North London launch event for new Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society

Members of the Turkish Women’s Philanthropic Association (TWPA) are spearheading a new initiative to help recognise the contributions of Turkish Cypriot men and women to Britain’s armed forces, particularly during the era when Cyprus was part of the British Empire.

On Sunday, 17 September, TWPA members whose relatives served in the British military will launch a new group, the Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society, at their North London, Turnpike Lane premises and they warmly invite other Turkish Cypriots whose relatives served Britain to also attend and share their stories.

TWPA’s new President Seyyare Beyzade (pictured top) told T-VINE why her members were forming the Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society:

“All too often we forget the sacrifices our relatives before us have made to give us the freedom we now enjoy and take for granted. Among those most regularly overlooked are the Turkish Cypriot men and women who joined the British forces not just as soldiers, but also as medical and civilian staff. It’s a story dating back to when Cyprus was a British colony right to the present day.

“Many members of the TWPA have relatives who served in the Cyprus Regiment and supported the British army elsewhere; fathers, brothers and even mothers, whom we need to remember and ensure we pass down their stories to future generations. Turkish Cypriots have served in the Second World War, and in the Suez, Malayan, Korean, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.”

The inaugural session of the Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society on 17 September is open to all. It will include an exhibition about Cyprus’ contribution to World War II and a talk by former journalist John Oakes, who has been integral in getting Turkish Cypriots involved in Remembrance Sunday events to ensure their contributions to Britain are not forgotten, with TWPA members among those who have been the most responsive in the Turkish Cypriot community.

“Our late President, Aysın Yılmaz, was always very passionate about ensuring Turkish Cypriots were represented at Remembrance Day services, and TWPA members have regularly attended events in our local borough of Haringey,” said current TWPA head Ms Beyzade.

Noting the growing participation, Ms Beyzade also remarked on how the new Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society can help: “It’s been great to see more Turkish Cypriots participate by laying wreaths in tribute to our fallen at recent Remembrance Sunday events. We feel with better co-ordination, we can achieve even more, which has spurred the TWPA members into launching the Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society.

“This new group will help collect and record individual Turkish Cypriots’ stories about those who’ve served in the British military. It will also ensure we not only maintain, but also increase the community’s presence at Remembrance Sunday events and push for inclusion at major national events, such as the annual procession at the Cenotaph and the wreath-laying service at Wayne’s Keep in Cyprus,” continued Ms Beyzade.

For John Oakes, the now retired Deputy Editor of T-VINE Magazine, the new Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society is a welcome development, which can cement his efforts of the past seven years to raise the community’s awareness of, and participation in Britain’s annual memorial day to its troops.

Turkish Cypriots who served and died for Britain: Sergeant Cemal Mustafa (left) and Sapper Patrick Cengiz Azimkar


“Although people of Turkish Cypriot heritage have participated in Remembrance Sunday events for decades, it’s rare that any of them were representing the Turkish Cypriot community or have laid a wreath specifically dedicated to Turkish Cypriots who have served and died for Britain,” Mr Oakes explained.

“T-VINE Magazine drove a major campaign to raise awareness to change this. In the past few years, we’ve not only brought to light important stories about the bravery of Turkish Cypriot soldiers, such as Cemal Mustafa and Sapper Patrick Cengiz Azimkar, but also helped to facilitate Turkish Cypriot participation at Remembrance Sunday services in three London boroughs – Haringey, Bexley and Waltham Forest.

“My hope is the new Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society can formally take over this initiative and not only grow the community’s participation, but also create a permanent legacy that ensures the service and sacrifice of Turkish Cypriots to the UK is never forgotten,” he added.

Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society launch event

The launch event for the Turkish Cypriot Poppy Society will take place at the TWPA building, near to Turnpike Lane tube and bus station in North London, on Sunday 17 September.

Turkish Cypriots whose relatives have served in the British military are encouraged to attend and sign-up to be a part of the new group. They are also encouraged to bring details about their family members who have served in the British military, so the community can start recording these.

“On Sunday, 17th September, we are having an exhibition at the TWPA Centre from 2pm. We will be showing some original Cyprus film-footage and photos from the Imperial War Museum, and hearing from community members whose parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends volunteered in the Cyprus Regiment.

“Please come join us and learn more about our brave men and women. If you have family members or loved ones who fought we would love to hear from you, come tell their story and bring photos,” said Ms Beyzade.

Seyyare Beyzade and members of the Turkish Women’s Philanthropic Association at the TWPA Centre, North London, 01 Sep. 2023. Photo © Ipek Ozerim.


The afternoon event kicks off at 2pm and is open to all. No prior registration is needed, but an email confirming attendance would be welcome to ensure TWPA can cater for all.

Those interested can contact the TWPA by telephone on 0208 340 1600 or email them at

The TWPA address is 4 Willoughby Road, Hornsey, London N8 OHR.