26 August 2022

The Museum of Barbarism Was Put Back Into Service in the TRNC After TİKA’s Renovation Works

The Museum of Barbarism was put back into service in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) after the renovation works performed by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).

The opening ceremony held after the renovation of the Museum of Barbarism in Nicosia, the capital of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), was attended by Ersin Tatar, President of the TRNC; Zorlu Töre, Speaker of the Republic’s Assembly; Ünal Üstel, Prime Minister of the TRNC; Fikri Ataoğlu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth, and Environment of the TRNC; Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Türkiye; Ali Murat Başçeri, Türkiye’s Ambassador to Nicosia; Serkan Kayalar, President of TİKA; Major Nihat İlhan’s son, Mustafa Necmi İlhan, and his family; and representatives of other institutions and organizations.

Tatar stated that when he was elected as President, he wanted to make his first official visit to Elazığ, the hometown of Major Nihat İlhan. He noted that he grew up thinking about the massacre of the İlhan family by the Greek Cypriots and the events during Greek atrocities. He added, “I empathize with those who were persecuted, on my own behalf and on behalf of my people. May Major İlhan rest in peace. When he was informed about this incident (the horrible massacre of his family by the Greek Cypriots), he said, ‘Long live the homeland.’ It is priceless that Major İlhan, who was an Army Doctor and had lost his wife and three children, said, ‘Long live the homeland,’ in that state of mind. I wish Allah’s mercy on him.”

Tatar described the process of establishment of the TRNC and stated that many people died for the country. He added that they have an important Turkish state in the current conjuncture in the Eastern Mediterranean, thanks to martyrs.

Tatar reminded that the 3 ships accompanying the drillship Abdülhamid Han, which was deployed last week to operate in the Eastern Mediterranean, were named after Major Nihat İlhan’s children, Murat, Hakan, and Kutsi. He said that this was a great act of fidelity, and congratulated those who contributed to it.

“A new era began in 1974”

Tatar noted that Greek gangs’ murders of Turkish people began in 1963, but that a new era began after Türkiye’s Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974, which restored the balance between Turkish and Greek sides in the Eastern Mediterranean.

President Tatar stated that the perpetrators of these massacres were Tassos Papadopoulos, who was the leader of the Republic of Cyprus, which turned into a Greek Republic, and the EOKA gangs under his command.

Tatar added that the perpetrators of these murders are known but have never been brought to justice.

Tatar thanked TİKA and Türkiye for implementing this project.

Zorlu Töre, Speaker of the Republic’s Assembly, stated that the Turkish Cypriots had never lost their hope despite the difficulties they had faced for 96 years from 1878 to 1974, but that they had been looking forward to Türkiye’s arrival.

Töre called the barbarism that the İlhan family faced 59 years ago “genocide” and stressed that they need to inform younger generations about these incidents.

Prime Minister Üstel underlined that they will not forget those who were martyred before the TRNC was established. He said, “The world should once again see the barbaric Greek Cypriots, who perpetrated the events of Bloody Christmas, which began on December 21, 1963, and martyred 3 innocent children with their family, for what they really are.”

Üstel reminded that they are free today thanks to the Peace Operation in 1974. He said, “Together with the leaders at that time, we fought for independence and established the TRNC. We are defending and will continue to defend the co-existence of two sovereign states.”

Fikri Ataoğlu stated that the family of Major Nihat İlhan, who dedicated their life to the Cyprus issue, were martyred in a way they did not deserve.

Ataoğlu stressed that the Turkish Cypriots did not forget about the incidents that took place 59 years ago. He said, “The murders of the wife and 3 innocent children of Major Nihat İlhan are among the tragic examples of Greek persecution between 1963 and 1974 and justify the cause of the Turkish Cypriots.”

“We will never forget how Greek gangs brutally murdered İlhan’s wife and three children without blinking an eye”

Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy wished Allah’s mercy on those who were martyred during “Bloody Christmas”, one of the most brutal massacres in history, and all other martyrs, and paid his respects to them.

Ersoy stated that it is not easy for anyone to talk about this incident. He said, “Even though it has been 59 years, the pain of this massacre is still fresh in the depths of our hearts. I do not believe that we will be able to forget about this painful incident even for a second in our lives. Yes, we will not forget about it. We will never forget how Greek gangs brutally murdered the wife and three children of Major Nihat İlhan, who worked as an Army Doctor in the Cyprus Turkish Regiment in the Republic of Cyprus and only wanted to save people’s lives as a healthcare professional, without blinking an eye.”

Ersoy stressed that they will continue to tell the whole world about this brutal incident, which took place in 1963, under any circumstances and on every platform. He said, “We will tell everyone how Greek terrorist organizations tied up and killed women, children, and elderly people, buried them in mass graves, shot children, and launched the most barbaric attacks. It is one of our greatest responsibilities towards our martyrs and our history.”

Ersoy noted that the Cyprus issue is a national cause that has a great place in the hearts, conscience, and history of the Turkish people. He said that the heroic struggle in 1974 was for the deserving cause of a great nation.

Ersoy stated that they will work day and night for the peace, safety, and global position of the Turkish Cypriots. He said, “The Greek Cypriots targeted our children by committing a great crime. However, they did not take into consideration the fact that our state is very powerful and that it will never forget about these incidents or let them be forgotten. Thankfully, our nation never forgets any martyr or cedes even one inch of land. This nation will never forget Murat İlhan, Kutsi İlhan, or Hakan İlhan, just as they have never forgotten Fatih or Mustafa Kemal. Today, the whole world sees that we have not forgotten these people.”

Ersoy added that the opening of the Museum of Barbarism was an important step to ensure that these events are not forgotten, and to tell the world community about them. Ersoy noted that some problems arose in the museum due to climatic and urban conditions, and that the Ministry decided to commission TİKA, which has carried out very successful activities in the TRNC, to renovate the Museum of Barbarism.

Ersoy said, “We started working on the renovation of the museum last year and completed the electrical, mechanical, exhibition, and landscaping works faithfully by combining modern and traditional museology. In accordance with contemporary museology, digital resources have been improved to provide a complete account of the events. The Memory Pool offers details and archival images of those who were martyred or disappeared in Cyprus, as well as their life stories and photographs, official documents about them, and the place and time of death, if available.”

Ersoy added that the opening of TİKA’s Program Coordination Office in Nicosia contributed greatly to the renovation works by ensuring institutionalization, more effective coordination by carrying out the activities on the site. He said that they will continue to make efforts to boost the tourism industry, increase employment, ensure economic growth, and strengthen cultural and artistic cooperation.

“The Museum of Barbarism has become a symbol of the just struggle of the Turkish Cypriots”

Serkan Kayalar, President of TİKA, said, “This house has become a symbol of the just struggle of the Turkish Cypriots.”

Kayalar added that the project of the Museum of Barbarism is TİKA’s second museum project in the TRNC, and that TİKA has implemented nearly 100 projects in the TRNC since 2019.

Prof. Mustafa Necmi İlhan, the son of Major Nihat İlhan, referred to the murders of the Turkish Cypriots in 1963. He said, “More than 360 Turkish Cypriots were martyred in the attacks carried out by killers who were members of EOKA to destroy the Turkish presence in Cyprus 59 years ago, while tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots were displaced due to the attacks. My father, Nihat İlhan, who was a soldier, a doctor, and above all, a person, lost his whole family and joy of living.”

Prof. Dr. İlhan, who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Gazi University, reminded that his father said, “Long live the homeland,” despite his great pain. Prof. İlhan said, “Our state is powerful. It is very powerful. It never forgets or lets the world forget the genocide against the Turkish Cypriots or the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots for survival.”

After the speeches, the invitees took a tour of the museum.

Bloody Christmas

The armed attacks launched by the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots on December 21, 1963, are called Bloody Christmas and are considered the beginning of the intercommunal conflicts on the island.

Zeki Halil and Cemaliye Emirali were shot and killed in their car in the neighborhood of Taht-el-kale in Nicosia on the night of December 20, 1963.

Greek gangs continued their attacks in Kumsal, Nicosia, on December 24, 1963, and brutally murdered the wife and three children of Major Nihat İlhan, who worked as an Army Doctor in the Cyprus Turkish Regiment in the Republic of Cyprus.

Major Nihat İlhan’s wife, Mürüvvet İlhan, and their three children were found dead in the bathtub in their house, which was later turned into the Museum of Barbarism and opened for visitors.

103 Turkish villages attacked during the events were evacuated. 364 Turkish Cypriots were martyred in the events that began in 1963 and continued in 1964 in Cyprus.

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