We are a group of UMN faculty and students who wish to publicly express our objection and concern over an act of provocation by the Turkish American Student Association. As part of the annual painting of the campus bridge by student associations, the Turkish Association chose to paint the picture of a divided Cyprus on its logo. Cyprus was subjected to a military invasion by Turkey in 1974, and has ever since been divided, with 40% of its territory occupied by Turkish forces.
In short, the 1974 invasion resulted in:
· 200,000 refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods
· Over 3,000 people killed and 1619 missing to this day
· Museums, churches, historical sites and cultural artifacts desecrated and destroyed, an irreplaceable loss to all of humanity
Cyprus is an independent state recognized by the UN. Turkey's illegal occupation of Cyprus is in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions and is not recognized by any country other than Turkey.
Therefore, the bridge painting constitutes a direct insult to us as members of the UMN community. Some of us have experienced the invasion as young children and count relatives amongst the dead and missing. At a time when Turkey’s aggression in the Middle East is in full swing, we emphasize that we do not want this conflict to reach our campus community. We celebrate the right of our Turkish and Turkish Cypriot colleagues to demonstrate their heritage, but we demand that they do so in a non-divisive way.
We are calling on all students, staff and university authorities to denounce the act, and ask for the immediate removal of the drawing.
Students and staff of the University of Minnesota:
Dr. Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, professor, Interior Design
Dr. Nikos Papanikolopoulos, McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor
Dr. Theofanis G. Stavrou, professor of History
Dr. Vassilios Morellas, director, Computer Science & Engineering
Dr. Daniel Demetriou, associate professor, current philosophy discipline coordinator
Dr. Katerina M. Marcoulides, assistant professor, Department of Psychology
Dr. Spyros Charonis, research associate, Department of Neuroscience
Dr. Marinos Kosmopoulos, postdoctoral fellow, Division of Cardiology
Dr. Panagiotis Traganitis, postdoctoral associate, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Dr. Theodore Christoforidis, postdoctoral associate, College of Biological Sciences
Dr. Diamantis Tsaggaris, M.D.
Alexandros Giannelis, graduate student
Vasileios Litsakis, undergraduate president of the Hellenic Student Association
Vasileios Ioannidis, graduate student, member of the Hellenic Student Association board
Konstantinos Mavromatis, graduate student
Lambros Tassoulas, graduate student
Thomas Louvaris, past president of the Hellenic Student Association
Apostolos Kotsolis, undergraduate student
Editor's note: two names have been removed post-publication.