NICOSIA (Reuters) - Jennifer Lopez has entered a diplomatic minefield on ethnically split Cyprus after agreeing to perform in its Turkish-held north, stirring anger among thousands of Greek Cypriots.
Lopez is scheduled to perform at the opening of a luxury hotel in north Cyprus on July 24, triggering fury from Greek Cypriots who say it’s a slap in the face to people forced to flee from northern Cyprus during a Turkish invasion in 1974.
Greek Cypriots have flooded a facebook site with angry demands the Latina star cancel her trip while organizers of the event say the show will go on.
“We have a signed agreement with her and it is active,” said Murat Bozoglu, a director of the $220 million Cratos Premium hotel in northern Cyprus.
Lopez’s publicists were not immediately available for comment. Local newspapers reported she was being paid $3 million for her one-off performance.
Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion which followed a short-lived Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military junta ruling Greece in 1974. Its division and subsequent years of estrangement is one of the longest serving items on the U.N. peacekeeping agenda.
North Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Ankara.
About a fifth of the island’s population, who are in their majority Greek Cypriots, are internally displaced.
By Wednesday, a facebook page campaigning against the Lopez visit had topped 14,000 members. They were in the vast majority Greeks, with the rate of increase up by about 2,000 per day since its launch last week.
“She has obviously fallen on to hard financial times. Shame on her ... if only she knew how many people were killed and the inhumane savagery committed there,” wrote one campaigner.
Lopez was due to jet in to northern Cyprus, a breakaway statelet recognized only by Ankara, accompanied by her husband, singer Marc Antony, and her twin children. The performance on July 24 coincides with her 41st birthday.
“We are pleased to be able to share her 41st birthday with her and her family,” Bozoglu said, acknowledging that Lopez had received “thousands” of emails to prevent her trip.
“These have made her nervous about coming. But we are doing everything in our hands to make this happen.”
Reporting by Simon Bahceli and Sarah Ktisti, writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Paul Casciato