Students of African descent studying and living in the Turkish-occupied territories of northern Cyprus have complained about “institutional racism” from the Turks, Sigma Live reported.
Protests were staged by Voices of International Students in Cyprus (VOIS) on the occasion of the murder of African-American George Floyd in the United States by a Minneapolis police officer.
Africans and others gathered outside a pseudo-government building chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Say no to racism.”
“We gathered here as representatives of foreign students here at the [unrecognized] Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” a student said, calling for support for all blacks around the world, especially those living here.
We came here, as he said, to explain the discrimination and racism we experience every day and to show that racism in society is systemic.
“We are not saying that all Cypriots are racists, but we are saying let’s talk about racism and try to drive this problem out of society.”
The attendees then gave some examples of brutal racist behaviour in occupied northern Cyprus.
As he said, they go to the supermarkets and suddenly the people in charge of the shop send people to watch them because they are black. It is common practice for those who advertise houses for rent to write that they do not lease to black people.
In some apartments there are tenants who say that blacks can only live on the ground floor and not on the other floors.
“They don’t care where you are from, just because you are black, especially if you are Nigerian, things are much worse,” he said.
There are cases, he said, of charging furniture more expensively because someone is black or of another colour.
“A ‘government official’ told us that we have no right to complain about discrimination because we are poor Africans and we should be grateful to study here. He even told us that black children annoy white [Turkish] Cypriots and Africans sleep with elderly [Turkish] Cypriot spouses but do not complain because they realise they need money to survive.”
He also accused the media and universities of the pseudo-state of silence against discrimination and racism.
A video was uploaded showing the demonstration.