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Geldof riles Greek Cypriots with occupied gig

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP | Sir Bob Geldof speaks onstage during the 2016 Angel Ball hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation For Cancer Research on November 21, 2016 in New York City

NICOSIA (AFP) - 

Veteran Irish pop star Bob Geldof drew ire on Friday from Greek Cypriots urging him to cancel a concert he is due to play in the Turkish-occupied north of the divided island.

Geldof and his band, The Boomtown Rats, are set to play a free gig Friday at the Eastern Mediterranean University in the port city of Famagusta -- but the planned event has drawn widespread condemnation from Cyprus' Greek-speaking community.

"A concert in the occupied north of Cyprus just goes to show the division between what you say & what you do!," said one irate Twitter user.

Another added: "#BobGeldof proves himself a supporter of ethnic cleansing and #BandAid a personal publicity stunt by performing in occupied Cyprus."

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Lobby for Cyprus, a UK-based Greek Cypriot pressure group, also weighed in reminding Geldof of the Turkish invasion by posting a front page from the Sunday Times from the 1970s.

"#BobGeldof #TheBoomtownRats to perform in occupied #Cyprus yet ethnic cleansed refugees denied return," it posted on its Twitter account.

Veteran entertainer and campaigner Geldof is best know for creating the Band Aid charity group in 1984, which raised millions for Africa famine relief with the festive, celebrity-strewn single "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

In 1985, Live Aid concerts were held in London and Philadelphia.

Decades of peace talks have failed to reunite Cyprus, and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is still only recognised by Ankara.

Geldof is not the first performer to fall foul of the island's delicate politics.

In 2012, Julio Iglesias launched a lawsuit against Turkish Cypriot authorities after claiming he was duped into signing a contract to perform in the north.

In 2010, a concert by Jennifer Lopez, scheduled to take place in northern Cyprus, was cancelled after extensive campaigning by Greek Cypriot groups.

Rihanna also cancelled a concert after a similar campaign.

© 2017 AFP