Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar lands in Melbourne despite tensions

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The Turkish Cypriot leader of the illegitimate “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), Ersin Tatar landed in Melbourne, Victoria on Wednesday, May 22 to much fan fare from the local Turkish community.

In a post on Facebook, Tatar said he has come to Australia to meet and embrace “our wonderful and resilient people who have settled here since the 1940s.”

“Cyprus, our homeland, and our state, the TRNC, are in all our hearts and will continue to exist. This is our passion, and together, wherever we are, we are ‘one heart’… in Cyprus, Turkey, England, or Australia,” Tatar wrote in the post.

Tatar’s arrival comes amid tensions with Victoria’s local Cypriot 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 that they ignore the visit of Ersin Tatar.

In response, 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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