On 3 June, two young Turkish Cypriot women, after leaving the tourist resort of Ayia Napa, headed to the parking lot accompanied by two Turkish Cypriot youths they met there.
According to KISA’s communication with them, when they approached the parking area, three men unknown to them moved towards them. The two women had initially thought that they were approached for “acquaintance”. When they made it clear that they did not want to be disturbed, one of them asked them if they were Turkish Cypriots and when they replied in the affirmative the man said “we are Greeks” and started to beat them and swear at them with various insults in Greek.
They also attacked and beat one Turkish Cypriot who was with the two young women when he tried to stop them. The Turkish Cypriot, in his attempt to protect the two young women, who were already trapped by the three men who would not let them go, ran to his car to get a bat. Unfortunately, the three men not only did not stop the violence but continued to beat all three mercilessly. One woman was grabbed by the hair and after hitting her on the head they took her cell phone. When the other young woman tried to stop them saying she was filming them, they brutally beat her twice and threw her from a wall about 1.5 to 2 meters high. The woman lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to the local hospital with severe physical injury. The incident was reported to the police who proceeded to the investigation of the case.
On the part of the Turkish Cypriot community, the attacks were considered serious and were widely condemned. On the part of the Greek Cypriot community the initial statement of the President of the Republic the following day, that this was an incident not related to the ethnic origin of the people involved, nor was it deemed to be a racist attack, before the police investigation had even begun, were completely wrong:
- The President’s statement at this early stage of the investigation process constituted interference with the work of the Police
- Apart from its impact on the investigation, the statement influenced the attitude of the media and society itself in a systematic attempt to cover up the obvious nationalist and racist motive of the accused.
We are not at all surprised that the Police proceeded to register the case without identifying and bringing to justice the third person involved and, more importantly, that the two perpetrators have not even been charged with hate crimes.
It is clear that the Police, after the President’s statements, despite the fact that all the facts justified the prosecution of the perpetrators for hate crimes, it could not proceed in this direction.
The President of the Republic stated on 7 June in Paphos “that he will not add fuel to the fire of nationalism”. KISA believes that the President’s statement is moving in the right direction, but nationalism cannot be dealt with by hiding it under the carpet.
If we really want to protect our society from the scourge of nationalism and racism, we must first acknowledge the extent of the problem in our society and the Government must at last proceed with the preparation of a comprehensive action plan to deal with these phenomena, which, as is evident from many recent incidents of violence against persons of different ethnic or immigrant origin, are on the rise and pose a significant threat to the future of the country.