According to brt television (online, 18.04.17), a group of 12 Serbian children aged between 10 and 13 and their instructors who arrived on the island via Larnaka to take part in the 23rd of April celebrations in the north were deported by Cypriot officials.
The incident was condemned by the “TRNC” and the self-styled acting foreign minister, the “minister of labour and social security” Ersan Saner.
In a statement issued, Saner claimed that “the Greek Cypriot administration (editor’s note: as he refers to the Cyprus government) could not even tolerate children taking part in cultural celebrations in the TRNC” and argued that it is impossible to understand the Greek Cypriot side’s actions at a time when the negotiations had entered a critical phase.
“It is not possible for us to accept what has been done to the group of children and their instructors. A serious question mark stands as to how we are going to mend our relations with the Greek Cypriot administration who prevented the children from crossing into the TRNC to take part in children’s day celebrations”, he alleged.
On the same issue, the so-called ministry of national education and culture has strongly condemned the Greek Cypriot side for preventing children who came to the island via South Cyprus (editor’s note: the government controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus) to attend the 19th International Children’s Festival from crossing over to the “TRNC”.
A statement issued by the “ministry” stated that it was difficult to understand efforts to sabotage such a meaningful and important day dedicated to all children across the world. It alleged that “the Greek Cypriot administration has once again demonstrated its fanatical mentality”.
The statement stressed that sending the children back to their countries by preventing them from taking part in the children’s festival was an unacceptable act. “Whatever the excuse, it is high time the world sees and acknowledges the Greek Cypriot Administration’s intolerance and prejudice towards the Turkish Cypriots at every platform or organisation. The appropriate response should be given immediately” the statement alleged.
“How are we to further develop relations with the Greek Cypriot Administration, who prevented children who came to Cyprus only to attend a children’s festival?” the statement asked.