‘We perform anywhere we are invited’: Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan says controversial Cyprus concert will go on

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A forthcoming concert by Deep Purple in Cyprus has created an uproar, with reports that Greek Cypriot officials tried to prevent the show from happening on the Turkish side of the divided Mediterranean island. Cyprus has been split between the Greeks and Turkey since 1974 when Turkish troops intervened after a Greek-supported coup meant to unite Cyprus with Greece.

Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan says the group, as always, isn’t taking sides: “Amongst many of the countries we have visited in our peripatetic jaunts are Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, Armenia, USA, Venezuela, Argentina, UK, China and Japan — all of which have a conflict with somebody or another, and all with behavior and traditions that someone else doesn’t like,” Gillan says. “And I love them all.”

In fact, Gillan adds, the only country he’s ever considered boycotting over political reasons was his own. Former UK prime minister “Tony Blair’s illegal and murderous adventure in Iraq made me angry, and ashamed enough to think about excommunicating Britain,” Gillan adds. “Sounds silly, but I was very angry. However, it went against our historical position, which is: To perform anywhere we are invited, regardless of local difficulties/conflict, wars, earthquakes, riots, typhoons, strikes, rebellions, gun-fire and so on. Therefore, we continued to perform in the UK.”

Deep Purple, which has just released the well-received Now What?!, is set to play a free-admission concert in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (or the KKTC) on May 24 at Near East University. Internationally, the Greek Cypriots are recognized as the island’s representatives, while Turkey deals exclusively with the KKTC.

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