Ceremony held on 10th Anniversary of the Demise of TRNC Founding President Rauf Raif Denktaş
A ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the passing of TRNC Founding President Rauf Raif Denktaş was held at his mausoleum in Lefkoşa on Thursday, January 13.
Addressing the ceremony, President Ersin Tatar paid tribute to the Founding President who devoted his life to the national cause and existence of the Turkish Cypriot people and the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. President Tatar said: “His last words were independence, freedom, sovereignty, and good relations with Turkey. We are fulfilling his will”.
The ceremony was also attended by members of the Denktaş family, Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Ataoğlu, former President Mehmet Ali Talat, Republic of Turkey Ambassador to Lefkoşa Ali Murat Başçeri, Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces Commander Major General Sezai Öztürk, Security Forces Commander Major General Zorlu Topaloğlu, Chairman of main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman, 28th Division Commander Brigadier General Taner Uysal, ministers, heads of political parties, deputies, mayors, representatives from non-governmental organisations, students and citizens.
President Ersin Tatar and Democrat Party (DP) deputy Serdar Denktaş, son of the Founding President, delivered a speech at the ceremony.
“We are fulfilling his will…”
Addressing the ceremony, President Tatar paid tribute to Rauf Raif Denktaş, saying: “When his name is uttered, the first thing that comes to mind is independence, sovereignty and the State. The last words uttered by our Founding President included independence, freedom, sovereignty and good relations with Turkey", adding: "We are fulfilling his will..."
President Tatar noted that the will of the Founding President Rauf Raif Denktaş could be fulfilled through an agreement to be made on the basis of two separate States and two separate sovereignties”. He added that negotiations for an equality based settlement has been exhausted because of the Greek Cypriot rejections and inability to share the island with the Turkish Cypriot co-owners of Cyprus.
The ceremony started at 10.00am with the laying of wreaths at the monument. A two-minutes silence was observed, as Turkish and TRNC flags were lowered to half mast as sirens were sounded across the Republic. This was followed by the reciting of the National Anthem. A Memorial Book was signed by President Tatar.
At the ceremony, a student from Sedat Simavi Industrial Vocational High School read out a poem, which was followed by prayers recited by the Grand Müftü and Head of Religious Affairs Department, Prof. Dr. Ahmet Ünsal.
President Tatar: “I was one his students”
President Ersin Tatar commemorated Denktaş with the words "Mujahideen, fighter, brave-hearted and an excellent negotiator," and added: "We all know the importance of his life-long devotion to the cause and to secure our legitimate rights and independence. Stating that he himself had number of conversations with Denktaş during his childhood years, President Tatar continued:
“He always told me about his grandfather, Şeherli Mehmet. I remember when he told me about the saddest moment of his grandfather's life. . .which was witnessing the departure of the Ottoman soldiers from the island, and the replacement of the flag when the British flag was hoisted. . . .”
The President drew attention to the importance attributed to having Guarantees, which he said was always a prominent issue raised by late Founding President Denktaş, who was also a lawyer. President Tatar said that he met with Denktaş before he died and recalled his memories of that day with the following words:
“Never give up on independence, freedom and sovereignty, and maintain close ties with Motherland Turkey. These were his last words. That was his will. We are fulfilling his will. As a person who was one of his students, who listened to what he said and who had various discussions with him, I want to say that as the President, I have put forward a new vision for a settlement in Cyprus that is based on the existence of two States, two separate sovereignties at the negotiating table and in various meetings. We will fulfil the wishes of Rauf Raif Denktaş with an agreement on this basis. There should never be a step back from this policy.”
President Tatar signed the Memorial Book: “You live in the hearts of the Turkish Cypriot people and the Turkish world”
President Tatar wrote the following in the Memorial Special Book:
“Glorious Rauf R. Denktaş,
Today, we are before you once again. The great struggle you started with your fellow fighters, where you made all kinds of sacrifices all your life in the fight to prevent us becoming a minority to the Greeks and to stop the island from being annexed to Greece; Your exemplary leadership in this struggle, your determination, your attitude and principles, will never be forgotten.
While Cyprus was prevented from becoming a Hellenic island, our people gained their freedom, independence and sovereignty and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is our source of honour, pride and power, was proclaimed.
In the foundations of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, are the efforts and great sacrifices of you and your colleagues, the resistance of our people under the leadership of [Turkish Resistance Organisation] TMT, the great support of Motherland Turkey, the blood and lives of our Mujahideen [Turkish Cypriot Freedom Fighters] and Mehmetçik [Turkish soldiers].
We are determined to keep the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is your greatest trust to us, alive forever. We will always protect our state, freedom and sovereignty at all costs and we will continue our struggle with the inspiration and strength we derive from your principles to protect them.
We will abide by your will and protect the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and have good relationship with Motherland Tukey.
We remember you once again with love, respect, gratitude and great longing. You live in the heart of the Turkish Cypriot people and the Turkish world.
May your soul rest in eternal peace, our Founding President."