S.E.K.A – Open Letter to the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Jacinta Allan MP

31 May, 2024

Dear Premier Allan,

Further to our letter of the 20th of May, it has come to our attention that on the 28th of May, Minister Natalie Suleyman took part in a reception organized by the Consulate General of Türkiye in Melbourne in honor of Ersin Tatar, who is visiting Australia as a private citizen, supposedly.

I quote: Addressing the reception, Natalie Süleyman, Minister for Veterans, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Youth in the Parliament of the State of Victoria, welcomed President Tatar to Australia, and said: “Turkish Cypriots have been contributing to our state’s multicultural tapestry for generations…” (See https://kktcb.org/en/president-ersin-tatar-participates-in-a-reception-held-in-his-12391.)

We note that this is not the first time that Minister Natalie Suleyman has breached the constraints which being a member of an Australian Government imposes. In 2016 she acted outside of the requirements set by Australia’s official policy on Cyprus, which is to offer no recognition to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, when she made an unauthorized formal visit to the “parliament” of the illegal “state”.

We explained in our previous letter that the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 targeted civilians as well as soldiers. In essence it was a land grab, the aim of which was to evict through terror the majority Greek Cypriot inhabitants in the north of the island.

Israel’s ambassador to Cyprus, Oren Anolik, recently stated: “When I read some of the accounts by Greek Cypriots about the horrific events that took place in the summer of 1974, I was not sure whether the description was of atrocities committed by Turkish soldiers 50 years ago or atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists 7 months ago”.

Turkey’s proxy, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, is claiming for itself illegally captured and occupied territory to which it has no right.

The similarities of the tragic events in Cyprus in 1974 with the tragic events that are taking place now in Ukraine are striking. The official position of both Cyprus and Australia, vis-à-vis illegal occupation, is the same. There is no place for legitimizing foreign aggression and occupation, neither in Ukraine, nor in Cyprus.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, a miserable milestone which serves as a reminder that the ongoing occupation has been ongoing for far too long.

It is imperative that governments hold the line and refuse to participate in events which implicitly endorse criminal land grabs, unruly ministers notwithstanding. Surely you agree. A clear statement from yourself on this matter would go a long way towards soothing the indignation and anger which Greek and Cypriot Australians feel about Mr Tatar’s visit.

Yours Sincerely,
Pavlos Andronikos, President, SEKA Victoria
Yiannis Milides, General Secretary, SEKA Victoria

PS: It is particularly galling that Mr Tatar has been exploiting our hallowed Shrines of
Remembrance in Melbourne and in Canberra to create misleading and deceptive publicity
photos where he appears to have been formally recognized. (See below.) A statement on
that would also be welcome.

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