When a public servant pays the ultimate price with their life while serving their country, they deserve our utmost respect. Instead, if you are of Turkish Cypriot origin and served under British rule, your sacrifice is not only regularly overlooked, but also shown utter contempt by the British authorities.
We are never invited, for example, to march at Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday to recall the hundreds of brave Turkish Cypriot soldiers who fought for the British Empire during the Second World War or in Egypt during the Suez Crisis — my late uncle Fuat Ozturk among them.
Even locally our sacrifices are ignored. When the Girne monument dedicated to 62 police officers — 25 Turkish Cypriot, 18 British, 17 Greek Cypriot, a Maronite and a Maltese — killed by Greek Cypriot terror group Eoka during the Cyprus Emergency (1955 to 1960) was unveiled in 2014, the British High Commissioner was shamefully nowhere to be seen.
Mindful of the way Peter Millett, another British High Commissioner, was frozen out by South Cyprus for attending the unveiling of a memorial to the 371 British servicemen killed during the Cyprus Emergency in 2009, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office chose to skip the 2014 event.
Their decision prompted a powerful response: “Britain’s Foreign Office — makes you ashamed to be British”, by fellow Cyprus Today columnist, retired Colonel John HughesWilson.
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