Pop star Jennifer Lopez will give a concert in the Turkish-held statelet of northern Cyprus later this month, organisers said on Tuesday, amid outrage among Greek Cypriots.
The US diva will arrive in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Cyprus (TRNC) on a private jet on July 22 ahead of a July 24 concert at the Cratos Premium Hotel in Kyrenia to celebrate its opening, said a representative for the Istanbul-based Bozgroup which operates the hotel.
Lopez — who will be accompanied by her husband, singer Marc Anthony, and their twins Max and Emme — will also celebrate her 41st birthday at a “special party” following the concert at the five-star hotel.
“There is no cancellation. A contract was signed and she was paid,” the representative told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The visit has triggered protests in the island’s internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot south which is wary of any move breaking the isolation of the TRNC which is only recognised by Turkey.
A Greek Cypriot rights group Cyprus Action Network of America is running a web campaign urging Lopez to cancel her performance.
“It is with dismay and shock that the people of Cyprus… heard the news that you intend to attend the inauguration of a hotel in the occupied… part of our native country and celebrate your birthday there,” said a letter on the group’s website.
“Please do not allow yourself to be used by the Turks,” the letter added.
But the Bozgroup representative insisted Lopez had decided to go ahead with the concert in spite of the controversy.
“She is aware of the protest. She received an enormous number of emails and she got a little scared. But we explained the situation to her, that there was no war on the island, and she did not cancel the appearance,” she said.
The cost of organising Lopez’s visit and performance at the 220-million-dollar hotel, where she is expected to stay until July 26, will be around three million dollars (2.4 million euros), the representative added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to an Athens-engineered coup in Nicosia aimed at uniting the Mediterranean island with Greece.
The TRNC is only recognized by Turkey, which maintains troops on the Turkish Cypriot side, while the Greek Cypriot south of the island is recognized as the only legitimate administration on the island.