Australian Labour MP Anthony Albanese addressed Parliament last week in tribute to Stavros Protz and Yalcin Adal, for their East2West initiative in support of the unification of Cyprus for all its people.
In March this year, Greek Cypriot Stavros Protz and Turkish Cypriot Yalcin Adal walked for peace and the reunification of Cyprus, trekking 400km across the centre of the island.
The two Cypriots who are good friends and live in Melbourne, began their walk from Zafer Burnu [Cape Apostolos Andreas] Karpaz and completed their journey on April 5, arriving at Aphrodite’s Rock in Paphos, Southern Cyprus.
MP Albanese told Parliament, “In the coming month, we will mark 44 years since the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, 44 years without a resolution—a nation divided, with 37 per cent of the island still occupied in contravention of a number of United Nations resolutions and with over 200,000 people displaced. This is the 11th time I have raised this issue in the parliament as a federal MP. I’ve had the privilege of visiting the island nation twice, once as an opposition member and once as a government minister.”
The MP went on to say the hope of justice and reunification of the island, lives on, both in Cyprus and also here in Australia, which more than 80,000 Cypriots of both Greek and Turkish background call home.
“I had the honour of convening a meeting on behalf of the Australia-Cyprus parliamentary friendship group with two Australian friends, Stavros Protz and Yalcin Adal, from Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot backgrounds respectively. These two great friends in Australia are examples of the fact that, in our multicultural nation, people live not just in harmony but with its diversity being a great strength.”
“Stavros and Yalcin, having successfully completed their journey, walking up to 30 kilometres a day over very rugged terrain, are here in Canberra today continuing to promote the common interest and harmony between all Cypriots. After reaching the St Hilarion Castle on top of the Kyrenia mountain range in Cyprus, the two friends found a window and announced their wish for the future of the island,” MP Albanese said.
“We wish that one day the people of this island regardless of age, colour, ethnicity, gender and religion will be able to live freely,” the friends emphasised.
Albanese also added Protz and Adal exemplify two courageous people, “It is in the interests of all of the people of Cyprus for the conflict to be resolved, for us to live in harmony side by side, just as people of Greek-Cypriot background and Turkish-Cypriot background live side by side in harmony right here in Australia, particularly in my electorate in the inner west of Sydney. I commend the motion to the House and I pay tribute to these two fine young Australians,” he concluded.