The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday criticized the Greek side's attempts to block the Turkish Cypriot National Football Team from participating in an upcoming independent football associations' cup in London.
In a statement, the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry blasted the initiative to block the Turkish side's involvement in the Confederation of Independent Football Associations Paddy Power World Cup 2018 (CONIFA 2018), set to be held between May 31 and June 9, as "disrespectful."
The ministry called the intolerance of Greek Cypriots living abroad towards a peaceful sports activity "alarming".
"This and similar initiatives of the mentality that is troubled by our presence in such an activity organized by the Confederation of Independent Football Associations … serves no purpose but to deepen the distrust between the two communities," the statement added.
The National Federation of Cypriots, dominated by Greek Cypriots, have reportedly sent letters to politicians and hosting Enfield Council to block Turkish Cypriot participation to the tournament.
The Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad (ATCA) also asked the Enfield Council not to take the Greek letters into consideration, and prevention of Turkish Cypriot participation to the tournament would also cause the Turkish Cypriot team and other participating teams to demand for compensation.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup took place after decades of violence against the island's Turkish community and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the collapse of last year's initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the U.K.
Turkey blames Greek Cypriot intransigence for the talks' failure, also faulting the European Union for admitting the Greek Cypriot administration into the union in 2004 although Greek Cypriot voters had recently rejected a peace deal.
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