Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar lays wreath at Australian War Memorial

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The Turkish Cypriot leader of the illegitimate “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), Ersin Tatar laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Thursday, May 23.

In a post on Facebook, Tatar said he laid the wreath “on behalf of the TRNC and paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the wars.”

Tatar arrived in Australia on Wednesday, May 22 to much fan fare from the local Turkish community. His first stop was in Melbourne, Victoria before travelling to the Australian Capital Territory to pay a visit to the Turkish Embassy and lay a wreath at the War Memorial.

He said the aim of his visit was to meet and embrace “our wonderful and resilient people who have settled here since the 1940s.”

So far, Tatar has not had any official meetings with politicians or government representatives.

Tatar’s arrival comes amid tensions with the Cypriot Australian community.

Since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus fell to the Turkish military. The north unilaterally declared its independence on 15 November 1983 under the name of the TRNC.

Tatar calls himself the “President” of the TRNC – a territory that is not recognised by any country except Turkey.

The SEKA Victoria Committee has written a letter to the State Premier, Jacinta Allen and the Victorian Minister for Environment Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Steve Dimopoulos to request they ignore the upcoming visit of Turkish-Cypriot politician, Ersin Tatar to Melbourne on Wednesday, May 22.
The SEKA Victoria Committee has written a letter to the Victorian Government requesting they ignore the visit of Turkish-Cypriot politician, Ersin Tatar to Melbourne on Wednesday, May 22.

SEKA Victoria – the Justice for Cyprus Co-ordinating Committee – sent a letter to the state Premier, Jacinta Allen on Tuesday, May 21 to request they ignore Tatar’s visit.

In the letter, President of SEKA Victoria Pavlos Andronikos said it would be “totally inappropriate for any Victorian Minister or Government official to meet with Tatar,” and explained that Greek and Cypriot Australians were distressed by his visit.

“We believe that the purpose of Tatar’s visit is to push for recognition of the illegal “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”,” Mr Andronikos said.

The letter concluded by calling on the Victorian Premier to issue a statement making it clear the state government will not engage with Tatar during their visit, and to show their support for the Federal Government’s position on the TRNC.

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