President Ersin Tatar attends the ceremony and funeral of Turkish Cypriot Birkan Uzun, held in front of the Güzelyurt District Office building: "Birkan will never be forgotten"
President Ersin Tatar paid tribute to Birkan Uzun at an emotionally charged ceremony held in Güzelyurt, where he commended his academic and sporting successes and said Birkan became an iconic figure and a "shining example and inspiration" for Turkish Cypriot youth.
Birkan Uzun received his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction. Originally from Güzelyurt, he was a resident of Seattle, USA. He became the national hero of Turkish Cypriots in the TRNC and abroad due to his successes in his profession and sporting career. Birkan Uzun flew the TRNC flag on the highest points of five continents of the world, his fifth being the summit of Vinson Massif in Antarctica on December 16, 2021. He died following a skiing accident in Oregon, United States of America, on December 31, 2021, which shocked the country.
The body of Birkan Uzun arrived at Ercan Airport last night (Sunday, January 9) and was met by family members, friends, President Tatar and presidential staff. The coffin was carried from the aircraft to the hearse by 10 TRNC athletes and was driven to the Cengiz Topel hospital in Yeşilyurt. This morning (January 10) Birkan's coffin, draped in the TRNC flag, was brought to the Güzelyurt District Office building where a ceremony was held. Emotional moments were lived as the coffin was carried by 10 national athletes of the TRNC from 10 different sports federations. In attendance were friends of Birkan who travelled to the TRNC from different parts of the world, many state officials, his family, loved ones and members of the public.
“We have been devastated since January 1”
In the speech delivered by President Ersin Tatar in front of the Güzelyurt District Office building, he underlined Birkan Uzun's courage, talent, virtuous stance and love for his homeland, flag and people.
President Tatar said: “Birkan is a source of pride and inspiration to the Turkish Cypriot youth. Since January 1, our hearts have been aching. His sudden unexpected death has caused his family, his people and his country devastation. Birkan was only 28 years old but he contributed a lot to the TRNC in his short life. In addition to his academic success, he had been an exemplary person in business life by working in world renowned organisations and he was also a successful sportsman, making us and his family proud with his achievements.”
"It is our duty to keep alive the name of Birkan. . .our pride and source of inspiration!”
Underlining that Birkan succeeded in waving the TRNC flag, which is the “symbol of our sovereignty and independence, on the summit of the world's five continents, which he carried out under his 7-Continents, 7-Summits project", President Tatar said: “In raising our flag at these summits, Birkan has become a source of inspiration and hope for our youth who continue to face unjust embargoes. . .he gave the important message that success can be achieved if desired from the heart and mind; It is a great honour to raise such a successful young person in the TRNC. I offer my deepest condolences and sympathies to the bereaved family and loved ones of our son, Birkan.”
President Tatar pointed out that Birkan Uzun's name will be kept alive, adding: “This is our duty. We will never forget or allow Birkan or his legacy to be forgotten. His words and advice to the young generation can be deemed as his last will and testament which we have a duty to carry forward," he said.
“He became a source of pride for his family and country with his achievements”
Birkan Uzun's father, Cengiz Topel Uzun, paid tribute to his son's academic achievements, saying: “Birkan had a keen interest in science from an early age and had a successful student life. Birkan is a source of pride and inspiration for his family and country with his academic, business and sports achievements and for all Turkish Cypriots living in the TRNC and abroad as well as the entire Turkish nation”.
Cengiz Topel Uzun, emphasising that Birkan is a person loved by everyone because of his immaculate character and benevolence, also touched upon Birkan's honourable struggle against the world's ignorance and disregard of the existence of the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriots people.
Underlining that Birkan had a big, kind and generous heart and he loved his country and all the people in the world without any kind of discrimination, Mr Uzun thanked everybody for attending the funeral expressing gratitude to the people of the TRNC, especially President Ersin Tatar and his staff, state officials and Birkan's friends who came from different parts of TRNC and from abroad.
The Güzelyurt ceremony ended with a funeral prayer performed at the Güzelyurt Fatih Mosque at 12.00pm following which Birkan's body was transported to Lefkoşa and buried amidst prayers at the Lefkoşa Turkish Municipal Cemetery.