June 4, 2023


President Ersin Tatar has stated that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has been devastated due to the deaths of thousands of people following a catastrophic earthquake – as the bodies of TRNC citizens including young sportsmen – have begun to be repatriated back to the country.

The President said the country has been left in deep sorrow as the bodies of children of the school volleyball team and two teachers were repatriated to the TRNC on Friday morning (10th February 2023) after they were found under the rubble of the collapsed building of the Isias Hotel in Adıyaman.

The TRNC, which sees the Republic of Türkiye as its motherland with deep historic ties, which also provides political and economic support to the country, is currently holding a seven-day mourning in solidarity and support to Türkiye – following the earthquake which has affected the south-eastern region of the country.

President Tatar stated: “The TRNC is feeling the deep pain and shock at the deaths of thousands of people following the devastating earthquake in Türkiye and are standing in full solidarity with our Motherland. The bodies of 10 TRNC citizens – including seven students, two teachers, and one parent, have been repatriated from Adıyaman, at around 3.30 am, following intense search and rescue efforts.

“I wish to express my heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families, loved ones, and the whole of our country at this time of great mourning and sadness.”

A state ceremony was held at Ercan airport on Friday morning. Emotional moments were lived as the coffins – draped in the flags of Türkiye and TRNC – were carried from the aircraft by families.

President Ersin Tatar, Speaker of the Parliament Zorlu Töre, Prime Minister Ünal Üstel, Turkish Ambassador to Lefkoşa Metin Feyzioğlu, Republican Turkish Party leader Tufan Erhürman, ministers, MP’s, military personnel, and other officials were also present.

The names of the students, teachers, and parents who lost their lives in the earthquake and were repatriated are as follows: İbrahim Yakula (a vice-principal), Pamir Konuklu (teacher), Fahri Arkar, Doruk Akın, Alp Akın, Özgür İçme, Lavin Kalaycı, Elvin Çavdır, Kağan Selim İş (students), Duygu Balsoy Kalaycı (parent).”

A group of 39 people – including from the boys and girls teams were in the building when it came down, and search and rescue efforts are continuing to find them.

As part of the recovery effort, the TRNC has sent a search and rescue team, consisting of 17 riot police and 10 firefighters, to Türkiye to participate in the work in the regions affected by the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş. In addition, 200 rescue workers from the TRNC, 30 members of their Civil Defence Organisation, and 8 search and rescue vehicles will go to Türkiye.

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