Everything you need to know about this year’s Şafak Nöbeti / Dawn Vigil in the TRNC

The organisers of North Cyprus’ annual Şafak Nöbeti, or Dawn Vigil, have released details for this year’s event.

Now in its fourteenth year, this poignant commemoration event allows members of the public to gather on the Girne beach where Turkish troops first landed in the early hours of 20 July 1974 and to recall their bravery of during this vital intervention that not only liberated Turkish Cypriots, but also ended the Athens-backed coup on the island and the conflict raging among different factions of Greek Cypriots.

Each year, the programme starts with a celebratory feel comprising of music and other fun activities on the evening of Wednesday, 19 July. This recalls the joy Turkish Cypriots felt following Turkiye’s intervention knowing they were finally free after being subjected to a decade of brutal oppression at the hands of nationalist Greek Cypriots who sought to turn Cyprus into an Hellenic Republic.

After midnight, as people move down to the Yavuz Çıkarma Sahili (next to the Escape Beach Resort) to wait for the dawn as part of the Şafak Nöbeti, the mood of the event changes to a more sombre and reflective affair.

This year’s event kicks off at 22.00 local time, with the public gathering by the historic 1974 warship (now a museum) that is permanently anchored there next to the 1974 memorial and which is visible from the Alsancak main road.

Entertainment includes concerts by Ayşegül Zaim and a Turkish military band, and folk dancing courtesy of a dance troupe from Gazımağusa. Young people will also provide a martial arts display   Judo, Karate, and Taekwando. There will also be a display from the Turkish Navy’s Underwater Assault Command (Su Altı Taarruz Komutanlığı, or SAT for short) team.

The entertainment part will conclude at 23.50 and people will then begin a torchlight procession down to the Yavuz Çıkarma Sahili. Once everyone is seated on the sand (bring your own chairs or beach towels), prayers will be said for the fallen soldiers.

The event will conclude with a fireworks display just before dawn.

This remembrance event is free and open to all members of the public. Please dress and behave in accordance with the nature of the event.

Organisers also advise the section of the Alsancak main road by the 1974 memorial will be closed to traffic until the event concludes.