TRNC Athletes Deserve Recognition

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Hatice Salih Kerimgil 12 August 04:43

An article published in the Cyprus Mail:-

WITH a banner reading ‘respect, equality, recognition’ the Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad (ATCA) yesterday marched to the UN-controlled Ledra Palace to demand that athletes in the north be allowed to compete under the ‘TRNC’ identity.

“Turkish Cypriots are demanding the right to be in the Olympic Games and to be able to compete abroad under their own identity,” ATCA co-ordinator Hatice Herimgil said.

The group also gathered at the Ledra Street crossing with around 20 athletes, including young Taekwondo, Judo and Akido students.

The group included the former ‘TRNC foreign minister’ Vedat Celik who said that denying youth participation in sports events was “unacceptable and should be condemned”.

Including people in sports’ events would be a “foundation for solution” and “would help lift [Turkish Cypriot] isolation”, Celik said.

Because the ‘TRNC’ lacks international recognition its request to send athletes to the Olympic Games was denied.“Sports and politics shouldn’t mix. Turkish Cypriots should be allowed to compete,” ATCA’s Kerem Hassan said.

Supporting their cause was 18-year-old Jordan Duckett, one of the seven young people who got to light the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony in London.

Carrying his torch, which he was allowed to keep, and wearing the black and gold jumper he wore on the night of the ceremony, Duckett, who works as a young ambassador promoting sports among the young, said that “sports shouldn’t have anything to do with politics”.

Duckett and his family visit the north every year and his mother was watching the Olympic ceremony from Cyprus when she realised that her son was part of the top secret plan. “She was crying,” he said.

When he joined his family, ATCA asked him if he would join their protest and he said yes immediately, Herimgil said.

The protesters marched towards UN presence at the Ledra Palace and delivered a letter of protest to an UNFICYP representative.

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