By Evie Andreou
TURKISH CYPRIOT politician Dogus Derya has received death threats in the wake of comments she made to the Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’ earlier this week that many Greek Cypriot women were raped by the Turkish army during the invasion.
Derya, member of the ruling Republican Turkish Party and of the newly established bi-communal Federal Cyprus Movement (FCM) that aims to foster a federal solution to the Cyprus problem, has also received threats of sexual violence as part of a war waged against her by nationalist groups on social media.
“I was delivering my speech at the ‘parliament’ on a federal solution and how to reunite the island through reconciliation committees, and how in the north we objectify the island’s other communities and label them as enemies,” Derya told the Cyprus Mail on Thursday. “But I explained how we should understand each other’s pain and that many Greek Cypriot women were raped by the Turkish army during the war and even the Church permitted abortions for the first time.”
Her speech angered the former ‘minister of natural resources’ and Democratic Party/National Forces (DP-UG) deputy Zorlu Tore who lambasted her for calling the Turkish army rapists, saying it was “not compatible with democracy”.
“I responded that rape is part of war and that in order to build a federal solution we need to deal with our painful past and judge war crimes,” Derya said.
Following her speech, several nationalist groups in the north including former ‘deputies’ and heads of organised groups have been posting vulgar and threatening texts against Derya and in support of Tore.
Those posting offensive comments include former ‘minister of agriculture’, Kenan Akin – connected to the murder of Solomos Solomou during the incidents in Deryneia village in 1996 – the head of the association of the Alexandretta originated settlers Bertan Zaroglu, and Latif Akca, the head of an association to continue the legacy of the late Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
“Unable to settle with the past in this country, the fascist circles that try to cover the war crimes committed over the past chose again the path of attack with sentences full of unspeakable violence,” Derya posted on social media, adding that she would sue those responsible for their “aggressive and obscene” insults against her.
The bicommunal FCM, which includes former President George Vassiliou, was launched last Sunday with the aim of developing a “federal conscience” among all Cypriots as a prerequisite to reaching a settlement.
Derya said that she was targeted by the same people in April when she compared the Turkish ultra nationalist group Grey Wolves with the extreme right-wing Greek Cypriot group ELAM.
Protesting against efforts to keep Derya quiet and to show their support, members of the Gender Equality Platform civil society group, entered the ‘parliament’ on Thursday with X-shaped black duct tape over their mouths and holding a banner saying “we will not be quiet”.
Mustafa Akinci and Kudret Ozersay, former Turkish Cypriot negotiator in the talks, who are both candidates in the upcoming ‘presidential elections’ have expressed their support of Derya.
The general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party Kutlay Erk said that Zaroglu should be stripped off the citizenship of the breakaway regime in the north, given to him in 2010.
The daily Kibris Postasi announced that it has decided that it will not publish statements made by anyone who attacks Derya.
AKEL deputy Takis Hadjidimitriou and AKEL have also issued announcements pledging their support to Derya while the FCM is asking all institutions that support peace, democracy and justice to protect Derya and condemn such actions.
In August 2013, Derya was once more in the spotlight for deviating from the official script during the swearing-in ceremony in the breakaway regime’s ‘parliament’ and among others pledged allegiance to a federal Cyprus.