Minister remembers ‘Bloody Christmas’ victims in Turkish Cyprus

Minister remembers ‘Bloody Christmas’ victims in Turkish Cyprus

NICOSIA - Demirören News Agency
Minister remembers ‘Bloody Christmas’ victims in Turkish Cyprus

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, attending the reopening of the Museum of Barbarism after restoration works, has commemorated Turkish Cypriots who were subjected to cold-blooded atrocities in the 1963 “Bloody Christmas.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the museum, which was restored by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), Ersoy said, “I commemorate our martyrs of the Bloody Christmas, one of the most brutal massacres in human history, with respect. Though 59 years have passed, we feel the pain of this massacre in our hearts.”

Ersoy recalled the brutal murder of Brigadier General Nihat İlhan’s wife, Mürüvvet İlhan, and their three children in Nicosia’s Kumsal district. “We won’t forget how women, children and the elderly were massacred and buried in mass graves by Greek terrorist organizations, children were shot and subjected to the most barbaric attacks. This is one of our greatest responsibilities towards our martyrs and our history.”

“The Cyprus cause has a great place in our hearts, conscience and history. We, as the great Turkish nation that is the owner of this cause, will continue to work day and night for the peace and security of the Turkish Cypriots in the world,” Ersoy added.

Remembering the words of Alija Izetbegovic, independent Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first president, after the genocide suffered by Bosnians in Srebrenica, “Whatever you do, don’t forget the genocide, because the forgotten genocide will be repeated,” the minister said it’s very important to have the Museum of Barbarism to not forget the massacre and to reinforce world public opinion.

“We will continue to maintain our solidarity with Northern Cyprus at the highest level and to carry out many works aimed at developing tourism, increasing employment, strengthening the economy, and cultural and artistic cooperation together,” the minister added.

Bloody Christmas was the outbreak of intercommunal violence between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots during the Cyprus crisis of 1963–64, on the night of December 20-21, 1963 and the subsequent period of island-wide violence amounting to civil war.

The violence led to the deaths of 364 Turkish Cypriots and 174 Greek Cypriots. Approximately 25,000 Turkish Cypriots from 104 villages, amounting to a quarter of the Turkish Cypriot population, fled their villages and were displaced into enclaves, while thousands of Turkish Cypriot houses left behind were ransacked or completely destroyed.

Turkish Cyprus, remember,