World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of Turkish Cypriots marched through the streets of Brussels on Wednesday to protest against Greek Cyprus taking over the presidency of the European Union, saying the rights of the island's Turkish minority were being ignored.
Some 400 protesters wearing masks with no faces and holding signs saying "Do We Exist?", walked from the European Parliament to the European Commission, in the centre of the city's administrative district, and handed out leaflets describing themselves as the forgotten Europeans.
Greek Cyprus has been divided between the Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish north since a Greek coup d'etat followed by a Turkish army intervention in 1974.
Greek Cyprus, which on Monday asked for financial aid to prop up its banks, joined the EU in 2004 despite rejection of Annan peace plan that 130,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the north accepted.
Turkey is the only nation that recognises the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
"The rest of the world, ... they just push us into a corner like we don't exist," protester Turgay Azizoglu said.
The protest underlined the tensions that will accompany the island's six-month presidency of the EU, which begins on July 1, when it will carry the responsibility for organising the EU's agenda and chairing policy debates.
Turkey began EU entry talks in 2005, a year after Greek Cyprus was admitted, but its bid for membership has virtually ground to a halt due to the intractable dispute over the divided island, as well as opposition from core members Germany and France.
Ankara has said it will suspend relations with the EU presidency during Greek Cyprus's six-month tenure starting in July, due to a lack of progress in reunification talks on the island.
"(The presidency) are not representing the whole of Cyprus, they are only representing part of Cyprus," said Hasan Tacoy, a member of the parliament in North Cyprus.
"We're hoping to raise our voice and say that it's our right to be part of the EU."
Israeli defense minister in Zagreb, heading up defense, IT delegations to EU country
Warning comes amid fourth round of negotiations between London, Brussels
Iraq’s central government has threatened to intervene militarily if the referendum leads to violence
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urges all sides to avoid further escalation after KRG’s controversial referendum
Police officers, firefighters dispatched to Tower Hill, some services suspended
European leaders announce easing of limitation after Athens stabilizes
Houthis say the American national was taken hostage on Saturday
No one injured in late-night blaze at place of worship in Orebro, southern Sweden
Antonio Guterres hopes UN-mandated activities across Iraq will be allowed to continue unhindered
Final results expected within three days, says spokesperson for Kurdish Regional Government’s Election Commission
Paris prosecutors open inquiry following 3 NGOs' complaint about BNP Paribas' possible role in 1994 genocide
Martin Schulz -- Social Democrat leader -- hardens opposition to 'grand coalition' with Merkel's conservatives
It remains unclear how Abadi's order will be implemented
But the euro dropped after Chancellor Angela Merkel's "unconvincing election victory," as LCG analyst Jasper Lawler put it.
EU, US should not criticize move to declare it terrorist group, says Nigeria's presidential assistant on prosecution