President Ersin Tatar attends the commemoration ceremony in Erenköy on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the Erenköy Resistance
“The legendary Erenköy Resistance is a source of inspiration in the struggle of the Turkish Cypriot People to exist in these lands in freedom and dignity.”
President Ersin Tatar has paid tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives and to veterans who took part in the glorious Erenköy Resistance of 1964, in a ceremony that was held at the Erenköy Martyrdom.
President Tatar signed the Special Memorial Book which was followed by the laying of wreaths, and a minute’s silence was observed in respect for the martyrs. This was followed by the National Anthem when the flags of Türkiye and the TRNC were hoisted. The President addressed the ceremony, followed by speeches of the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Commander Major General Sezai Öztürk, Security Forces Commander Major General Zorlu Topaloğlu and Erenköy Veterans’ Association chairman Mustafa Arıkan.
President Tatar wrote in the memorial book:
Today, on the 58th anniversary of the Erenköy Resistance, which you courageously carried out with superior will and great sacrifice, you are a shining example as to how Turkish Cypriots defended their existence in these lands which is our homeland. We are once again humbled in your spiritual presence with great appreciation, respect and gratitude.
Whilst we express our gratitude to you, our blessed martyrs, who defended Erenköy and our people at the cost of sacrificing your own lives, we remember the glorious Erenköy Resistance, which has a separate place in the history of the struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people, equal to the legendary battle of Çanakkale [Gallipoli]. Erenköy was the only area of the Turkish Cypriot people that could have physical links with Motherland Turkey. A legendary sacred struggle was waged to defend the village and prevent it from falling into enemy hands, at the cost of many lives.
Today, the Turkish Cypriot people continue to live in their homeland, under the roof of their own State in freedom and safety, as a result of your unforgettable struggle and sacrifices.
Our beloved martyrs, rest in eternal peace. We will continue to fight with determination for the Turkish Cypriot people to reach their deserved place in the world with the national values, spirituality, inspiration and power you have entrusted to us. We shall never forget you, the sacrifices you made and the struggle that was put forth here to defending the strategic coastal village of Erenköy. In your spiritual presence, we once again bow with respect and gratitude. May God bless your souls.”
Addressing the ceremony, President Tatar underlined the importance of the Erenköy struggle put forward by Turkish Cypriots 58 years ago in 1964. “The legendary struggle that was waged on these cliffs, in this village, in a very strategically important coastal location that was the only physical link between Turkish Cypriots and Türkiye, was defended by hundreds of Turkish Cypriots who risked their lives and many of our people were martyred here,” the President said.
“Erenköy is a source of inspiration in our struggle to exist on these lands”
President Tatar explained that the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo were organising systematic armed attacks against Turkish Cypriots across the island as part of their aspiration to annex the island of Cyprus with Greece (ENOSIS), adding: “Hundreds of university students, who showed a real example of solidarity and patriotism, suspended their educational studies and campaigned to raise awareness of the persecution and suffering of the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus and the aspiration of the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo and EOKA terrorists to annex the island of Cyprus with Greece. They organised themselves in student societies in the United Kingdom and Türkiye and made their way to receive brief training at the Zir Camp. They then made their way in small boats from Anamur, Türkiye, to Erenköy and took an oath to protect the village at all costs. They kept their promise. Furthermore, they forged links with Anatolia and organised the transport of much needed guns and weapons to defend the strategic coastal village of Erenköy and our people who were being attacked. They acted in the most heroic of ways. . . what was lived here has been recorded in Turkish history for the heroic actions of our people who were determined not to abandon or surrender Erenköy against all costs.”
President Tatar emphasised: “These were not easy decisions and actions to take in the face of great dangers involved. At that time, in the face of the attacks, the Turkish Cypriot people were waiting anxiously for the intervention of Motherland Türkiye. As the Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk stated: ‘If what is in question is the homeland, then everything else is just detail’. The young mujahideen and students, acting under these very words of Atatürk, put forward a great resistance at all costs and with the ultimate sacrifice. Three sides of the village of Erenköy were surrounded and the heavy attacks were initiated by the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo on August 8, 1964. It is here that a legendary resistance was put forth by our people.”
“The Turkish presence in Cyprus will continue forever”
“With the air intervention of Türkiye on August 9, 1964, a message was given to the whole world: The Turkish Cypriot people are not alone, and Motherland Türkiye is still determined to protect our sovereignty and inherent rights on this island. A legendary resistance was recorded in the pages of history. Today, in the presence of our martyrs, on the 58th anniversary of this resistance, we declare: The Turkish presence in Cyprus will continue forever,” the President said.
President Tatar stated that peace came to the island with the Cyprus Peace Operation on July 20, 1974, 10 years after the Erenköy struggle. He reiterated that “what is needed is an agreement, and that this settlement can only be reached with the cooperation of two equal sovereign States coexisting side-by-side, and the guarantee of Motherland Türkiye.”
“We will continue to live in these lands in peace and freedom: We have a State, we have a Republic”
President Tatar concluded his address to the ceremony by stating: “We will continue to live in these lands in peace and freedom. Far from the atrocities committed against our people from 1963 to 1974, we are today living in peace without fear of being abducted or attacked by Greek-Greek Cypriot forces. We proclaimed our own State, we live in our own Republic, which is the symbol of our sovereignty. We owe our very existence to our martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Turkish Cypriots to be able to live in freedom, in independence, in honour and in dignity. I commemorate all our martyrs and veterans who have passed away with respect and gratitude, may they rest in eternal peace, and I express my gratitude to our veterans who are alive — may they live a long and healthy life. May God give patience and ease to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones, who were martyred here in Erenköy.”
President Tatar also said he had “taken note of the remarks made by the Erenköy Veterans’ Association chairman Mustafa Arıkan,” and emphasised that “we will shape our policies in accordance with what you have said here today”.