The 40th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has been celebrated with various events at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). Within the framework of the event program organized by the Atatürk Research and Application Center (ATAUM) and the Atatürk Ideololgy Club at EMU, a Photo Exhibition titled "40th Year of the Republic: The Path from 1958 to the Republic" and a Traditional Cypriot Folk Dance Show were held on Tuesday, 14 November, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. on the ground floor of the EMU Rector’s Office Building.
Present at the exhibition opening were Dr. Erdal Özcenk, the President of the EMU Board of Trustees; Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç, the Rector of EMU; Dr. Süleyman Uluçay, the Mayor of Famagusta; Ersun Kutup, Anıl Kaya and Hasan Esen, members of the EMU Board of Trustees; Prof. Dr. Osman M. Karatepe and Prof. Dr. Sonuç Zorlu, Vice-Rectors of EMU; Assist. Prof. Dr. Turgay Bülent Göktürk, the President of ATAUM, along with numerous students and faculty members. Additionally, representing the Denktaş family, Ender Denktaş, the daughter of Rauf Raif Denktaş, and Hakkı Atun, the former Prime Minister of TRNC and former President of the TRNC Parliament, honored the exhibition with their presence.
Speaking at the opening, Assist. Prof. Dr. Göktürk highlighted that they gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the TRNC, emphasizing the significance of understanding the past to appreciate the value of the present. He mentioned the importance of the year 1958 in the history of Cyprus and shared that they prepared an exhibition depicting the path to the republic through pictures, starting from that period.
In his speech, Prof. Dr. Kılıç expressed their excitement in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the TRNC, stating that as EMU, they have organised numerous activities within this context. Mentioning that they initially inaugurated the bust of Rauf Raif Denktaş as part of the celebratory events, Prof. Dr. Kılıç emphasized the responsibility of conveying past experiences to the youth, stating that "Societies determine their future as much as they cherish their past," and wished a blessed 40th anniversary to the Republic.
Furthermore, as part of the 40th Anniversary events of the TRNC, a "40th Year Panel" was held on Tuesday, 14 November, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. in the Mustafa Afşin Ersoy Hall at EMU. Moderated by Assist. Prof. Dr. Turgay Bülent Göktürk, the panel featured Hakkı Atun, former President of the TRNC Parliament and former Prime Minister, as the guest. The panel was attended by EMU Vice-Rectors Prof. Dr. Osman M. Karatepe and Prof. Dr. Sonuç Zorlu, faculty members, and students.
During the panel's opening, Assist. Prof. Dr. Göktürk highlighted the struggle for existence and freedom of the Turkish Cypriot people, culminating in the establishment of the TRNC based on the free will of the Turkish Cypriot Community through the joint efforts of soldiers and fighters during the peace operation. Assist. Prof. Dr. Göktürk honored the 40th anniversary of the Republic, acknowledging all the martyrs who contributed to gaining our independence and freedom.
Following this, Hakkı Atun, as someone who has been through every phase of the Cyprus issue, shared his experiences with the participants and welcomed everyone. Starting from 1958, Atun provided insights into the history of Cyprus and recounted the events leading to the establishment of the Republic. He emphasized that the TRNC, at its 40th anniversary, had progressed step by step from dark times in its history.
During the event, Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Osman M. Karatepe presented a plaque of appreciation to Hakkı Atun, while Assist. Prof. Dr. Turgay Bülent Göktürk presented a photograph from the era of the struggle, featuring Hakkı Atun in his soldier years, as a token of remembrance.