Greek and Turkish Cypriots in London gathered together on Monday 3rd April 2023 at the Cypriot Community Centre in Wood Green, to honour the memory of Greek Cypriot Costas Mishiaoulis and Turkish Cypriot Dervis Ali Kavazoglu, at an event organised by AKEL in Britain in conjunction with the Turkish Cypriot Organisation for Democracy.
Mishiaoulis and Kavazoglu, both members of the AKEL party (Mishiaoulis was also a PEO trade union official), were assassinated on 11 April 1965 when they were ambushed on the Nicosia -Larnaca road, near the village of Goshi, by members of Turkish Cypriot terrorist organisation TMT. They were fighting against chauvinism and fascism during the intercommunal fighting. They laid their lives for the friendship between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and for the peaceful co-existence of the Cypriot people.
The main speakers at the event were Secretary General of the Republican Turkish Party, Asim Akansoy (CTP), and MEP for AKEL, Giorgos Georgiou.
Welcoming speeches were also given by the District Secretary of AKEL in Britain, Andreas Gregoriou, and the Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Organisation for Democracy, Derman Sarachoglou, both stressing the importance of such events as a reminder that the sacrifice of these two Cypriot heroes should not go in vain and regardless of the obstacles in front of us, we should intensify our efforts to unite our country, Cyprus.
Furthermore, Mr Sarachoglou said, “Our heroes strongly opposed the extremist and nationalist plots of their times. They foresaw the dark future of the island in the hands of Turkish and Greek fanatics. That is why they were brutally killed by the extremist Turkish paramilitary organisation TMT. From this bi-communal event in London, we would like to express our common message to Cyprus and the world: Turkish and Greek Cypriots shall continue the unfinished struggle for a free, united, federal Cyprus, where all its lawful residents can live and work together for the prosperity of future generations. We shall continue to be significant supporters and active parts of all the initiatives that will be taken for restarting the inter-communal talks from the point left in Crans Montana negotiations on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions.”
Concluding, Mr Sarachoglou noted, “Tonight’s event is also dedicated to Kavazoglu and Mishiaouli’s comrade Nurettin Seferoglu, whom we lost last December in London. Seferoglu was one of the founders and first chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Association for Democracy. He was a fighter for the common struggle of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for social justice, peace, democracy, and unity of the Cypriot people. He had worked so closely with Kavazoglu while he was in Cyprus in the 50s and 60s. The memories of all comrades who lost their lives will always be with us.”
In his speech, AKEL MEP Giorgos Georgiou said, “We gather here to honour the hero-martyrs of Greek-Turkish friendship – Dervish Ali Kavazoglu and Costas Mishiaoulis – a debt owed to our common homeland, since their murder is a symbol of our friendship. Cyprus belongs to its people… To recall the words of the great poet Nazim Hikmet, who addressed the Turkish Cypriots in 1954: ‘The appeal and desire of your Turkish brothers is this: join forces with your Greek brothers for peace and freedom in Cyprus, so that the island is freed from colonization and its function as a military base for the imperialism…’
“Dervish admired Hikmet. In his letter signed ‘Turkish branch of AKEL’ to Nihat Erim, who arrived on the island in 1957 as Menderes’ ‘advisor’ on Cyprus issues, he prophetically says: ‘The Cypriot people, Turks and Greeks lived and live together in these lands.’ The idea of dividing the island, which was recently proposed to the British Parliament by the British foreign minister, apart from the fact that it cannot provide a definitive solution to the Cyprus problem, is also impractical.
“Cyprus belongs to its people, neither to the gray nor to the blue wolves of nationalism and fascism. Neither to NATO nor to the motherlands… As we are reminded by Menikos and Fazil Oder, Hikmet and Gyurkan, Petrou and Ttofaris, Papalazaros and Sotiris Adamou, victims of the chauvinists of Grivas and Denktash.”
Mr Georgiou concluded by saying “a great opportunity for a solution to the Cypriot problem in Crans Montana was lost. Much has been said about the responsibilities of that wreck. We know very well who is responsible, but let’s not go back. Seven precious years have passed. Things have changed a lot since then. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot Tatar leadership claim a two-state solution, are launching the settlement of Famagusta and are planning the forcible assimilation of the Turkish Cypriot community.
“The dramatic geopolitical realignments brought about by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, elevate Turkey’s strategic role, making it an absolutely useful ally for NATO, the West, and the Europeans. Presenting it, defiantly, as a ‘power of peace’ and on the right side of history. This is how history is ‘read’ today…
“Together with our progressive Turkish Cypriot compatriots, in more difficult circumstances, faithful to the vision of Kavazoglu – Mishiaoulis, we are strengthening the fight for BBF with political equality, as described in the relevant UN resolutions, firmly committed to the agreed basis and framework and the negotiating acquis.”
In turn, Mr Akansoy said, “The lives and the consequent murders of Kavazoglu and Mishiaoulis is a reality of the island’s past and it is impossible to reach a solution without addressing this. All the books about Kavazoglu write the same thing. He was a Leader, a natural leader. He held an honorable and courageous stance against fascism. He was fearless and most importantly a believer.
“We need to take into account his stance against the destruction brought upon by the Denktash regime, his stance against the division and against the nationalists poisoning of both sides. I think that historically, the biggest weakness of the Turkish-Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot left, is the failure to conduct criticism and self-criticism mechanisms among themselves in a trust-based framework. Historic opportunities that we once held have unfortunately now faded into the pages of history. There are the examples of 2004 and 2017.”
He added, “We need to start from where we left off in 2017 at Crans Montana and proceed with the same parameters, but with a different methodology. On this basis, the Guterres framework may need to be revisited and improved.
“The Cyprus problem, as stated in the latest report of UN Secretary-General Guterres that is approved at the UN Security Council, is only possible with a bi-zonal, bi-communal, comprehensive solution based on political equality. That is how we can reach a united, federal Cyprus. Again, in the same report, Secretary General Guterres directly referred to the will of both communities to reach a solution, stating that the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are the subjects of this solution that is, the communities are the decision makers of the solution to the Cyprus problem.”
Mr Akansoy stressed that “if the newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Christodoulides, continues the hawkish stance he had on the Cyprus problem before he became President, this will also determine how the process in the Cyprus problem will evolve. Demanding negotiations by setting preconditions will lead to a stalemate for the leaders of both communities. The only condition should be that the UN Security Council resolutions should lead our way and form the common ground for a solution. Setting preconditions will lead to further deadlocks.”
The event finished with a dedication speech from Emine Ibrahim about her uncle, Nurettin Seferoglu, known as “Hotza”, who sadly passed away last December. He knew both Kavazoglu and Mishiaouli very well and contributed so much to the unification of Cyprus.
At this point, a bouquet of flowers was presented to Nurettin’s wife, Fatma.
The evening also included poetry read by Aycan Sarachoglou and songs performed by Kemal.