Deputy for the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Armağan Candan, has called for the lifting of sports embargoes on Turkish Cypriots.
Candan was addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). He said that Turkish Cypriot athletes are barred from competing in international sporting activities because unjust embargoes are imposed on them.
The CTP representative, who was attending PACE with Hamza Ersan Saner – deputy for the National Unity Party (UBP), said that subjecting Turkish Cypriots, who are part of the European family, to such discrimination was unacceptable.
Addressing the session following the presentation of the report titled ‘Stop hate speech and acts of hatred in sports’, Candan said that all acts of hatred and discrimination should end. Pointing out that sports had a unique way of bringing people together, Candan said that Turkish Cypriot athletes were excluded from international sporting activities and could not participate in sports events such as the Olympics. He called on international bodies and federations such as UEFA, FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to seek formulas to end such acts of discrimination against Turkish Cypriot athletes.
“Sports has a unifying power but the fact that Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot teams cannot even play a simple football match is disappointing. The match organised by Peace and Sport in March played between Mağusa Turk Gucu and Nea Salamina was a good example for the future”, he noted.
Candan concluded his remarks by calling on the two Cypriot community leaders to form a bi-communal technical committee on sports to address such issues.