Turkish Cypriots show their appreciation after Dutch MP Liane den Haan visits the TRNC

Turkish Cypriots have taken to social media to thank a Dutch Member of Parliament who visited the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus recently.

Liane den Haan, a newly elected independent politician, tweeted a photo of herself with the TRNC Tourism Minister Fikri Ataoğlu on 12 August. She added the message, “Today I had an informal meeting with the minister of Tourism of North Cyprus. An interesting meeting, we talked about the tourism on North Cyprus and how hard it is during the Covid pandemic. #KKTC #curbs

The tweet drew the ire of Greek Cypriots, including the Greek Cypriot Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides, who slammed the Dutch politician, calling her a “disgrace”.

“Informally speaking, you are a disgrace for the institution you represent, it’s formal policy, and the European values. You stand for ethnic cleansing and occupation”, Petrides tweeted.

Dozens of other angry Greek Cypriots also tried to censure den Haan, many mixed with racist abuse about Turks. Turkish Cypriots quickly fired back.

Queen B tweeted: “Liane den Haan, we hope you had a fruitful visit to North Cyprus. I’m sorry you had to endure the angry mob of South Cyprus as a result but they set a good example of the human rights and racist abuses Turkish Cypriots face everyday.”

Kenan Yaman wrote, “Liane den Haan is a brave Dutch MP. We need such MP’s from the UK to visit the TRNC, especially from the UK, a so called guarantor State, who ought to be treating the Turks of Cyprus as equals to the Greeks of Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot activist Sonya Karafistan tweeted: “Liane den Haan you are a true humanitarian. No people deserve to be persecuted & dehumanised in the way the British FCDO Gov UK [and UK European Neighbourhood Minister] Wendy Morton have CHOSEN to treat the long Embargoed and victimised people of #NorthCyprus.  Thank you. Yolun açık olsun”.

Young Turkish Cypriots tweeted their appreciated, and also created a special post thanking the Dutch MP on their Instagram page, while urging their followers to do the same on Twitter following the online abuse the politician had received from Greek Cypriots.

“Thank you Liane den Haan for visiting our homeland of North Cyprus! We hope you had a constructive meeting with our tourist minister alongside visiting many of our amazing sites

“We also urge all our readers to say thank you to Liane den Haan on twitter. Unexpectedly, she is receiving a lot of online abuse from the Greek Cypriot community.”


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Barbaros Şansal backs Petrides against the TRNC

One Turk who controversial sided with the Greek Cypriots against den Haan was Barbaros Şansal. The designer and political activist chimed in with “Shame on her”, in response to Finance Minister Petrides’ tweet, as well as retweeting the minister’s comments.

Şansal has regularly taken anti-TRNC positions following his unlawful deportation by the Turkish Cypriot authorities to Turkey in 2019, where he was lynched on arrival at the airport. It followed news of him posting a highly critical and sarcastic video about the Turkish government on YouTube.

The designer was held on remand for two months, and was eventually convicted by a court in Istanbul of “insulting the Turkish nation” with a suspended six months prison sentence. He has since relocated to South Cyprus with his partner Yıldırım Mayruk.

A prolific social media user, Şansal publicly supports Greek Cypriot organisations and individuals who promote anti-Turkey views and the international isolation of Turkish Cypriots and North Cyprus. The 64-year-old has taken part in several campaigns for the Federation of (Greek) Cypriots. The hardline UK-based group is notorious for its racist depictions of Turkey and North Cyprus, and leads on maintaining the embargoes against the TRNC.

Last year, the Federation’s youth wing Nepomak was shamed by The Times newspaper for using a picture of a Turkish Cypriot widower, Nevcihan Oluşum, for its anti-Turkey propaganda.