The opening ceremony of the international symposium titled “Cyprus on the 450th Anniversary of the Conquest: Past, Present and Future” organised with the cooperation of the Republic of Turkey Atatürk Culture, Language and History Supreme Institution, Turkish Historical Society Presidency and Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Atatürk Research and Application Center (ATAUM) took place on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at EMU Mustafa Afşin Ersoy Hall. Among those who attended the ceremony were the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ersin Tatar, the Ambassador of the Turkish Republic to Nicosia Ali Murat Başceri, Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Commander Major General Sezai Öztürk, Security Forces Commander Major Zorlu Topaloğlu, TRNC Minister of Foreign Affairs Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, MPs İzlem Gürçağ Altuğra, Zorlu Töre and Mesut Genç, President of EMU Board of Trustees Dr. Erdal Özcenk, EMU Rector Prof. Dr. Aykut Hocanın, Members of the Board of Trustees, Vice Rectors, Mujahideen and their families, academic staff and students.
The symposium, which started with a moment of silence and the National Anthem, continued with the screening of the EMU promotional film. The opening speeches of the symposium were delivered by the Chair of EMU ATAUM Assist. Prof. Dr. Turgay Bülent Göktürk, EMU Rector Prof. Dr. Aykut Hocanın, Vice President of the Turkish Historical Society, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kılınç, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Nicosia Ali Murat Başçeri and President of the TRNC Ersin Tatar.
“The Makers and Writers of History Are Together”
In his speech, EMU ATAUM Chair Assist. Prof. Dr Göktürk stated that this year marks the 450th Anniversary of the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottoman State, and, for this reason, under the coordination of EMU ATAUM, they organized a special event marking this special anniversary. Assist. Prof. Dr. Göktürk emphasized that the difference of the symposium from other organizations is that it brought together those who make history and those who write history.
In his speech, EMU Rector Prof. Dr.Aykut Hocanın provided general information about EMU and stated that they are happy to be hosting the symposium. Prof. Dr.Aykut Hocanın thanked all those who contributed to the organisation of the symposium and the institutions that supported the publication of the book "The Mujahideen Narrate" and wished the symposium to be beneficial and leave an important mark in history.
Vice President of the Turkish Historical Society Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kılınç stated that the institution carries out many scientific studies on the Turkish Cypriot History in cooperation with the TRNC Ministry of National Education and Culture and gave examples of these studies. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kılınç gave the good news that the expedition books kept by the institution during the conquest of Cyprus will be published by the institution in the next year. At the end of his speech, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kılıç thanked the participants.
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Nicosia, Ali Murat Başceri, stated that he believes that the science of history has a very important role in shaping the destiny of people and societies, and highlighted the fact that that the correct reading and understanding of history will guide future generations. Underlining that the main element of this island is the Turkish Cypriots, Başceri stated that there will be a Cyprus section in the National Library and the book "The Mujahideen Narrate" will be one of the first books to be included in this section.
“Federation is no Longer an Option for the TRNC”
TRNC President Ersin Tatar stated that the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and the Republic of Turkey are violated in Cyprus and that they will not allow these unlawful practices. Pointing out that it is a great injustice for the Greek Cypriot side to be included in the European Union as the Republic of Cyprus by disregarding the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, President Tatar stated that although the Turkish Cypriot community said yes to the referendum during the Annan Plan period, the Greek Cypriot people said no. Tatar also added that federation is no longer an option for the TRNC. Underlining that the TRNC will successfully walk into the future together with the Republic of Turkey, President Tatar wished the symposium to be beneficial for everyone.
After the opening speeches, Rector Prof. Dr. Aykut Hocanın presented silver plates to Vice President of the Turkish Historical Society, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kılınç, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Nicosia Ali Murat Başçeri and President of the TRNC Ersin Tatar for their contributions to the symposium.
The Work Presented to Mujahideen
In the continuation of the symposium, published by the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and prepared for publication by Assist. Prof. Dr. Turgay Bülent Göktürk and Süheyla Göktürk, the book “Mujahideen Narrate”, which contains the memories of the mujahideen, was presented to the mujahideen and their families.
The first session of the symposium, held in two sessions, was held at 11:30 a.m. under the chairing of Assoc. Prof. Ahmet Kılınç. In the said session, Prof. Dr. Feridun Emecen gave a presentation titled “Grand Strategy and Conquest: Cyprus 1571”, Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Çınar, “An Evaluation of the Foundations Established in Cyprus during the Ottoman Period”, Prof. Dr. Mesut Hakkı Caşın "The Rising Star of the Mediterranean, the TRNC and Its Future" and Assist. Prof. Dr. Turgay Bülent Göktürk talked about “The Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church in Decision-Making Processes”. In the second session held at 14:30 under the chairing of EMU Law Faculty Dean Prof. Dr. Prof. Turgut Turhan, Prof. Dr. Soyalp Tamçelik talked about “Considerations Regarding Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots in the Turkish Foreign Policy of the Atatürk Era”, Prof. Dr. Sevinç Aliyeva “The Cyprus Issue in Russian Policy”, Prof. Dr. Nejla Günay “The Transition of Cyprus to British Administration and Its Effect on the Armenian Events” and Prof. Dr. Yücel Acer delivered a presentation titled "Maritime Boundaries Problem in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Rights of the TRNC".