Government Committed To Reunification - FM
The government is committed to solving the Cyprus problem and reunifying the country and calls on Turkey to show the same constructive attitude, said Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou in the wake of the APOEL fans attack on a Turkish basketball team in Nicosia.
Kyprianou condemned the "unacceptable events" and said that the Cyprus police were able to offer full protection to the visiting team.
Commenting on Turkey's criticism of the Cyprus authorities and decision to pursue the matter at the EU level, Kyprianou said that "Cypriot teams were subjected to similar behaviour in matches in Turkey, but the Cypriot government has never tried to attach any political connotation to such incidents."
"The persistent efforts of the Turkish Government give such unfortunate events political connotations are unacceptable and reprehensible," said Kyprianou.
On December 21st, around 500 APOEL fans mobbed a locker room where Turkish Pinar Karşıyaka players were sheltering after a FIBA game between the two teams at the Tassos Papadopoulos stadium in Nicosia.
Three 15-year-old boys who were arrested in connection with the violence have since been released, and police are continuing their investigations into the events. Hooliganism has become more and more prevalent in recent years, with violent incidents following many games, particularly in football. Police say that many of the attacks are carefully planned ahead of time and coordinated by ringleaders who take molotov cocktails and stones in the trunks of their cars to the games.
FIBA fined the team 40,000 euros and the incident was slammed by Turkish-Cypriot spokesman Hüseyin Özgürgün who released a statement calling the hooliganism 'racist' and indicative of 'Greek-Cypriot fanaticism', and urging FIBA to take action. Turkish-Cypriot teacher trade union KTOS also condemned the hooliganism, saying it was 'shameful for all Cypriots.'
President Demetris Christofias condemned the violence as the behaviour of 'mindless hooligans'.