Some 60 Greek Cypriot teachers recently crossed over to the north side of Nicosia to visit Turkish Cypriot schools to convey messages of peace, friendship and cooperation.
As a symbolic gesture of peace between the two communities, the Greek Cypriot teachers who were accompanied by Turkish Cypriot teachers during their Dec. 29, 2015 visit, handed over olive trees to be planted in the area of the schools, In-Cyprus said.
Next month, Turkish teachers will take turn in visiting Cypriot schools on the other side of the Green Line barrier that has separated the two sides of the country since 1974.
The co-chair of the platform of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teachers ‘United Cyprus’, which was created in 2004, Maria Mavrada stressed that on the occasion of the new year they wanted to convey to their fellow teachers a message of peace and friendship.
“We are not politicians, we are teachers. As teachers we want to take action and to do our share for a single, free Cyprus, without hatred, without fanaticism, united, for everyone.”
According to Mavrada’s statements to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), around 60 Greek Cypriot teachers responded to the call of the platform and declared participation in the visit.
Also speaking to CNA, General Secretary of Turkish Cypriot secondary education teachers union, KTOEOS, Vendat Tek said that teachers from both communities wanted to send a message to the authorities on both sides that they want peace.
KTOS General Secretary, Sener Elcil said that this is a significant event they were planning for some time.
He talked about the bloodshed in the region and the expectation for a solution to the Cyprus problem, after the election of Mustafa Akinci in the leadership of Turkish Cypriots.
“As teachers we played a bad role in the past, creating hatred and division in peoples’ minds. We suffer from the separation. Today’s event can be a good example for all Cypriots.”