Cyprus conflict: scandal over an invitation

A fierce controversy has flared up in Cyprus after Suleiman Ulutsai — the elected mayor in the occupied city of Famagusta — was invited to an anti-occupation event in the neighbouring town of Deryneia. After protests from Cypriot Greek parties and other public voices, Ulutsai cancelled his participation at the event, which takes place on the anniversary of the conquest of Famagusta by the Turkish army in 1974.

Kathimerini (CY) /

Missed opportunity

The current scandal shows up basic structural problems, writes Kathimerini Cyprus:

“The decision to invite Suleiman Ulutsai, the so-called mayor of Famagusta and a Turkish Cypriot vocal about Turkish actions in Varosha, to an event condemning Turkish occupation holds significant political implications. This move, ideally, could have been a highly symbolic gesture, especially as Nicosia attempts to reignite dialogue on the Cyprus problem after six years of absence, amidst a series of fait accompli involving Famagusta. ... It is evident that the current political system is not functioning effectively. To drive meaningful change, active citizens must come together and create an unwavering agreement on how to address the Cyprus issue and reshape the political landscape accordingly.”

Giannis Ioannou
Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Spurious outrage

The Cyprus Mail says the reactions are very telling:

“The fuss and noise were unnecessary, but this rhetoric of outrage is what the hardline parties and commentators have traded in for 50 years. They have nothing to offer on the Cyprus problem except unrelenting negativity and alarmism. Everything must be given a negative spin, viewed as unacceptable, a threat, a provocation, an injustice, an attempt to harm Greek Cypriot interests. ... Even trivial matters such as the attendance of a Turkish Cypriot mayor at an anti-occupation event is seen as an opportunity for expressions of outrage and indignation. What would have been the harm of Ulucay attending Saturday’s event? None.”