Letters, Kemal Baykallı’s advice to the new Greek Cypriot leader “undermines Turkish Cypriot equality”

Dear T-VINE,

I was dismayed to read your recent article about the advice Turkish Cypriot activist Kemal Baykallı gives to the newly elected leader in South Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides (Unite Cyprus Now co-founder Kemal Baykallı offers some words of advice for new Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Christodoulides, 1 Mar. 2023).

The advice Baykallı offers undermines Turkish Cypriot equality, whilst also glossing over the original injustices we have faced under the Greek Cypriot Administration since 1964.

Instead of pressing for the full constitutional rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus, Baykallı seems ready to accept palliative solutions, which do not address the underlying causes and problems.

He advocates that Mr Christodoulides should create a translation bureau within his government to help “Turkish speaking citizens” with their paperwork in the South.

Yet Turkish is an official language of the Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots have an inherent right to use their native language across all official organs of the state, so why isn’t Baykallı pressing Christodoulides to adhere to this fundamental constitutional language requirement across all South Cyprus government departments?

In a roundabout way, Baykallı is advocating minority rights for Turkish Cypriots, which is totally unacceptable.

People who truly believe that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are equal, including those campaigning for a reunited Cyprus, should be more careful about what they advocate.

Kind regards,

Ersu Ekrem

Former Chair of the British Turkish Cypriot Association (BTCA), London


Main image, top, L-R: Nikos Christodoulides and Kemal Baykallı, both photos via Twitter.