World Bulletin / News Desk
An English school in the Greek Cypriot-controlled southern Cyprus has refused to give Turkish Cypriot students, who are Muslims, a day off for the upcoming Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
The school, which is located south of the UN-administered border in the island's divided capital Lefkosa (Nicosia), is believed to have around 140 Turkish Cypriot students, making up 10% of all students.
When the parents of the Turkish Cypriot students asked for a day off for their children from what is supposed to be a four-day break, the school's management board refused.
The board - which is comprised of nine Greek Cypriots, one Turkish Cypriot and one English member - saying that the school is a 'Christian school', rejected the parents' appeal to give their children a day off from school on October 6.
Turkish Cypriot parents then took the case to the Greek Cypriot High Court, but the case was rejected.
Sener Elcil - the only Turkish Cypriot member of the school's board, who is also the general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers' Union (KTOS) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) - defended the decision, saying Turkish Cypriots lost the right to have days off for Islamic holidays that were guaranteed by the 1960 Cyprus constitution.
The Cyprus constitution - which was signed by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in 1960 along with guarantor states Turkey, Britain and Greece - was quickly breached when Turkish Cypriots were ejected from the Cypriot parliament in 1963.
The island was divided in 1974 when Turkey's intervened following a coup by the Greek junta in a bid to unite the island with Greece. As a result, Turkey secured the island's north, creating a safe haven for persecuted Turkish Cypriots.
After nine years of failed peace talks, Turkish Cypriots in the north declared the independence of the TRNC, which to this day has only ever been recognized by Turkey.
Four decades of peace talks have failed to reunite the island and revive the 1960 constitution, with Turkish Cypriots now looking to agree to a UN-backed bi-zonal, bi-communual settlement to the Cyprus problem.
In the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot-controlled south, the 1960 constitution still exists in theory. However, Turkish Cypriots who live, work and study in the south still face obstacles in claiming their constitutional rights from the Greek Cypriot administration.Last Mod: 01 Ekim 2014, 17:51