WORLD

Turkey commemorates founding father of Northern Cyprus

Turkey on Sunday commemorated the seventh death anniversary of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' founding father Rauf Denktas, who passed away in 2012.

"I remember the founding President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and pioneer of Cyprus cause Rauf Denktaş, at seventh anniversary of his death with respect and mercy," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Twitter.

Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement saying: "We respectfully commemorate the late Rauf Raif Denktaş, the founding president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, on the seventh anniversary of his passing away."

The ministry said Denktaş had devoted his entire life to the Turkish Cypriots' "dignified struggle for survival and freedom, defended the cause of the Turkish Cypriot people for rights, equality and liberty, in unity of mind and spirit with the Turkish motherland."

Denktaş will always "retain his exceptional place in our hearts and minds, as a leader who left his mark on history," it added.

"We will continue to fully support the resolute struggle of Turkish Cypriots, inspired by the late Denktas, to achieve a just and lasting solution on the Island," it concluded.

The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was declared on Nov. 15, 1983, is currently recognized only by Turkey as an independent state.

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