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20 May, 2024
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Bahrain plays down Turkish Cypriot flag incident

House Speaker calls on Manama to knuckle under UN rules as facilitated dialogue still prevails


A Turkish Cypriot flag at an inter-parliamentary union assembly in Bahrain has caught Nicosia’s attention, prompting Manama to reassure Greek Cypriots that it was “not intentional,” while dialogue still prevailed despite the diplomatic faux pas.

Bahrain’s parliament president, Ahmed bin Salman Al Musallam, has reportedly replied to House Speaker Annita Demetriou after she sent a letter regarding a Turkish Cypriot flag being hoisted at the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Manama.

Greek Cypriot lawmakers, who attended the conference as representatives of the Republic of Cyprus, had raised with organizers the issue of the Turkish Cypriot flag which is not recognized officially by any country except Turkey.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, Demetriou got wind of the incident and she penned a letter of protest to her Bahraini counterpart, saying “member parliaments of the Inter-Parliamentary Union cannot violate UN resolutions and the principles and objectives of the Organization, which they are committed to promote and protect.”

But there was less drama during the actual conference as Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot delegates attended a roundtable that was facilitated by foreign lawmakers

“Demetriou asked for Bahrain's commitment that such unfortunate incidents, which are contrary to the essence of international legitimacy, will not be repeated in the future,” CNA reported on Wednesday.

CNA also reported that the President of the Bahraini Council of Representatives expressed “regret for the incident, assuring Demetriou that it was an ‘unintentional mistake’," and emphasizing that “the Kingdom of Bahrain opposes any violation of UN resolutions.”

“Under no circumstances could this mistake disrupt the close relations at all levels between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of Cyprus,” Al Musallam was quoted as saying.

But there was less drama during the actual conference, according to messages and photos on social media, as Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot delegates attended a discussion roundtable that was facilitated by foreign lawmakers.

Turkish Cypriot assembly member Oguzhan Hasipoglu posted a series of images on his Facebook account, including a photo showing him sitting next to Greek Cypriot lawmaker Christiana Erotokritou.

Other Greek Cypriot delegates who attended the “Group of Facilitators on Cyprus” session were parliament members Alexandra Attalides and Marinos Mousiouttas, while Turkish Cypriot assembly members Asim Akansoy, Serhat Akpinar, and Talip Atala also joined the discussion that was facilitated by MPS from Belgium and Italy and moderated by an MP from Sweden.

“Although we have different opinions in the context of a comprehensive solution, we have expressed common views on the issues of fighting earthquake and fighting climate change and continuing these discussions in Cyprus,” Hasipoglu wrote.

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