We strongly condemn the attack on a group of our youths on 18 February 2024 during their trip to the Troodos region of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (GCA).

Our youths, who were on their way back to our country following a trip to the Troodos region, stopped at the Platania picnic area on their way, where they were attacked by a group of Greek Cypriots with bats and stones wrapped in Greek flags. This unacceptable incident has shown the heights to which unabated and increasing racism, animosity and hate speech towards Turks has reached in the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus. The sole reason behind the continuation of such incidents which have also taken place in the past, is the inadequacy and ineffectiveness of the Greek Cypriot administration in bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.

The seeds of hatred which, for years, have been sown into young minds at the expense of poisoning them by the political leadership, church and schools in the Greek Cypriot side, have manifested itself today in the form of increasing physical violence.

Greek Cypriot Ministry of Education announced a “poster competition regarding the Turkish occupation” for the 2023-2024 academic year. Moreover, so-called literature competitions are also being organized by the Greek Cypriot side at the secondary school level where poetry readings themed a baby whose arm has been allegedly “cut off by the Turkish army” is portrayed as a “source of inspiration” for the students. These initiatives are intentional and aim at keeping anti-Turkish sentiments and animosity alive among the Greek Cypriot people.

Racist and hateful content in the school books taught at the Greek Cypriot schools continue to poison young minds every day and only serve to instill a hegemonic mentality in the new generations rather than to build a peaceful and tranquil future for the island.

It is not surprising that according to a study of 31 European countries conducted by the University of Cyprus Centre for Field Studies in Southern Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot administration ranked among the top 10 most xenophobic countries.

We invite the Greek Cypriot administration to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this unacceptable incident in the shortest possible time and also stress that we will closely follow developments in this regard so that this attack does not go unpunished.