Rihanna Performance in Northern Cyprus Spurs Controversy

WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—On Sept. 7 (or Sept. 15, according to some sources), singer Rihanna was reportedly scheduled to give a free public concert at the inauguration of the luxury Fashion Castle Hotel in the town of Kyrenia in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus. While Greek Cypriots and sympathizers began a campaign to prevent her performance there, days have passed since the scheduled day of appearance, and there’s been no word on the event.


Some sources claimed that Rihanna would be joined by singer Justin Timberlake in a free concert that would celebrate the construction of not one but two hotels in Kyrenia.  Rihanna would earn $1 million and Timberlake $2 million.

However, according to one source, Cyprus Today reported that Justin Timberlake was not going to perform in Northern Cyprus, and that the country’s name had been removed from a list of countries Rihanna was scheduled to tour. The Weekly was unable to confirm this information.

‘Turkish Gaza’

Meanwhile, Cyprus Mail reported that Washington based lawyer Athan Tsimpedes, in an Aug. 26  letter addressed to William Morris Agency, called on the agency to cancel its two clients’, Rihanna’s and Timberlake’s, plans of performing in Kyrenia.

Tsimpedes, who represents the Cyprus Movement for Refugees and Displaced Mothers, argued that “Turkish Gaza” was a more appropriate label for Northern Cyprus “as Turkey’s actions have isolated its residents from the rest of the world.”

The lawyer, who has also filed a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit on behalf of Greek Cypriot refugees in Washington against Turkey, stated that these appearances “sought to promote events in the Turkish Gaza to conceal its dark history.”

According to the report, Tsimpedes then warned the agency that “potential performances in the Turkish Gaza may give rise to claims for trespass and other legal remedies in the appropriate courts,” adding that Kyrenia “belongs to refugees.”

In April 2009, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides, who was seeking to reclaim land lost in Northern Cyprus where, following the 1974 invasion, the new owners had built a villa, reported BBC.

Online battles

A number of Facebook groups and online petitions surfaced since the announcement of Rihanna’s performance–some in support and others in opposition. One group, called “Against Rihanna Performing in Occupied Cyprus,” gained over 9,000 members. Its rival, “Rihanna will be Performing in North Cyprus September 2010,” gained over 7,500 members. Other groups also sprouted, gaining fewer supporters.

News of Rihanna’s expected performance surfaced soon after another celebrity, Jennifer Lopez, reportedly another client of the William Morris Agency, canceled her performance at the opening of the Cratos hotel following criticism. The Turkish Vatan newspaper claimed that Rihanna was a personal friend of hotel owner Yilmaz Bektas’ wife, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, the winner of Miss Universe 2006.

Jennifer Lopez’s concert had been scheduled for July 24, a few days after the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Lopez’s publicist was quoted as saying, “Jennifer Lopez would never knowingly support any state, country, institution, or regime that was associated with any form of human rights abuse.”

Meanwhile, R&B singer Sean Paul reportedly had two performances on the island in August, one in the southern coastal city of Limassol, and another in Kyrenia.

Cyprus became divided after the Turkish invasion in 1974. Turkey is the only country that recognizes the northern portion as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

11 Comments on Rihanna Performance in Northern Cyprus Spurs Controversy

  1. The TURKISH GAZA it is, i hope the Palestinian people would stand with the people of Cyprus, since they know what it feels like to have lands occupied.

  2. avatar Rita Hosepian // September 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm // Reply

    Cindy I am Armenian-Palestinian and of course we do stand with all people who are also living under occupation but we are dissapointed that there is no effort by these newspapesr like Asbarez or others to bring to attention the occupation of Palestine and to boycott artists who perform there.

  3. Turkish Gaza is very accurate for Northern Cyprus indeed. As far as I heard, natives in the South are not happy with Greece trying to deal with everything either.
    To me, the term “Turkish Gaza” also includes Kurdish cities in Turkey.
    Rita, I would like to know what you think about Turkish government’s so-called support for Palestinian cause. Do you believe that they care about the people killed in Gaza, or anywhere in the Middle East? I believe no government cares about these: Turkey doesn’t talk about the people killed after the last elections in Iran and naming it “internal affairs of Iran” and in turn Iran doesn’t talk about Kurdish children killed in Turkey; Sudan kills thousands of civilians in Darfur and other Muslim countries behave as if nothing happened. So, I believe they share the same guilt. After Saddam was hanged, there were many in line to blame him. Where were they when he was bombing Halabja?

  4. It amazes me at how quickly Greek and Greek Cypriots alike are quick to pull out the hostility card against Turkey, when history and facts show that the Gray Wolves were the culprits killing off innocent ethnic Turks. But I wouldn’t expect Europeans to understand the facts of historical atrocities commited by Greek under-organizations prior to 1974.

    You’re also quick to point the finger at ‘Muslim countries’… how ‘white’ of you. But we can’t all be Nazis. Get your facst together before you engage your keyboard. Turkey has every right to defend ethnic Turks… Not everyone wants to be a Euro-Nazi.

  5. Yuiiq…We lived in Muslim Countries
    They love Armenians and trust them…
    Did you see any Arab will buy a land in Turkish Gaza (Cyprus)
    All they buy homes in the south Christian Site…
    Turks are not Muslims 
    They apply their ‘Turkish Law’ killing Muslim Sunni Kurds 
    So please don’t speak about religion
    because you know only the name being a Muslim…

    Who has faith will never kill…
    Because Turks are Turks
    They use Religion to kill and confiscate…
    Arab Poet Assad Rustom In May 1916Said,
    “The Sons of Turks you are never Muslims” 
    We know Islamic Religion more than any one else
    Islam means ‘Salam’= Peace…
    Do your gangs apply any…
    They want to vanish all KurdsWith their money…
    Don’t forget all Armenians
    So no one will remember the genocide…


  6. She performed in Baku yesterday.

    I love Rihanna..!

  7. avatar AleviDude2000 // October 16, 2012 at 4:26 am // Reply

    Fact is: Turkish Cypriots (the ones who were living on the island before 1974) were going to be annihilated and so what happened was is that the mainland government of Ankara had to intervene to save their Turkish speaking brothers.
    I believe that Cyprus should be unified as one state, mainlanders should go back to Turkey and Turkish-speakers who lived on the island before 1974 get to stay. There has to be a fair solution to this conflict. Period.

  8. We ruled the orthodox people in peace for over 600 years…but once they get more powerful they will start to kill and murder their neighbours because of their hate towards Muslim Turks..that’s all…look at Russia they took so much turkish land..almost 50 percent of Russia is muslim turkic land…

    • Hakan, I agree with you %100, that Turks should look their ancestral land in Central Asia and around Altai Mountain, then you will see how “Turkified” people will find their origin once again!! Remember it was Turks who invaded to North and South Caucasus, Anatolia, and Byzantine Empire, nobody invited Muslim Turkic tribes to be part of Christian civilization!!

    • The uprisings agianst sultans didn’t start in 1800’s. They started before that. That proves that the oppression and exploitation of local Christians raised conserns. The ottomans rulled a land that wasn’t theirs and they assumed the people will sit and tolurate it for ever. and now Turkey is left with leftovers which is still not your lands.

      The so called peaceful period wasn’t so peaceful, massacars of tens of thousands of Bulgarians, other balkans, and Greeks perceeded the Hamidian massacar of 1896. By the end of WWI several million Christians which included Armenian genocide of 1.5 million was resulted.

      Turks have no excuse and everyone knows that.

  9. Turkey now is buying through the property compenasation commission, the properties of the Greek Cypriots who own property in Northern Cyprus that they left after 1974. That means Turkey will also own the properties left by Turkish Cypriots before 1974 in Southern Cyprus. The Greek and Turkish Cypriots will be the tenants of the Turkish Governmet.

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