LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on Saturday commemorated the sixth anniversary of the death of its founding father Rauf Denktas, who passed away in 2012.
A commemoration ceremony attended by President Mustafa Akinci, Parliament Speaker Sibel Siber, Prime Minister Huseyin Ozgurgun and Denktas's wife Aydin was held at his grave.
"Denktas resisted with his people a threat that emanated from the desire to transform an island, where the Turkish Cypriots took root 500 years ago, into a Greek island," Akinci said in the ceremony.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
Cyprus has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, with the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K. collapsing last year.
Turkey blames Greek Cypriot intransigence for failure of the talks, and the EU for admitting Cyprus as a divided island into the union in 2004, after the Greek Cypriot administration rejected a peace deal.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was declared on Nov. 15, 1983, is currently recognized only by Turkey as an independent state.
Reprting by Murat Demirci: Writing by Diyar Guldogan