Turkish Cypriots' leader of fight for freedom Fazil Kucuk was commemorated on Friday in Lefkosa, marking 26th anniversary of his death.
A ceremony was held at the memorial tomb of Kucuk with the participation of Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat as well as other Turkish Cypriot state officials.
Talat said Kucuk was a unique leader who had assumed very important tasks, adding that Turkish Cypriots should all be proud of him.
"We take our lessons from our leader's struggle. And today we are conducting [Cyprus peace] talks by keeping in mind Kucuk's thoughts and his struggle. We are trying to achieve a settlement deal to secure that Turkish Cypriots will suffer again the pains they had to endure before 1974," Talat told the ceremony.
Fazil Kucuk was born in Nicosia in 1906 and he was the first Turkish Cypriot Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus.
Kucuk returned to Cyprus in 1937 after studying medicine at the Universities of Istanbul, Lausanne and Paris. He soon became a voice for Turkish Cypriot rights. Due to his campaign against the British colonial administration, and a paper he published was not given a permit for publication until 1942, the paper is still being published to this day.
In 1943, he became one of the founders of the Association of the Turkish Minority of the Island of Cyprus (KATAK), which aimed at promoting the social, economic and political well being of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Kucuk later parted ways with KATAK and established the Turkish Cypriot National Union Party). Following a 15 year struggle, Kucuk helped for the transfer a Turkish religious fund from British to Turkish Cypriot control.
During the 1959 London and Zurich Conferences for the creation of an independent Republic of Cyprus, Kucuk represented the Turkish Cypriot community and was able to secure constitutional safeguards for the people.
On December 3, 1959 he was elected Vice President of the new republic. Following Greek Cypriot attempts to modify the constitution Kucuk continued as the Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus until 1973.
Kucuk died in a Westminster hospital on January 15, 1984, less than a year after the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus proclaimed independence.