For World Peace Day, on 1st September 9 athletes started a 30-hour swim from Turkey to North Cyprus with the slogan “Swim for Peace”, and reached Girne on 2nd September.
The event was with the support of Yenişehir Municipality, and the 9 athletes were swimmers of Hacettepe University Youth, and Sports Club Master swimmers from Mersin. Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü and Yenişehir Mayor Abdullah Özyiğit with a delegation, including a member of the city council Metin Solunoğlu, welcomed the swimmers in Girne with Turkish and TRNC flags.
A new international swimming route between Mersin and Cyprus was identified by the team. Dr. Sadık Ersöz, triathlete Assoc. Pınar Arpınar Avşar, Ph.D. Prof. Dr. Mustafa Şakir Başaran, Temel Yakşi, Boran Karataş, Erman Akkaya, Beril Telsiz, Ph.D. Güneş Kibar, as well as swimmer Osman Akkus, a citizen of the TRNC took part.
In the evening following the arrival of the swimmers, Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü and Mersin Yenişehir Mayor Abdullah Özyiğit held a press conference. Mayor Özyiğit congratulated the athletes participating in the event which started on 1st September for World Peace Day and lasted for 30 hours. Abdullah Özyiğit stated that the aim of the swim between Mersin and Girne was to show a stance against the unfair embargoes applied to the Turkish Cypriots and wished that they would be instrumental in the development of sporting activities between the two cities.
Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü said that the athletes who participated in the swim with the slogan “Swim for Peace“ gave a very important message. Nidai Güngördü, said everyone needs love, respect and tolerance, stating that the swim was arranged for this reason. He was happy to see the swimmers in Girne and hoped that the event and cooperation between the two cities would develop in the coming years.
Dr. Güneş Kibar, said that the Hacettepe team had previously swam the English Channel which was very cold, the water between Mersin and Girne is choppy, but because it is warm, this route can be used for 6 months. He added that the swim draws attention to how close the distance is between Cyprus and Turkey.