NEWS

Prominent ND lawmakers cancel participation in Antalya Diplomacy Forum

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New Democracy lawmakers Dora Bakoyannis and Dimitris Avramopoulos have cancelled their participation in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on June 18-20 due to the attendance of Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar in the capacity of the “President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” — a title not recognised by Greece.

“The insistence of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, despite my warning, that the leader of the Turkish Cypriots participates in the capacity of the ‘President’ of the pseudo-state, does not allow my participation,” Avamopoulos said on Twitter on Friday.

His move followed that of Bakoyannis who said on Thursday her cancelation of the invitation was prompted by the invitation of Tatar “with the non-existent title ‘President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”

Murat Karagoz, the forum’s coordinator, said on Friday organisers expect more than 1,000 people to attend in the three-day event, in which officials, politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, academics, business people, media and opinion-makers will “discuss and find solutions to current regional and global issues,” according to statements to Daily Sabah.

The aim is “for a candid and open debate in a less formal setting than many conferences,” he added.

The event will be opened by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey, responding to a Greek-sponsored coup, invaded the island, occupying nearly 40 percent of it. Turkish occupation troops remain to this day. The northern part of the island is recognised only by Turkey.