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15-08-2019 11:45 | Read 1152 times

Statue of Topel unveiled as jets honour him with a fly-past performance

AN F-100 fighter jet – the same model as the Turkish Air Force plane shot down by Greek Cypriots 55 years ago during the Erenköy resistance – and a new statue were unveiled in memory of hero pilot Cengiz Topel at a ceremony on last Thursday.

Statue of Topel unveiled as jets honour him with a fly-past performance

By KEREM HASAN

Chief Reporter

Four modern-day F-16 jets performed a fly-past in honour of the pilot, who was captured, heavily tortured and shot by Greek Cypriot forces after ejecting from his aircraft on August 8, 1964, when it was hit while defending the Turkish Cypriot enclave of Erenköy.

The body of Cengiz Topel, who was 29, was later returned to Turkey and is buried in Edirnekapı, İstanbul.  He was the first Turkish fighter pilot killed in action.

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and a relative of Topel joined President Mustafa Akıncı, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and other senior government and military officials at the emotional ceremony.

Mr Akıncı paid tribute to the pilot, telling those in attendance that he and others had sacrificed their lives for Turkish Cypriots’ freedom.

The F-100 jet, which was no longer in service, was restored in Turkey and then brought over to the TRNC and installed at the existing coastal Cengiz Topel monument site near Lefke.

It was placed on a plinth bearing a commemorative plaque listing the names of Turkish pilots and veterans who saw action in Cyprus, beside a statue of Cengiz Topel.

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