A year ago, the Turkish-Cypriot football community, its clubs and all the actors represented by the Cyprus-Turkish FA (CTFA/KTFF), endorsed the strategic vision of the reunification of football on the island.
The goals behind this historic decision were clear:
- Ending more than three decades of isolation to give hope to our clubs, to our players and above all to our youth who all strive to gain access to this global village of the sport called football.
Our kids in particular, boys and girls, and our youth deserve that we spare no effort to give them the feeling that they finally belong to the world community of the game. Because they deserve it.
- Resuming the glorious role played by Turkish-Cypriot football in the history of football on our island of Cyprus.
The CFA/KOP was founded in 1934 by Turkish-Cypriot football leaders and by a Turkish-Cypriot club, Lefkoşa Türk Spor Kulübü. Turkish Cypriot football clubs like Gençlik Gücü and Çetinkaya took part in its competitions. After its foundation, Turkish Cypriots such as the CTFA’s founder Ahmet Sami Topcan took part in KOP’s management. Our clubs performed well with Çetinkaya winning the league once, the FA Cup twice and the FA Shield thrice. Our players performed well too with talents such as Mr. Sevim Ebeoğlu and others playing regularly at all levels. Furthermore, many Turkish Cypriot football players took part in the Cyprus national team.
After 60 years of separation, the ambition is clear since the Turkish-Cypriot football community clearly expressed its goal to regain the position it had in the CFA/KOP before 1955, with all our obligations and all our rights. The CFA/KOP is also ours!
- Everyone should know that the CFA/KOP, whose founders we are, does not only belong to Greek Cypriots. It is ours as well!
Far from me to ignore or to forget the past, its sufferings, its injustices, its lingering sour memories, the lack of trust – on both sides – but football with its general trans-generational appeal can and should play its role to bridge the gaps between our two communities and restart the relations which existed.
I cannot ignore the resistances or all the political and legal issues which represent so many hurdles, so many “red lines”, blocking us from doing things together again or even slowing down the best initiatives from both sides. But we have no choice other than overcoming them. Our duty is to contribute to the rapprochement of our youth by spreading seeds of peace.
This is why I would like to praise here publicly the Turkish-Cypriot club Degirmenlik (Kythrea), that following the appropriate changes made by the CTFA/KTFF in its regulations, decided to recruit Greek-Cypriot players and technical staff members giving us the proof that football is much stronger that hatred and prejudice. The recent positive atmosphere and excitement brought along with the car racing rally which recently took place on the two sides proved the rightfulness of the courageous decision taken by the CTFA/KTFF.
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The task is complex but its goals are clear. The reunification of football on the island will be possible if we are able to find the pragmatic and realistic solutions we need to play football with each other again, to be fairly represented and to end these decades of isolation.
It should be known that we, as the CTFA/KTFF, are ready to live up to all our responsibilities along this path.
Please allow me to express my confidence in the CFA/KOP leadership and in particular to my counterpart Mr. Costakis Koutsokoumnis who have shown courage and vision as well.
We will not achieve all of these goals overnight but ending 60 years of football separation as soon as possible is our main objective!