By KEREM HASAN
Events to commemorate the country’s birthday kicked off at noon on Thursday with a speech by President Mustafa Akıncı accompanied by 21-gun salute.
As thousands took to the streets in processions, parades, ceremonies and activities around North Cyprus to mark the occasion, the capital’s Ledra Palace crossing point had to be temporarily closed due to a protest by hundreds of Greek Cypriots.
An aerobatics show by the Solo Türk F-16 jet over Girne was cancelled “for operational reasons”, but an Ottoman-style marching band added colour to the main parade on Dr Fazıl Küçük Bulvarı in Lefkoşa that also saw foreign university students, schoolchildren, folk dancers and the members of the military take part.
President Akıncı saluted the public and participants from a white classic Cadillac car, rather than a usual military vehicle.
Delivering a speech at the parade, Mr Akıncı said that the Turkish Cypriots would “never accept their freedom, originality, equality and security being under threat due to bitter experiences of the past”.
“In order to build a future of political equality, security and freedom, our legitimate rights will be defended to the end with a constructive approach,” he said. “But of course, we shall expect the same constructive approach from the other [Greek Cypriot] side as well.”
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