Eight boats sailing from Girne to Erenköy for the
By Heidi Trautmann
Erenköy has become a place of pilgrimage, ever year in
August, to commemorate the tragic events in the exclave, 500 Turkish and
Turkish Cypriot students defending the small village against the superior power
of Greek Cypriots. Today the village is
deserted, except the military, a new mosque was built, and a number of statues
watch over the place and its memories, especially the cemetery with the 13
graves of the killed young fighters.
Every year hundreds of people get on busses, this year
there were 34 busses I was told, to be there for the celebrations, and every
year there are rumours that the busses would not be let through by the Greek
Cypriot authorities. Another way of getting there is by boat which some members
of the Girne Sailing Club did this year for the 4th time. My husband
and his friends joined the group with their sailing boat ‘Ginger’. Eight boats
left on Wednesday August 7 at 6 o’clock in the morning with the sun rising over
the harbor entrance, they sailed west around the Kormakiti Cape and they
arrived altogether in Yesilirmak in the afternoon where they were awaited for dinner
in one of the beach restaurants. Early
the next morning they left again towards Erenköy accompanied by two Coast guard
boats. They anchored in the bay of Erenköy – on Greek Cypriot maps it is
Kokkina - and were brought on land by a
big rubber dinghy.
Mr. Dervis Eroglu, the current President and Mr.
Mehmet Ali Talat, the former President and his wife arrived by helicopter to
open the ceremonies with speeches of respect for the historical courage of the
defenders. Military groups and the old veterans lined up and paid their
respects. Famous Jimmy of the Old Grape
Vine, having participated in the defence, one of the heroes, was also present.
Families had come to be with their dead sons and sat on the graves.
Army shelters were set up to feed the crowd, it was
all free of charge.
Our sailors headed back to the beach when the
ceremonies were over and were taken to their boats by the rubber dinghy again
and they lifted their anchor and left the bay back to their home harbor. It was
hot and little wind helped to fill the sails, so the progress in nautical miles
was slow; the last boat arrived in harbor at 22:00 hrs.
It is an emotional event with people getting together
and remembering the pain of old wounds.