Respected human rights group Embargoed! is holding a ‘Secret Chalk Walk Protest’ in central London on Saturday afternoon, 15 July, to draw attention to the plight of Turkish Cypriots and their internationally isolated homeland of North Cyprus.
Posting on social media, Embargoed!’s new chairperson Azize Solman described the peaceful creative action as an “unforgettable and intimate protest experience.”
She said the protest will use “powerful symbols, art, and messages” to call for the recognition of Turkish Cypriot rights and a “brighter future”.
Embargoed! is keeping the meeting point for the action secret. Those wanting to join the Secret Chalk Walk Protest are asked to send a direct message to Embargoed! via its social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter).
Supporters that can’t attend in person on Saturday can still participate in the action by sending Embargoed! their messages to be chalked onto the streets of the British capital.
A parallel action will be held outside the Greek Embassy in London on the same day as the chalk walk, as part of Embargoed!’s ‘Reclaiming Truth’ campaign to address misinformation and propaganda about the Cyprus conflict.
The protest will coincide with the 49th anniversary of the Athens-backed coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974. Greece’s presence on the island has continued ever since, resulting in the Hellenisation of the Republic of Cyprus and the ongoing denial of Turkish Cypriot rights and sovereignty.
Today, everywhere in South Cyprus flies the flag of Greece, the Cypriot Army (also known as the National Guard of Cyprus) is headed by a Greek – Lieutenant General Demokritos Zervakis from Crete – the Cypriot national anthem is the same as that of Greece, and the official language of the country is Greek, all of which breach the 1960 international Treaties and the country’s constitution that established the Republic of Cyprus, which was meant to be a common homeland to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
These facts, along with the truth about the Cyprus Conflict, including what led to Turkiye’s legitimate intervention in 1974, are constantly suppressed by Greece and Greek Cypriots, prompting Embargoed!’s timely protest.
The two protest actions on 15 July follow hot on the heels of Embargoed!’s presence at the mega Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival in Enfield on 2 July, where the group had a stall in the large civic society tent, while a younger member, student Ceyda Konuralp, held a symbolic 1-person protest.
Ceyda stood blindfolded at the festival holding a big sign that read, “If you feel our voice is not heard, HUG ME” followed by the hashtags “#Embargoed! #JusticeforNorthernCyprus”. Dozens of festival goers of all ages came up to Ceyda and gave her a hug, with this simple but effective demonstration shared on social media too.
These creative actions by Embargoed! mark a return to grassroots campaigning that were the hallmark of the group, helping to draw global attention to the unjust situation in Cyprus with memorable stunts such as ‘Go Slow Convoy’, ‘Balls to Embargoes’ and ‘Gagged in Brussels’.
The volunteer-managed group has a new committee – Chair Azize Solman, Treasurer Taskin Ismet and Secretary Nejla Clements – who were elected at the end of April following the resignation of long-standing chair Fahri Zihni and his team.
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Embargoed! was formed in London in 2004 in the wake of the failed Annan Plan, which aimed to unite the island ahead of Cyprus’ entry into the European Union. Despite the positive vote of Turkish Cypriots in favour of the UN-backed unification plan and the pledges of world leaders to end their isolated status, people living in the north of the island are denied the same rights and opportunities as those in the south.
More information is available on their website, www.embargoed.org.
Action 1: Embargoed! Secret Chalk Walk Protest
Date: Saturday 15 July 2023
Start Time: 2pm
Location: London – undisclosed location. Contact Embargoed! for details
Action 2: Reclaiming Truth: Commemorating 49 Years of Lies
Date: Saturday 15 July 2023
Location: outside the Greek Embassy, 1A Holland Park, London W11 3TP