SoloTürk aerobatic display team rehearse over Girne ahead of TRNC Peace and Freedom Day

Residents of Girne in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus were treated to a preview display from one of the world’s premier aerobatic demonstration teams on Monday.

SoloTürk – the Turkish Air Force’s aerobatic display team – were practicing in the TRNC ahead of their big display for ’20 Temmuz’ [20 July] Peace and Freedom Day.

The sonic sounds of the specially-painted black, gold, white, silver General Dynamics F-16C Block 40 aircraft could be heard flying above the northern coastal city of Girne at lunchtime and again early in the evening, with residents catching glimpses of the planes as they dipped, twisted, and looped into massive circles in the air.

British Turkish Cypriot Ramadan Ismail, who is currently holidaying in North Cyprus and who filmed part of the lunchtime SoloTürk session, described what he saw to T-VINE:

“I was just sitting at the poolside bar at my hotel and suddenly heard this massive noise. The roar from the jet flight planes was deafening. I looked up and suddenly there were these jets racing across the sky making beautiful shapes. They were so low at one point I could see the patterns and colours on the F16s.”

The TRNC Transport Ministry has announced that drones and all air sports are banned from the TRNC air space for the next few days to allow SoloTürk to practice ahead of Thursday’s big military parade in the capital Lefkoşa.

SoloTürk filmed rehearsing above Girne, 17/7/23, footage courtesy of Ramadan Ismail

2023 display details

SoloTürk have become an annual feature of Peace and Freedom Day, which is a public holiday in the TRNC to commemorate the lives lost and also to celebrate the liberation of Turkish Cypriots in 1974 after a decade of oppression during the Cyprus Conflict.

Each year, huge crowds turn out to see SoloTürk’s incredible aerial show and this year will be no different.

Conscious of the intense summer heat, the popular aerobatic display team have opted to do their 2023 show on the eve of Peace and Freedom Day, on Wednesday 19 July, when it is cooler, and a fly past on the Thursday.

The main SoloTürk display will start at 7pm on Wednesday, taking place above Atatürk Girne Memorial in the centre of the city (near to Dome Hotel), though the display will be visible from further afield. Everyone is invited to attend this free public event.