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No: 292, 22 December 2010, Press Release Regarding the Incidents after Apoel-Pınar Karşıyaka Basketball Match in the Greek Cypriot Side

Yesterday, members of the Pınar-Karşıyaka basketball team which played against the Greek Cypriot Apoel team in the FIBA EuroChallenge Regular Season Group G, were subjected to an outrageous assault following the game in the Greek Cypriot side.

A Turkish team’s travel to the Greek Cypriot side within the scope of an international tournament is indeed an exceptional case and necessary precautions should have been taken. However, the course of events revealed that the security measures in the Greek Cypriot side were highly inadequate to prevent the attacks which resulted in the injury of the members of the team.

Developments were followed closely by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including our relevant missions abroad as well as our highest authorities. Intensive demarches were made with the UN Secretariat and the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and by the Turkish Cypriot authorities with the UNFICYP and Greek Cypriot authorities to ensure the safety as well as the secure transfer of the members of the team to Northern Cyprus. Finally, UNFICYP and Greek Cypriot police units took the necessary precautions at the premises. The Greek Cypriot officials rejected the request for the team to cross to the TRNC. Taking into consideration the team’s agreement to return to Turkey without changing their original travel itinerary, and upon the assurance that necessary security precautions would be taken for their transfer to the airport, the team members left for Turkey via Greece this morning.

We condemn in the strongest terms that a sports event has turned into such an assault which reveals the extent of fanaticism and the lack of a culture of co-habitation on the Greek Cypriot side. The emergence of yet another anti-Turkish hate incident is a cause of concern.

We emphasize our belief that the international community and the EU in particular shall make the necessary calls to the Greek Cypriot side within the framework of universal sports and cultural values. The issue will be followed up before all relevant institutions.