Over 370 Turkish Cypriots were killed by a Greek Cypriot terrorist group during the infamous 1963 "Bloody Christmas" massacre.
Turkish Cypriots in London gathered in front of the office of the Greek Cypriot High Commission to commemorate Turkish Cypriots who were killed or displaced during "Bloody Christmas" in 1963.
On Wednesday evening, the 59th anniversary of the massacre, also known as "Black Christmas", Turkish Cypriots lit candles in memory of those who were killed and exhibited the photographs of those who lost their lives or went missing during the attacks by the Greek Cypriot terrorist group EOKA.
Hundreds of Turkish Cypriots were killed in systematic attacks by Greek Cypriots in 1963. Here’s what happened during “Bloody Christmas” pic.twitter.com/Lm3NUCDAFd— TRT World (@trtworld) December 23, 2020
The events leading up to Bloody Christmas started in 1955 with the foundation of EOKA, a nationalist terrorist group. It was led by Georgios Grivas, a veteran officer of World Wars I and II, and a staunch opponent of communists and Turks.
Active in Cyprus, then ruled by the UK, EOKA targeted not only British soldiers and civil servants but also Turkish and Greek Cypriots who opposed its extreme ideology and its goal of union with Greece.
During the infamous "Bloody Christmas" massacre, also called “Black Christmas,” EOKA killed more than 370 Turkish Cypriots and displaced 25,000-30,000 others during the Christmas season of 1963.
Call for apologies
Eren Ramadan, founder and chairman of the Young Turkish Cypriots group in London, said they gathered to pay their respects to the victims and were trying to show the world what happened nearly 60 years ago.
"Such a sad atmosphere (here). Very somber...We'll just try to be as respectful as we can today,” he said.
He said that 1963 was the beginning of the problems for Turkish Cypriots.
"Because of the Greek Cypriot coup, Turkish Cypriots have lost their representation on the international stage. 1963 marks the start of the Cyprus problem and the start of Turkish Cypriot isolation."
At the end of the event, the gathering prayed for those who lost their lives during the massacre.
Meanwhile, a letter from the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (UK) was left at the Greek Cypriot High Commission building.
In the letter, Turkish Cypriots called on Greek Cypriots to recognise the suffering of Turkish Cypriots and to apologise for their role in their persecution.
It also called on Greek Cypriots to "bring to justice all those responsible for crimes against humanity and end the inhumane embargoes against Turkish Cypriots."
READ MORE: "Bloody Christmas' in Cyprus continues to haunt people 59 years on"