London vigil to be held outside Greek Cypriot embassy to remember Turkish Cypriot victims of ‘Bloody Christmas’ 1963

British Turkish Cypriots will again be holding a vigil outside the Republic of Cyprus High Commission in central London to remember the 133 Turkish Cypriot victims killed at the start of the Cyprus Conflict sixty years ago.

The details of the vigil were shared by Young Turkish Cypriots (YTC), one of the event’s organisers, on its social media pages with a call for members of the public to attend to pay their respects “to all Turkish Cypriots murdered during the Bloody Christmas massacres of 1963”.

First started by human rights group Embargoed! in 2010, this poignant remembrance event outside the Greek Cypriot embassy sees a candle lit for each victim, alongside their photos, as prayers are recited.

To date, no Greek Cypriot government has officially acknowledged the horrific state-sanctioned events that led to the murder of 133 Turkish Cypriot civilians at the hands of Greek Cypriot militants during a ten-day killing spree that started on 21 December 1963, nor have any of the culprits been arrested and tried for their crimes.

The militants were part of the EOKA terror group, who helped implement the Akirtas Plan, an orchestrated plot prepared by the Cypriot President, Archbishop Makarios, and his fellow Greek Cypriot government ministers to push their Turkish Cypriot partners out of government and seize control of the Republic of Cyprus.

The island-wide massacres saw 133 Turkish Cypriots killed and hundreds more imjured. A quarter of all Turkish Cypriots, some 25,000 to 30,000 people, were also displaced at gunpoint, as their homes and neighbourhoods were razed to the ground in arson attacks.

Greek Cypriots have tried hard to erase this part of the island’s tragic history, preferring to focus solely on the events at the end of the ten year conflict, when Turkiye intervened in response to an Athens-backed coup on 15 July 1974.

As YTC notes in its vigil post, “Cyprus was divided in 1963. Not 1974”.

Event Details

Title: Remember Bloody Christmas

Date: Thursday 21 December 2023

Time:  6.30pm to 8.30pm

Venue: Republic of Cyprus High Commission, 13 St James’s Square, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4LB