Issued by ILPS Europe
January 22, 2020
Today, January 22, marks the second anniversary of the “Afrika newspaper attacks” in Cyprus instigated by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2018. January 22, 2018 is often called the darkest day for Cypriots since the 1974 occupation of Cyprus, an event again organized by the Turkish State against the Cypriots.
The northern parts of the European island country Cyprus were occupied by Turkey in 1974, after the US-backed Greek junta staged a coup against the President of the country. Cyprus was a young republic which got its independence from the British rule in 1960 after a national liberation struggle, and elected the Greek-speaking Cypriot Archbishop Makarios as President and the Turkish-speaking Cypriot Dr. Fazıl Küçük as Vice President of the country. President Makarios was one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movements well as the person who represented Cyprus in the Bandung Conference while Cyprus was still under the British colonialism. Because of their strong anti-imperialist sentiments and struggle against the foreign interventions, Cypriots became a target of the Anglo-American “divide and rule” policy.
Since the 1974 Turkish occupation, the majority of the Greek-speaking Cypriots live in the southern free areas of the Republic of Cyprus while the majority of the Turkish-speaking Cypriots live under the oppression and terror of the Turkish State in the northern occupied areas of the island. Along with the social, cultural and economic oppression, Turkey also continues its illegal settlement policies in the island, just like the situation that is happening in the neighboring Palestine by Israel. Because of the continuity of the current situation and the “bi-communal, bi-zonal” separatist-segregationist federation talks going under the UN, auspices today Cyprus is the unsinkable aircraft carrier of NATO, serving armies of the United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece.
Afrika newspaper, along with the associated ILPS member organization Union of Cypriots, are the major fronts for Cypriots who are fighting against the Turkish regime, a fact that also made them the regime’s target many times. The last one that took the world’s attention happened two years ago, after Afrika newspaper condemned the Turkish operation in Afrin, Syria under the headline: “one more occupation from Turkey”, referring to the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. On the same day, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the illegal Turkish settlers from Turkey, who live in the occupied areas of the island, to “respond” to Afrika. As a result, the following day, on 22 January 2018, hundreds of illegal Turkish settlers attacked the headquarters of the newspaper with weapons while holding Turkish flags.
The event took the attention of the world media along with major international, intergovernmental organizations. Also, this lynch-mob led to massive support for the Afrika newspaper from all over the world and a counter-demonstration organized with the participation of thousands of people who stood against Turkey’s occupation in the island.
As we mark the anniversary of this dark day, and with what is happening in Cyprus for almost half a century, we are reminded that imperialism does not distinguish, continent religion or skin color when it comes to its hegemonic agenda. Cyprus is a country that is part of the European Union, yet it witnesses western aggression because of Cypriots’ history of siding with the peoples’ struggles of the world.
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle-Europe will continue supporting the people of Cyprus with their righteous struggle against the Turkish State and its fascist minions. We will continue standing with the Cypriots who fight for a unitary Cypriot state against any separatist and segregationist solution formulated by imperialists for the island. And we will continue reminding to the international community that the independence of Cyprus is one of the major keys of the liberation of West Asia and North Africa from imperialism.##