Mehmet Ali Talat “attacked” in South Cyprus

Former Turkish Cypriot leader and US ambassador confronted in far-right group at Limassol conference

Mehmet Ali Talat left the building shortly afterwards
Mehmet Ali Talat left the building shortly afterwards

Former Turkish Cypriot president Mehmet Ali Talat was attacked on Wednesday night at a conference in the island’s south.

Turkish and Greek Cypriot press reports said that more than a hundred members of the far-right ELAM organisation burst into conference hall in the southern city of Limassol.

Mr Talat was present as a speaker at the panel talk, at which the US ambassador to Cyprus, high level Greek Cypriot officials, academics and officials from the European Commission were also present.

The Famagusta Gazette quote state TV as reporting the ELAM members burst into a side door of the venue, causing a security alert.

They reported tossed a flare inside, which landed close to the ambassador, who was unhurt.

There was a media scrum following the incident
There was a media scrum following the incident

“The government condemns in the strongest and unequivocally anything that injures the heart of democracy ,” the government spokesman told state TV.

Turkish Cypriot websites quoted Greek Cypriot sources as describing the ELAM members as “terrorists”.

Mehmet Harmancı, leader of the Turkish Cypriot Communal Democracy Party (TDP), condemned the attack and invited the Republic of Cyprus government to declare ELAM an illegal organisation.

He continued: “We underscore the importance of starting the judicial process against those behind this attack without delay and in a transparent manner.

“This and attacks like these won’t reduce our desire for a resolution and peace in Cyprus; quite the contrary, it demonstrates the importance of spreading a culture of peace and making this an important part of the peace process.”

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