Home Page >> North Cyprus 13 January 2020, Monday 11:47

Rauf Denktaş: Life dedicated to Turkish Cypriots

Rauf Denktaş: Life dedicated to Turkish CypriotsTurkish Cypriots on Monday commemorated the eighth death anniversary of Rauf Denktas, the founding father of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, who passed away in 2012.
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Turkish Cypriots on Monday commemorated the eighth death anniversary of Rauf Denktas, the founding father of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, who passed away in 2012.

Denktas was born on Jan. 27, 1924, in the western Cypriot town of Baf, now on the Greek side of the island.

After graduating from the English School of Nicosia in 1941, he took up various professions working as an interpreter, judicial clerk, teacher and lawyer.

In 1944, he traveled to the U.K. to study law at Lincoln’s Inn, returning to Cyprus in 1947.

In 1942, Denktas was introduced to the ideas of former Cypriot Prime Minister Fazil Kucuk -- of whom Denktas was soon to become a close confidant -- and other prominent Turks on the island who said that their rights were being usurped by the then-British sovereign.

In 1949, he got married to Aydin Denktas.

Following his return to Cyprus, he practiced as a lawyer and after that worked as a prosecutor. Between 1956 and 1960, he served as a crown prosecutor.



Years of struggle 

On Nov. 27, 1948, Denktas and Kucuk, the voice of Turkish Cypriots, addressed a meeting held by Turkish Cypriots.

He took the role of mediator between the two important figures of Turkish community, Faiz Kaymak and Kucuk.

In 1955, Denktas led the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots against Enosis (union with Greece) and Greek nationalist EOKA terrorist group.

Denktas founded the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) in 1958 and staged a protest against Greek Cypriots who were attacking Turkish villages.

Before the London and Zurich Agreements in 1960, Kucuk and Denktas paid a visit to Turkey to meet Fatin Rustu Zorlu, then-Foreign Affairs Minister. In the meeting, Denktas proposed sending Turkish troops to the island.

He made an effort for preparation of the London and Zurich Agreements in 1959 and the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.

In the same year, he was elected as the president of the Turkish Communal Chamber's executive committee.

On Aug. 16, 1960, a Turkish regiment of 650 soldiers arrived at the Northern Cypriot port of Magusa, also known as Famagusta.

However, the Turkish Cypriots, who had been attacked since 1963 by the Greek Cypriot armed groups, were removed from the state administration by pressure and oppression.

After the incidents in 1963, Denktas went to Ankara for consultations with the Turkish government. He returned to the island by boat and began to organize Turkish resistance in the island.

In 1964, Denktas was declared persona non grata by then Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios and later in 1967, he was arrested while he was entering the island secretly.

After that, he was sent back to Turkey. When the ban on entry to the island was abolished in 1968, he returned to the island.



Political career

For the first time, in 1968, Denktas negotiated with Glafkos Clerides in Beirut for the solution of the Cyprus issue. Later, he negotiated with former Greek leaders Spiros Kyprianu, Yorgos Vasiliu, Glafkos Klerides and Tassos Papadopoulos for years.

Denktas, who was elected as president of the Turkish Communal Chamber in an election, went into politics in 1970.

Later, he served as vice president of Cyprus and head of Cyprus-Turkish Administration in 1973.

The 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.

Following the operation, Turkish Federated State of Cyprus was established on Feb. 13, 1975, with Denktas being elected president and parliament speaker.

Denktas was elected to three more terms as president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) after its establishment on Nov. 15, 1983.

Denktas rejected the “Annan Plan” put forward by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2014.

While the plan was rejected by more than 70% of the Greek side, 60% of the island’s Turks approved it despite the failure of the plan.

Denktas, who was not a candidate in the presidential elections in April 17, 2005, handed over his post to Mehmet Ali Talat on April 24.



Social life

Besides his political career, he wrote many books and articles from 1985 to his death. Denktas, who liked photography, held a large number of photography exhibitions about Cyprus.

Denktas, a fluent speaker of both Turkish and Greek, is survived by his six children. He authored more than 50 publications including a memoir spread over 10 volumes.

Denktas passed away at the age of 88 in a hospital on Jan. 13, 2012. On his death, Turkey and the TRNC declared national mourning.


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