A memorial ceremony was held on Wednesday to mark the 54th Anniversary of the Erenköy resistance.
On August 5, 1964, local Turkish Cypriots of the Erenköy region – located on a coastal enclave in South Cyprus – and 530 Turkish Cypriot university students, studying in Turkey and the UK, struggled against the attacks of 15,000 fully armed Greek Cypriots despite insurmountable hurdles for many days.
They defeated the Greek Cypriots with the help of warplanes from Turkey on August 8, 1964.
One of the cornerstones of the Turkish Cypriot peoples struggle for existence, the Erenköy resistance and the martyrs who lost their lives during that time were commemorated today.
Attending the the ceremony at the Erenköy Martyrs Cemetery were: President Mustafa Akıncı, the Speaker of Parliament Teberrüken Uluçay, Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman, Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay, Finance Minister Serdar Denktaş, National Education Minister Cemal Özyiğit, the Commander of the Turkish Peace Forces in Cyprus Major General Yılmaz Yıldırım, the Commander of the Cyprus Turkish Security Forces Brigidair General Tevfik Algan as well as other high ranking state and government officials.
The ceremony began with the laying of wreaths which was followed by a minute’s silence in memory of the martyrs.
Flags were raised to the national anthem and the special book was signed during the ceremony.
The importance of the day was emphasised with speeches at the ceremony.
President Akıncı started his speech by paying his respects to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives at Erenköy and to the living veterans for the heroic resistance they put up in the enclave.
Stating that the only thing the Turkish Cypriot people has desired since the very beginning of the Cyprus Problem was to live freely and peacefully in Cyprus, President Akıncı said that the Turkish Cypriots, unlike the Greek Cypriots have never had aspirations to impose their authority, rule or control over the other community.
Akıncı pointed out that the root cause of the Cyprus Problem was the Greek Cypriot side’s aspirations of being the sole owner of the island.
“The only thing the Turkish Cypriots wanted and want is to live freely and peacefully on this island without being forced under the domination of the other community”, he said.
Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot people owed the martyrs a debt; Akıncı said that that debt was establishing a better system of rule and administration.
He said that there were numerous domestic problems which could be solved in the absence of a settlement on the island.
Akıncı however added that this did not mean the Turkish Cypriot side will not continue to work for a comprehensive settlement on the island.
The President pointed out that every little step taken towards improving the TRNC would eventually contribute to the Turkish Cypriot people’s welfare as and when a settlement is reached.