The time in North Cyprus is

Martyrs Memorials

Lefke and Gaziveren, North Cyprus

The Gaziveren memorial at Lefke, North Cyprus
The Lefke Martyrs Memorial

In 1963 relations between the Greek and Turkish communities, separated by language, culture and religion, had deteriorated. Thirteen articles of the Constitution were attempted to be changed in favour of Greek Cypriot community, also disarming Turkish Cypriot Police and establishing the National Greek Cypriot Guards.

These measures were in clear contravention of the Treaty of Zurich, and were rejected by the Turkish Cypriots.

Matters came to a head on Christmas Eve 1963, when armed Greeks attacked a suburb of Nicosia, killing or capturing those Turkish Cypriots inhabitants who were unable to escape.

Martyrs' graves
Martyrs Graves

Armed conflict spread, with the Turkish Cypriots withdrawing into enclaves to defend themselves, abandoning some 103 villages.

The enclaves were scattered throughout the island, two of them being at Lefka, and nearby Gaziveren. The enclaves were effectively in a state of siege.

The Greek Cypriots banned the possession of of certain items by the Turkish Cypriots, and prevented those items even entering the enclaved areas.

Freedom of movement was also restricted. Initially the movement of Turkish Cypriots in and out of Lefke was not allowed at all, but this was relaxed to some extent in October 1964. Travel, however, to other Turkish areas, such as nearby Yesilirmak was still not permitted.

Martyrs' memorial at Gaziverin
The memorial at Gaziverin

In late 1963 and early 1964, Greek Cypriot militia attacked Lefke, Gaziveren, and many other enclaves.

Many men, women, and children were killed, or simply disappeared. These attacks only ceased in March, when Turkey threatened to invade. Something which, of course, they had to do in 1974.

This graveyard, which can be found on the outskirts of Lefke, contains the bodies of Turkish Cypriots from Lefke, Gaziverin, and the surrounding areas who were killed by Greek Cypriots in their quest for Enosis.

Most of the graves date to 1964, when hundreds of EOKA activists attacked Gaziveren. The attackers were held off by the residents, armed only with some hunting rifles, until the threatened intervention by Turkey forced a negotiated ceasefire.

A Monument to the Gaziverin martyrs can also be found on the coast road on the edge of Gaziverin village.

A memorial service is held at both locations in March annually.


See the location on Google maps

Back to Lefke index.