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The Peace & Freedom Dawn Vigil


For the first time in history, the Turkish Cypriots welcomed the 20th of July Peace and Freedom Day with a “Dawn Vigil” festival. The festival, which was organised by the “Organisation Committee” which ATCA had full representation, welcomed the arrival of the 20th of July by staging the vigil festival which started as from 11 o’clock on the 19 July and which ended at 6am in the morning on the 20 July.

ATCA would like to thank all its members and the people who attended in large numbers to make the even so successful. 
Historic Vigil
The “Dawn Vigil” Festival was attended by thousands at the Yavuz Cıkarma (AKA Escape) Beach in Alsancak, the very spot where Turkey landed her troops 36 years ago.

The participants celebrated the arrival by taking part in the Dawn Vigil Festival which commenced on the night of the 19 July – which continued until dawn on the 20 July. The successful event brought together people of all ages and sections – from Ministers to Businessman to the general public. At precisely 12 o clock the event commenced with the speeches of the Foreign Press Association Chairman Fevzi Tanpınar who made a speech on behalf of the Organisation Committee – where he drew attention to the importance of the Dawn Vigil – and the hard days lived by the Turkish Cypriots between 1963-1974. He also described the many vigils that had been kept by Mothers, Fathers and even children during the attacks of Greek Cypriot armed militia against Turkish Cypriot civilians – which resulted in the Turkish Peace Intervention in 1974 – liberating the Turkish Cypriots.

The founding President Rauf Raif Denktaş also addressed the participants where he talked about the continuing intransigent approach taken by the Greek Cypriot side in wanting to get Turkey out of Cyprus in order to make Cyprus a Greek dominated island – and warned Turkish Cypriots to know the value and importance of the presence of the Turkish army. Denktaş said if the intervention had not taken place, there would not have been a Turk left in Cyprus.
An address was also made by Zorlu Töre, the Agricultural and Natural Resources Minister, where he spoke of gratitude to the Motherland and the long years of persecution suffered by the Turkish Cypriots and their desperate calls for help from Turkey.

Following the addresses, the concert part of the festival was held where Bülent Ortaçgıl and Yasemin Kumral gave an outstanding performance as the night progressed.

At about 3am, the participants held torhces and walked down to the beach where the first Turkish soldiers had set foot on the island as part of the Peace operation. The site was magnificent – the whoel shore was lit up with the torches and a one hour silence was observed symbolising the long wait of the Turkish Cypriots for the arrival fo the Turkish army 36 years ago.

A spectacular fireworks and laser display was held as the Near East University and Girne American University boats neared the shore and boats carrying veterans carrying the Turkish and TRNC flags, bouquets and doves – and history was relived by the participants.

10 imams then took to the pontoon and at precisely 4:30am – the time when the first batch of Turkish soldiers arrived on the shores 36 years ago, the morning Ezan and prayers were recited. Morning breakfast was also served before the event came to a close.


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