Fear of Islamisation from Ankara among Turkish Cypriots

As Turkish Cypriots prepare to vote in tomorrow’s parliamentary elections, there is growing concern that Ankara is trying to assimilate and Islamicise the ordinarily liberal community, The Guardian said.

“In the past, there were efforts to make us more Turkish because it was felt we weren’t Turkish enough,” it quoted Esra Aydın, a campaigner for island unity.

Now we’re not Muslim enough and the answer is more mosques, more religious classes, more Quran courses. The only thing we want (to be), and can’t be, is Cypriot.

Turkey’s religious affairs directorate is in the process of building a 3,000-person new mosque in Nicosia, which a Turkish embassy official in the city has called a “symbol for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

“Unless there is a solution soon, there will be no Turkish Cypriots to have a solution with,” the newspaper quoted Cyprus expert James Ker-Lindsay as saying. “Northern Cyprus will simply become a Turkish province – a place of mosques and settlers.”