Turkish Cypriots to kick-off centenary year in Britain with new gala awards night


On Sunday 1st October, the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (CTCA UK) will be hosting the community’s first ever awards event. Taking place at the Imperial Hotel in central London, the gala dinner will officially mark the start of the Turkish Cypriot community’s hundredth year in Britain.

Tickets for the prestigious event, which will include live music and entertainment alongside the awards ceremony, are available to the public. And with a capacity of just 250 guests, this special celebratory night is likely to be a sell-out.

Today the UK’s thriving Turkish Cypriot community is estimated to be 250,000 strong, participating in all segments of British society. Notable names include Baroness Meral Ece OBE, fashion designer Hussein Chalayan MBE, artist Tracey Emin, actor Tamer Hassan, former Paralympian swimmer and world record holder Dervis Konuralp, DJ Erol Alkan, Emma Edhem, a barrister and City of London Common Councilman, and classical music composer and conductor Tolga Kashif.

The community’s roots in Britain date back to 1917, when the first Turkish Cypriot migrants arrived three years after Cyprus had been annexed. Under British rule, the island’s Turkish inhabitants were given the opportunity to move to Ottoman Turkey or to become British subjects and remain in Cyprus. While many Turkish Cypriots did return to their motherland, a few took advantage of an Order in Council passed on 27 November 1917, which permitted the newly naturalised Turkish Cypriots to settle in the United Kingdom.

Leyla Kemal, the chairwoman of CTCA UK, told T-VINE: “It seems strange and a little sad that as the oldest Turkish-speaking community in Britain, we’ve never had an awards night before. We have so much talent, much of it hidden. So this is about recognising the achievements of our amazing people whether they are artists, in business, or doing vital charity and community work.” 

View from the stage with CTCA UK chair (second left) and team as over 20,000 people attend the 1st Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival in Chingford, East London, 25 June 2017. Photo by Aysegul Bickici / Facebook


Like our first Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival earlier this year, which was a huge success, we hope this new gala awards night will become a firm part of the community’s calendar,” she added. 

A total of 16 awards are up for grabs, including: Male and Female Personalities of the Year, Rising Stars, the Most Successful CTCA UK member organisation, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. There’s also a People’s Choice award for Best Media where the public get to choose which British-based media outlet has best served the community with its news about UK Turkish Cypriots and North Cyprus. To cast your vote in this category, visit ctcauk.info.

The CTCA UK was formed in 1983 to create a national organisation representing all British Turkish Cypriots. Its aim is to unify the community’s diverse organisations under a single co-ordinating umbrella, providing a common platform and support network. The myriad of Turkish Cypriot associations currently represented include Turkish schools, and women’s, music and cultural heritage groups.

Gala dinner details

Title: CTCA UK Awards and Gala Dinner 2017

Date: Sunday 1st October 2017

Times: reception, 18:00 – 19:00; dinner & awards, 19:00

Venue: Imperial Hotel, 61-66 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5BB

Dress Code: Black Tie

Tickets: £60 per person

Info and tickets: email info@ctcauk.com or call 07496 267 033 / 0795 682 4826


Notable British Turkish Cypriots, L-R clockwise: barrister Emma Edhem, actor Tamer Hassan, Baroness Meral Ece OBE, fashion designer Hussein Chalayan MBE, artist Tracey Emin, &  composer-conductor Tolga Kashif