In his celebratory message on the occasion of Peace and Freedom day, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kudret Özersay stated that: “the Turkish Cypriot People rightfully do not wish to return to the dark days prior to 1974 and to relive those hardships. Our responsibility is to prevent the recurrence of those pains suffered by our People before 1974. With these considerations in mind, I commemorate with respect our beloved martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in our struggle in order to enable our people to live on and hold on to our land in dignity, and I celebrate our People’s Peace and Freedom Day.” Özersay further highlighted that “Although 44 years have lapsed since 20 July 1974, we still have a long way to go in terms of self-governance, standing on our own feet and institutionalizing.”

In his message, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay also drew attention to the following matters, stating:

“Between the years 1963 and 1974, the Turkish Cypriot People have suffered through a very difficult period, experiencing deprivation, displacement and loss of life, however, managed to maintain its existence by protecting its identity acting in solidarity. At the end of this difficult period, a new danger and threat arose as a result of the fascist Greek coup. As a result of the subsequent and rightful military intervention, stemming from the rights granted by the Treaty of Guarantee, the Turkish Cypriot People felt the support of the Turkish nation and consequently were able to maintain their existence as a people. Consequently, it was also possible to base any future settlement in Cyprus on bi-zonality, which is of vital importance to Turkish Cypriots.

20 July must be assessed in the following context; 20 July 1974 is a turning point in our history, which prevented Enosis and the coup from taking root; put an end to the deprivation, displacement and killings of Turkish Cypriots, freeing them from the enclaves where they were forced to seek refuge. It also ensured security of life and property, as well as freedom.

I welcome first and foremost the esteemed representatives of the Republic of Turkey, as well as the Turkish Armed Forces and our other distinguished guests for being with us on this significant day.”