Turkish Cypriot police officers serving on Sovereign Bases in Cyprus to join UK Turkish Police Association

Turkish Cypriot police officers serving as part of the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) Police Force in Cyprus are set to be admitted as members of the Turkish Police Association in Britain. The news was announced by Acting Inspector Eren Emin in a speech he gave at the Metropolitan Police Service Turkish Police Staff Association gala dinner in North London on Thursday night.

Stating that the organisation was “going international”, A/Insp Emin told the 300 guests at Regency Banqueting Suite in Tottenham that TPA were “welcoming the 38 Turkish Cypriot officers from the Sovereign Base Areas Police who are under the Ministry of Defence, into the Turkish Police Association”.

Guests saw a pre-recorded message from Superintendent Mustafa Kemal, who is the most senior Turkish Cypriot police officer on the SBA, talk about the SBA police force, the diversity of officers involved. Superintendent Kemal noted that the TPA did “a lot of good work not just for the Turkish police officers in the Metropolitan Police, but also for the Turkish communities in London,” adding  “therefore we, as the SBA police Turkish Cypriot officers, are quite enthusiastic about joining the Turkish Police Association in the Met Police.”

A/Insp Emin also said the TPA, which was formed back in 2003 and currently represents over 400 police officers and police staff of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot descent, was expanding to include British police officers of Azerbaijani Turkic heritage.

In his speech, the Enfield based officer highlighted the work the TPA had done over the past two years to improve police relations with London’s Turkish and Turkish-speaking communities through a wide range of activities, such as attending community festivals, holding educational seminars, and setting up contact points and working with local faith leaders to reassure the community following homicides involving British Turks. The increased trust between the police and the community had propelled TPA into playing “a key and critical role in these homicide investigations.”

Guests also heard about the important charity work members of the TPA have carried out in the past two years. This included raising £4,500 for “food and hygiene packages” distributed to those in need across London for Bayram / Eid and a London to Cyprus charity bike ride that one TPA member, PC Ceyhun Uzun, had embarked on with a police colleague, Ryan Mckinlay, aiming to raise £10,000 for children’s cancer charity Tanyel’s Smile.

The TPA was also involved in a humanitarian campaign, carried out in partnership with the Turkish Cypriot Community Association and other community organisations A/Insp Emin explained, to collect 80 tonnes of aid to send to victims of the massive earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria on 6 February. The speed and success of this partnership relief work was recently recognised with a Third Sector Award.

A/Insp Emin also referred to the successful challenge the TPA made to the Metropolitan Police Service last year over the use of racist training material “which contained heavy Turkish bias. Emin stated that the TPA had “worked with the Learning and Development team, supporting them with understanding of the offence they caused, and also worked collaboratively on a remedy to the issue”, which included a public apology and a commitment to work with the Turkish community to prevent reoccurrence.

TPA head A/Insp Eren Emin, TPA gala dinner at Regency Banqueting Suite, 12 Oct.2023. Photo © Halil Yetkinlioglu


There were speeches too from senior Met Police Officers. Chief Constable Rachel Kearton of Suffolk Constabulary started by speaking in Turkish before explaining she had learned the language while her husband served in the British Embassy in Ankara, and the family’s great affection for the country.

Borough Commander Caroline Haines: “Thank you for strengthening the relationship with the community”

Detective Chief Superintendent Caroline Haines, the Borough Commander of Haringey and Enfield, heaped praise on the TPA, describing their connections with the community as “outstanding”, enabling them to help the senior police team in North Area during times of critical and major incidents.

Borough Commander Haines said she receives “consistent positive feedback” from the community about the “value” of TPA’s work and stated that their “everyday engagement through their networks” with the populations of Haringey and Enfield was ‘inspiring” young Turkish-speaking residents to join the police cadets, the special constabulary, and even the full police service.

The North London police chief also noted the vital professional support the TPA offered to its members, from mentoring to peer support, guidance and advice. She also highlighted the group’s exemplary welfare support, typified during the Turkish earthquake, “where they mobilised so quickly to support so many officers and staff who were dealing with this issue at a time of great personal loss.”

Borough Commander Haines ended her speech by underlining the important work the TPA was doing in building trust between police and the British Turkish community: “Thank you for strengthening the relationship with the community,” she said.

Leading police dignitaries with Haringey Council Leader Peray Ahmet at the TPA gala dinner at Regency Banqueting Suite, 12 Oct. 2023. Photo © Halil Yetkinlioglu
North London Borough Commander Caroline Haines speaks at the TPA gala dinner at Regency Banqueting Suite, 12 Oct 2023.Photo © Halil Yetkinlioglu


Other dignitaries to address guests at the TPA gala dinner were Haringey Council Leader Peray Ahmet, Turkish Consul General Bekir Utku Atahan and Namık Cafer from the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus’s London Representative Office, who all thanked the TPA for the crucial role they play within the Turkish community and beyond.

During the night, which was officiated by Sergeant Ahmet Retvan and included a 4-course meal, music and dancing, the TPA also gave 31 commendations to organisations and individuals who had aided their work in the past few years. Among the recipients was T-VINE Editor Ipek Ozerim and Hurriyet’s London correspondent Halil Yetkilioglu, who were recognised for their valuable media coverage of TPA-related stories.

In keeping with the TPA’s philanthropic nature, the event also had a fundraising element, with a percentage of ticket money and all proceeds from the raffle and auction going to three charitable causes: Tanyel’s Smile, North London supplementary Turkish school Ali Riza Degirmencioglu Turkish School, and the Turkish earthquake appeal to help survivors rebuild their lives.