|.|| From early morning, over 45 Turkish Americans braved an Aegean-like sun and 100 degrees to gather in front of the Turkish Embassy and show solidarity with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Turkish Cypriot Independence Day.
Organized by the Assembly
From early morning, over 45 Turkish Americans braved an Aegean-like sun and 100 degrees to gather in front of the Turkish Embassy and show solidarity with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Turkish Cypriot Independence Day.
Organized by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), with the leadership of President-Elect and local attorney Gunay Evinch and coordinated by Georgetown University Fulbright graduate Sonay Kanber, nine local Turkish American groups participated in a tremendous show of Turkish American unity and solidarity.
About 30 Greek demonstrators, supposedly members of the newly formed, Greek ultranationalist Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA), strolled in at around 2pm, as Metropolitan Police sent them to the other side of the street. The Greek demonstrators replicated decades-old allegations and hatred. Screaming for the removal of Turkish and UNFICYP peacekeepers (there since 1963), CANA was quick to forget the ethnic cleansing and genocide that occurred against Turkish Cypriots between 1960 and 1974.
What was clearly abundant at the CANA demonstration was the anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim and, surprisingly, anti-immigrant slurs of Greek demonstrators. Turkish Americans responded, “No Enosis – No Racism!”
Turkish Americans were the first to come, and last to leave, saluting the Turkish Cypriots for their sheer determination, strength, infatigueability, and independence with cheers, dance and song.
Remembering the Victims
We acutely remember that in the 1960s, Cypriot Minister of the Interior Polykarpos Yorgadjis conducted rallies in support of the extermination of Turkish Cypriots, declaring, “There is no place in Cyprus for anyone who is not Greek, who does not think Greek, and who does not constantly feel Greek.” Yorgadjis created the “Akritas Plan” to achieve enosis (joining of Greece and Cyprus) by stripping Turkish Cypriots of all their rights, hamleting them, and then killing them. Finally, in 1963, then-Cypriot president Archbishop Makarios III unilaterally declared the constitution “dead and buried”.
UN peacekeepers, as in the case of Bosnia in the 1990s, were utterly ineffective, and in 1974 the Turkish Republic was forced to intervene under the London-Zurich Accords to stop the ethnic killings and topple the Greek Junta.
Since the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, Turkish Cypriots have endorsed the 1992 UN Set of Ideas, 1994 UN Confidence Building Measures, and the 2004 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Comprehensive Settlement Plan. The Turkish Cypriots voted in favor of the Annan Plan by 70%, while the Greeks voted against it by 80%. Still, the EU accepted a divided island, while the Turkish Cypriots continue to face alienation and embargos. Efforts to ease the isolation of Northern Cyprus have been lead by Turkey and the United States.
In closing remarks, ATAA President-Elect Evinch thanked the Turkish American participants and stated:”Today, while we celebrate the self-determination of Turkish Cypriots, we also honor the victims of Enosis. Throughout northern Cyprus there are mass graves of Turkish Cypriots massacred between 1960-1974. There is a memorial at every mass grave. The memorials bare the names and ages of the victims. They are mostly senior citizens, mothers and children. The truth shall always prevail in the end.”ataa, Voice of a Nation