Erdogan slams Greek Cypriot "racism" in basketball match violence
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday slammed an attack on a Turkish basketball team in Greek Cyprus as a sign of rising Greek Cypriot "racism" that threatens peace efforts on the long-divided island. Erdogan also criticized the "inadequate" European Union reaction to the incident and international basketball federation FIBA's fine on the Greek Cypriots as overly lenient. "It is worrying that racism and violence against Turks ... are rising in Greek Cyprus even while we are striving for dialogue and reconciliation," Erdogan said during a weekly speech in Parliament. "Even this single incident demonstrates who on the island favors peace and who doesn't want to give peace a chance." A basketball game last week between hosts APOEL Nicosia and Turkey's Pinar Karsiyaka ended in violence when local fans threw objects at the visiting team, poured onto the court, and clashed with police. "We expect more satisfactory statements especially from the EU — both on this incident and the racism and hatred that is being fanned on the island," said Erdogan. "The penalty imposed on APOEL is insufficient. If this is their justice, then they shouldn't speak about fair play." A FIBA tribunal fined APOEL €40,000 and ordered them to play their next European home matches behind closed doors.