North Cyprus Lottery image error commemorates ‘wrong’ side

Posted: July 26, 2022, 11:17 a.m.

Last update: July 26, 2022, 12:47 p.m.

Lottery tickets are causing a political stench in the de facto state of Northern Cyprus. This is after a lot designed to commemorate the Turkish Cypriot resistance inadvertently depicted enemy Greek Cypriot fighters rejoicing with a captured Turkish flag.

North Cyprus Lottery
The fighters featured on the tickets are actually Greek nationalist paramilitaries celebrating after capturing a Turkish flag. (Image: Turkey English Posts)

In the words of the President of Northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar, “a huge and unforgivable” blunder.

The Turkish Cypriot Lottery Administration is working to recall thousands of unsold tickets designed to celebrate the 58th anniversary of the Battle of Tylliria.

Known to Greeks as the Battle of Kokkina, the 1964 conflict saw a group of outnumbered Turkish Cypriot fighters hold their ground. The battle was against the Greek Cypriot armed forces and members of the Greek nationalist paramilitary organization EOKA.

The Turkish Air Force eventually relieved the beleaguered fighters, who bombarded the Greek Cypriot positions that had encircled the Turkish Cypriot enclaves.

A decade later, Turkey invaded northern Cyprus and divided the island, a division that continues to this day.

“Big Mistake”

The image printed on the banknotes was intended to depict the beleaguered fighters, known as the Erenköy Mujahideen, who are heroes in the eyes of Turkish Cypriots.

But the figures in the image shown holding a Turkish flag are actually EOKA fighters celebrating after capturing the flag of a Turkish Cypriot stronghold four months before the Battle of Tylliria.

It is a serious mistake to use the photographs taken by Greek Cypriot soldiers and EOKA members as Erenköy Mujahideen in the lottery tickets printed by the State Lottery Administration to commemorate the glorious Erenkoy resistance”, Tatar complained.

“It’s never okay,” he continued. “Anyway, you cannot humiliate our mujahideen, the glorious Erenköy resistance, our national struggle and our holy martyrs. No one has the right. »

Investigation launched

Prime Minister Ünal Üstel said an investigation had been opened into the incident and those responsible would be fired.

In an official statement, Osman Uzun, head of the lottery administration, asked for forgiveness.

We apologize to our people and our Resistance heroes of Şanlı Erenköy for the image used as a result of an inadvertent error,” he said.

But the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Avrupa fanned the flames by accusing the lottery authority of deliberately doctoring the photo to obscure the original location and context of the image.

The draw, which was to take place on August 8, the anniversary of the battle, has been postponed for ten days. The jackpot has increased from 500,000 to 1 million Turkish liras ($56,000).

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