In North Cyprus and looking for a wonderful atmosphere with exhilaration and adrenaline thrown in? Then look no further this July 20th!
For those who are not familiar with this day, on the 20th July 1974, after consultation with Britain, Turkey intervened with a Peacekeeping Action to protect the Turkish Cypriot community, which was in exercise of the powers of guarantee agreed in the Treaty of Zurich. The Island has remained divided ever since and the 20th July has always been celebrated by the Turkish Cypriots and expats residing in TRNC.
Celebrations and Remembrance begin on the eve on the 19th July and the Dawn Vigil takes place on Escape Beach. The evening starts with concerts and folk dancing, then at midnight starts a poignant torch light procession down to the beach and a vigil until 4am when the first soldiers landed in 1974. An amazingly emotional and joyous experience, this event gathers together people of all ages; chilling out, singing songs, eating picnics and just soaking up the atmosphere.
Entrance is free; just park your car and go on down to Escape beach, and take your own food and refreshments (it’s not really the occasion for alcohol). This is all about Respect and Remembrance. Turkish veteran soldiers land on the beach at about 4am which is then followed by prayers and then an epic firework display. A simply stunning and extremely moving experience which you can be a part of.
If you did decide to stay up all night, you can recover in your holiday villa and head down to Kyrenia Harbour anytime after 4pm. This is definitely the best place to watch the Turkish Stars air show. The Turkish Stars (Turkish: Türk Yıldızları) are the aerobatic demonstration team of the Turkish Air Force and the national aerobatics team of Turkey. The show starts at 6pm and before the planes, there is a parade by the local school children, the army and all the armed forces.
There is a Turkish Star shop where you can buy reasonably priced t-shirts, caps and souvenirs. Once you have soaked up the atmosphere from the parade, choose either to watch the aerial display from one of the many Turkish Gullets or from one of the roof top restaurants - The White Pearl is always a favourite.
Booking is essential for both of these occasions.
Whether watching from a boat or from a rooftop bar, the harbour walls or from the top of the castle, this show is guaranteed to give you a thrill! The pilots seem to fly right at the crowds and when you are on the boats, it really does look like the planes are flying directly at the masts; incredibly low and super fast. It is such a colourful celebration, filled with emotion and pride, that you will take home unforgettable memories and phenomenal photos. Peace and Freedom Day is a must-see for anyone who is fortunate enough to be in Northern Cyprus on 20th July so make sure to spread the word!