Greek Police Arrest 56 Cypriot Students Protesting Erdogan’s Visit

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Fifty-six Cypriot students protesting outside the Turkish Embassy here ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit were arrested by Greek police who were setting up a massive security operation to protect him.

Three were scuffles between the demonstrators and police, the Cyprus News Agency said, in the operation organized by members of student group Drasis Kes – a far right group that doesn’t want unity on the island with the Turkish side that has unlawfully occupied the northern third since a 1974 invasion.

The trouble began, the news agency said, when police tried to stop some students from erecting a banner at the entrance of the embassy and as the demonstrators were shouting slogans against Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and demanding union between Cyprus and Greece.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades spoke on the phone about Erdogan’s visit, after Tsipras called the Cypriot leader to brief him on what the talks would entail amid hopes it could spark a resumption of negotiations.

Talks between Anastasiades and Akinci broke down at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in July when Erdogan said he would never remove an army from Cyprus and wanted the right to let Turkey invade further.