President Ersin Tatar takes part in the symbolic opening of the North Cyprus Turkish Community Centre of Victoria building

President Ersin Tatar has paid a visit to the North Cyprus Turkish Community Centre of Victoria and participated in a symbolic opening ceremony of the centre that is undergoing a major refurbishment.



President Tatar was accompanied by the Consulate General of the Republic of Türkiye to Melbourne, Doğan F. Işık and TRNC Honorary Representative to Melbourne Hasan Sayar.  Welcoming the President to the centre were Candan Ahmet, the president of the centre, along with administrative board members.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the symbolic opening as the community centre is continuing to undergo a major refurbishment.    The President was taken on a tour of the centre, and took part in a foundation laying ceremony for the construction of the 53 capacity car park.

Speaking during the visit, President Tatar, who was briefed about the history and services provided by the centre, said: “The North Cyprus Turkish Community Centre of Victoria has its roots going back to 1949 – when 13 Turkish Cypriots met up at the House of Ahmet Mustafa, where the idea of purchasing a centre for the Turkish Cypriots was first discussed.  I wish to pay tribute to each and every person who was instrumental and had the determination and vision to open a Turkish Cypriot community centre, to serve our community.”

President Tatar paid tribute to Hasan Dellal, who was the first president of the association, who spearheaded efforts to make the Turkish Cypriot community more visible and recognised in Australia.   He said the community centre, known in the 1950s as the Cyprus Turkish Association, had been granted permission by the President of the Republic of Türkiye, İsmet İnönü, to lay a wreath at the Shrine on ANZAC Day on behalf of Republic of Türkiye, which at the time had no formal embassy in Australia.

“I am proud to see that the centre is playing an important service in teaching our language, culture, traditions and social welfare, by facilitating weekly gatherings and luncheons, and organising social activities and events for the Turkish Cypriot community in Melbourne,” he said.

Stating that the president of the centre, Candan Ahmet, had visited him in Lefkoşa and had invited him to Australia, President Tatar stated: “I commend you and the administrative team, and those who are not alive today, who have served our community, and played a fundamental role in educating our youth about their history and culture.”

“I believe that although not fully completed, the major refurbishment of the community centre will be able to provide even more activities and service to our community,” President Tatar said.

President Tatar referred to the achievements of the centre, including organising a welcome party for the Turkish Olympic wrestlers in 1956, who were visiting Australia to participate in the Olympics, unaware that they would have Turkish Cypriots – the only Turks in Australia at the time – to welcome and cheer them on their arrival.

Referring to the 80th anniversary of the arrival of Turkish Cypriots to Australia, President Tatar said: “The community centre gives people an opportunity to socialise, learn and access key services. The North Cyprus Turkish Community Centre of Victoria has played a significant and historic role in helping the Turkish Cypriots to become a recognised community in multicultural Australia.  Your unity and solidarity are of the utmost importance to us.”