Rihanna Performance in Northern Cyprus Spurs Controversy


WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—On Sept. 7 (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. Greek Cypriots and sympathizers began a campaign to prevent her performance there. Days passed since the scheduled day of appearance, and still 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 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 Apr. 2009, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides, who was seeking to reclaim land lost in Northern Cyprus, following the 1974 invasion, where the new owners had built a villa, reported BBC.

Online Battles

A number of Facebook groups and online petitions surfaced, some in support, and others in opposition of the performances. One group, called “Against Rihanna Performing in Occupied Cyprus, gained over 9000 members. Its rival, “Rihanna will be Performing in North Cyprus September 2010,” gained over 7500 members. Others also sprouted, gaining fewer supporters.

News of Rihanna’s expected performance surfaced soon after another celebrity, Jennifer Lopez, who reportedly is another client of the William Morris Agency, canceled her performance at the opening of 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 Aug.; once in the southern coastal city of Limassol; and another in Kyrenia, in Northern Cyprus.

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.


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  1. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    The Greeks should confer the Turkish Cypriots their rights guaranteed by Turkey and the major powers. They foolishly hadn’t done that in 1974.
    Thereupon Turkey should end their occupation of Cyprus.
    Rihanna, Justin and Jennifer didn’t know. Thank them all for correcting course after learning.

  2. Satenik said:

    No one should perform in that fake state. Turks should be brought to account for occupying illegally north of Cyprus. No Turkey in the EU!!!!!!

  3. Satenik said:

    Celebraties world over should think twice before promoting brutal regimes like Turkey by going to Northern Cyprus. Most probably she doesn’t know anything about Cyprus but someone should have warned her. Not everyone who is invited there goes there. It is morally wrong.Anyone who went to South Africa during their apartheid regime were named and shamed and thousands refused to go. Think twice before you become the “friends” of illegall occupiers of a country. Your name will be tainted for ever!!!!!!

  4. Jay said:

    How much knowledge could Rihanna possibly posses in world politics? Honestly,most American teens don’t even know the capital of their resident states. I’d say take Rihanna off your list and don’t purchase her future CD’s.

  5. maz said:

    i agree that no one should support elegal and brutal regimes like Turkey by going to northern Cyprus,so whilst we are on the subject can anyone enlighten me as to why David Haye world heavy weight champion prepares for his bouts in northern Cyprus and also wears the flag of the illegal regimes flag on his shorts as though to advertise the regime!!