Turkish Cypriots protest Turkey's 'religious' influence

Hundreds of Turkish Cypriots are protesting against what they say is Turkey's attempt to mold their secular culture into one that's more in tune with Islamic norms.

Some 1,500 mostly young people gathered in front of the Parliament in the breakaway north of the ethnically divided island Wednesday to decry the creation of a "coordination committee" that will oversee all youth sport and cultural activities.

Protesters charge the committee's hidden agenda is to instill a more Islamic way of life by funding cultural and sporting projects that will include religious elements.

Turkish Cypriot parliamentarian Zeki Celer told The Associated Press the committee is "all about religion" and added that "we don't need them to tell us what to do."