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A look back on 2020

A look back on 2020

As the Big Ben bells rang out and firework lit the sky welcoming Londoners into 2020, no one expected the year to turn just quite like it did.

Like every year our summary looks at the highlight the Turkish Speaking Community achievements, struggles and tragedies. This year has not only put our community through its test but the nation and the world.

As quickly as the year started Coronavirus also quickly became a big part of our lives, within just a short couple of weeks the virus outbreak in China became an international pandemic.

The virus to-date has claimed the lives of over 1.8 million people and infected over 83 million people worldwide. Of these, the Turkish Speaking Community has sadly lost 153 known members in the UK.

Sadly the pandemic has effect everybody lives in an unprecedented way everything from work, home and health has been affected.

This year has been one of great loss, but in the darkest moments members of the community, nation and across the world people have shown great strengths in coming together, supporting those in need and making sacrifices in the fight against Coronavirus.

As we look back over the past 12 months, we look at the achievements our members have made, the sad loss they have faced and the extra mile that has been taken in the times of real need as we try and live in a pandemic which has shaped our daily lives into something we have never faced before.

From the Londra Gazete team, we know that the challenge faced by the pandemic is not over but we hope that this New Year of 2021 bring all our reader and community happiness, good health and prophesy.

January 2020

Enver Kannur presenting the Freedom of the City award

Enver Kannur awarded Freedom of the City

Since 1237, The City of London has been presenting the Freedom of the City award to those who have had leading roles in shaping the city.

Enver Kannur, a partner at Accounting Direct Plus has not only spent years helping and providing his expertise in the financial world but has been an active member of the community. Former President of Southgate Rotary Club and a member of the club for over 10 years and Age UK Enfield Trustee and Honorary Treasurer.

On January 3rd Kannur was presented with the Freedom of the City award surrounded by his family and friends.

Cultural and Art Workshop open in Tugay Hurman’s name

Family, friends and members of the Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi England (IAKM) gather together on January  11 of the opening of the ‘Tugay Hurman Cultural and Arts Workshop’ named after former IAKM President Tugay Hurman who passed away in July of 2019.

Hurman was known especially for his hard-working at bringing together the young Alevi members and working towards ensuring stay together. The workshop was opened, not only to remember Hurman but to continue his name and legacy for the IAKM to ensure the young member have a place they can come to and be together.

opening of the ‘Tugay Hurman Cultural and Arts Workshop’

Aysın Yılmaz was laid to rest

Aysın Yılmaz took her final journey and was laid to rest after she lost her battle to cancer on January 8th.

Aysın Yılmaz was the former president of the Turkish Women’s Aid Association and the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations of England for many years, is known for her positive approach towards people.

Between 2000 and 2002, Aysın Yılmaz was the president of the International Federation of Women in London. Her family and friends attended the funeral ceremony on January 16 and she was laid to rest.

ASUK held its “Women and Success Conferences”

THE Ataturk Society UK (ASUK) hosted state artist Gülsin Onay at the Women and Success Conference, which was held for the fourth time on January 25.

Onay fascinated the audience with her ‘Moonlight Sonata’ after her mini-concert and conversation compiled from the works of Bach, Bethoven and Chopen. The conversation, which continued with the questions of Semra Eren Nijhar and other participants, was very important in terms of bringing an international state artist like Gülsin Onay to the public.


February 2020

Famous marketer Yasar Halim took his last journey

On February 6, 77-year-old Yasar Halim took his final journey. A ceremony was held in London after which Halim was flown to north Cyprus to be laid to rest in his homeland.

The Turkish Cypriot businessman founded the well known Yasar Halim supermarket, which opened in 1981 and is said to be the ‘first’ Turkish supermarket and patisserie.

Baris Kucuk’s murder sentenced to 30 years in jail

Baris Kucuk was targeted as he helped an unknown young woman safely make it home one evening. Adam Tarik followed Kucuk on the night of June 3 2019 and fatally stabbed him.

On February 13 of this year, Tarik was found guilty of murder possession of an offensive weapon and burglary. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar was in London

THE Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’s (TRNC) Prime Minister Ersin Tatar was in London on February 11 taking part in a public meeting, organised by the National Unity Party’s (UBP) London Branch.

Following his official announcement as presidential candidate TRNC presidential elections which he went on took place at a later than expected date in October, he met with Turkish Cypriots in London to hear their concerns and worries about their homeland and address some of the issues they face.


March 2020

Thomas Hanlon cleared of killing 56-year-old Sakine Cihan

Man cleared of killing Sakine Cihan

On March 5 an E-Bike rider has been cleared of killing 56-year-old Sakine Cihan by careless driving in the first prosecution of its kind.

Thomas Hanlon, 32, was said to have hit into Sakine Cihan, when he was 10mph above the 20mph speed limit as she crossed Kingsland Road in Dalston, east London in August 2018.

She passed away in hospital the next day as a result of a ‘catastrophic’ head injury, in what is believed to be the first death of a pedestrian after a collision with an E-bike in the UK.

KTGBI ‘Unity and solidity’ Ball took place with intense participation

The ‘Turkish Cypriot Youth Union England’ (KTGBI) held a ‘Unity and solidity’ Ball on Friday, March 13.

Over 200 people attended the ‘Unity and solidity’ Ball, in addition to the famous pop singer Eylem, the popular names of London, Erdoğan Baca and Devrim Baca gave the guests a pleasant time.

First confirmed Covid deaths in the Turkish Speaking Community

THE Turkish-speaking community in London experienced its first grief after the announcement that on March 17 a Turkish Cypriot woman had died in the hospital where she was treated in south London for coronavirus.

Boris Johnson announced UK lockdown

On the evening of March 23, Boris Johnson addressed the nation to announce that with immediate effect that at stay at home order was in place for the UK.


April 2020

The British Alevi Federation (BAF) provided food and aid packages

BAF delivered aid packages to over 2,000 people

The British Alevi Federation (BAF) provided food and aid packages to the homeless in need and elderly people in the community. The Federation‘s ‘You are not Alone’ project saw volunteers working and seven days a week during lockdown to ensure any one in need could help the help they needed.

Covid claims over 100 members of the Turkish Speaking Community

Just a month on from the first coronavirus death to claim a community member, the Turkish speaking community marked a grim milestone with over 100 deaths on April 22. 118 known Turkish Speaking Members lives were claimed by the virus in just a 5 short weeks.


May 2020

“Stay At Home” “You Are Not Alone” Project in partnership with CTCA and YTB

Day-Mer celebrated International Workers Day

Celebratıng the International Workers’ Day on  May 1, Day-Mer and a number of their volunteer prepared and delivered food and goods to North Middlesex Hospital, for frontline workers.

CTCA and YTB helping to deliver food packages to the community

Working together with the “Stay At Home” “You Are Not Alone” Project in partnership with Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (CTCA) has been helping people who have been in a difficult situation in the coronavirus crisis.



June 2020

Ismail Kemal laid to rest

BAF launched a campaign to be included in the 2021 census

The British Alevi Federation (BAF) announced that they started a campaign to be included in the faith section of the general census which is held every 10 years in the UK. BAF has demanded that Alevism be included in the official document which only has 6 faith listed.

Londra Gazete’s columnist İsmail Kemal has passed away

A columnist for Londra Gazete since it was established in 2001, on June 1 Ismail Kemal (65) passed away after a battle with cancer in South Cyprus.

On June 4 he was laid to rest at Lefke Cemetery in North Cyprus, where family, friend and followers had a chance to say their final goodbye.

Turkish Siamese twins surgically separated in London

Siamese(conjoined) twins Derman and Yiğit Evrensel returned home after they were successfully separated after a series of surgeries in London, where they were sent under the support of Turkey’s  President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife, First Lady Emine  Erdoğan.

July 2020

Online Day-Mer Festival

Day-Mer festival took place despite Covid-19

Day-Mer Culture and Art festival were held online on July 5.

Every year on the first Sunday of July, the park festival takes place at Clissold Park, Hackney due to the pandemic this year the festival was held online.

The live broadcast occurred on Day-Mer’s Facebook page and went on from 8 hours. The program, which was compiled with the images and videos formed from the 30 years of festival archive. Besides, video messages sent by the representatives of unions and campaigns in England were streamed.

The Sivas Massacre was commemorated in London

A commemoration event on the 27th Anniversary of the Sivas Massacre was held in London on July 2, community organisations representatives and community members came together with the Madımak Memorial in Stoke Newington.

Food bazaar organised by Süleymaniye Mosque

The tragic death of young Ezra Kemal

A young Turkish Cypriot woman looking for help after a car she was in caught fire, tragically fell to her death from a bridge.

The 24-year-old, Azra Kemal, died after falling from a bridge on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge on July 16.

Food bazaar organised by Süleymaniye Mosque

Street food style with booths lining the sidewalk outside Süleymaniye Mosque in East London, the 3 day food bazaar between July 26-28 saw hundreds of members of the local community flocking to the mosques to enjoy the food and good that were being offered.


August 2020

Murat and Ferhat Eric with former Arsenal player Ian Wright

Cadbury and Arsenal supporting a local Turkish business

Cadbury and Arsenal partnered up to support Arsenal fan favourite local landmark, the Little Wonder Cafe a business run by Turkish owners Murat and Ferhat Eric.

The cafe was forced to close its doors to customers for the first time in its 100-year history during the lockdown to recognise the unerring role the cafe has and continues to play in supporting the local community, and helping ensure its future, Cadbury donated digital advertising opportunities and 500 meal vouchers to the Little Wonder Cafe.

“Participate in the census so ‘Turkish Cypriots’ can reach the correct data”

TURKISH Cypriot Youth and Family Association UK (KTGAB) called on Turkish Cypriots to take part in the census 2021. Saying that to make their mark Cypriots need to mark down the ethnicity as ‘Turkish Cypriots’ so an accurate figure in the 2021 census is taken, which will be used in statics for the next 10 years.

ASUK celebrated ’30 August Victory Day’ online

ASUK celebrated ’30 August Victory Day’ online

The Atatürk Society UK (ASUK) held an online event to celebrate the 30th August Victory Day. The event saw a panel held and award-winning violinist from Ezo Dem Sarıcı perform.


September 2020

Baby  finds 100% donor match

Liya Gümüşöz at 21 months old was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, a rare and aggressive type of cancer which affects one in 3,100 people.

Great news came t the being of September Baby Liya blood works have come back with a 100% match to her father’s steam cells.

Mihrican Mustafa’s murderer jailed for life

Zahid Younis was convicted on September 3 at Southwark Crown Court of murdering Hungarian national Henriett Szucs, 34, and mother-of-three Mihrican “Jan” Mustafa, 38.

Jan had been missing since May 2018, just over a year later, their bodies were found in a padlocked freezer with flies swarming around it at Younis’s flat in Canning Town, in April 2019.

Crowdfunding page set up for Baby Metehan

A crowdfunding campaign has been started for 10-month-old Metehan Fidan with spinal muscular atrophy. Within days tens of thousands of pound raised toward “Zolgensma” treatment he needs.


October 2020

Ayşe Funda Veli, Mustafa Kemal Köksal, Celal Izicibayadar and Erdem Moralıoğlu

Four Turks awarded in the Queen’s Birthday honours list

THE Queen’s Birthday honours list for 2020 recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people. This year 4 members of the Turkish speaking community were recognised for the work.

Mustafa Kemal Köksal received BEM for his services to society during the coronavirus epidemic. Celal Izicibayadar was also awarded BEM. The UK Head of Turkish Scouting has been recognized for many years for his volunteer service and especially for “scouting in the Turkish Cypriot community in the UK”.

Ayşe Funda Veli, a Turkish Cypriot living in London, was awarded a BME for her political service. Veli was former Labour leader’s Jeremy Corbyn’s diary manager between 2016 and 2020. Fashion designer Erdem Moralıoğlu was awarded the MBE award for his services to fashion.

Car accidents claimed the life of Fatma Kaşıkçı

24-year-old a mother of two Fatma Kaşıkcı died in a traffic accident in North Cyprus.

Fatma, who lives in London, was in North Cyprus on Holiday when the car she was drive crashed on the Nicosia – Famagusta Highway on October 18.


November 2020

Tens of Thousands watched the 10th Alevi Festival online

Coronavirus claims 5 more members of the community

5 more known members of the Turkish Speaking Community in London have died in the space of just two week in November due to the Coronavirus. Taking the overall known number of members lost from the community to 153.

ASUK held panel commemorating Atatürk

The Atatürk Society UK (ASUK) organised an online panel to commemorate Atatürk on the 82nd anniversary of his passing. Atatürk’s favourite songs were also performed.

Tens of Thousands watched the 10th Alevi Festival online

THE Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi (IAKM) UK held their 10th Alevi Festival online this year due to the pandemic.

The festival which was shared online and views by tens of thousands of users from not just within the community but across the globe, the 3-day event looking at the festivals main message of justice and women was at the forefront with special interviews, documents and messages as well as performances from artists.

Ali Sakallioglu

Ali Sakallioglu home after spending 222 days in the hospital

Britain’s longest-suffering Covid patient finally returned home after seven months.

Taxi driver Ali Sakallioglu spent a total of 222 days in hospital and care beds after contracting the deadly virus.

During the 56-year-old’s time in the hospital, he had a heart attack, suffered a stroke, collapsed lungs, organ failure and sepsis. His family were also told three times that he was going to die.

But Ali, managed to beat the odds and battle back the virus, returning to his home in Catford, south-east London, on November 11, Armistice Day.


December 2020

First-person receives Covid-19 vaccine in UK

A 90-year-old woman has become the first person to be given a Covid jab as part of the mass vaccination programme being rolled out across the UK.

On December 8 Margaret Keenan received the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Thousands apply for UK work visa before Brexit deadline

A record-breaking 20,000 Turkish citizens made applications this year for a special UK businessperson visa that would eventually grant them British residency.

The rush comes as the 1963 Ankara Agreement, which granted Turkish citizens a path to immigrate to the UK for business purposes, is set to expire on 31 December along with the Brexit transition period.

Ali Eymen

Over £80,000 raised for Ali Eymen’s SMA treatment

£80,661 has been raised after a donation campaign for Ali was launched by the Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi England (İAKM) From November 26 to December 7.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), colloquially known as ‘loose baby’ syndrome. Ali is also struggling with this disease. His family is working raised money for “Zolgensma” treatment.

More members of the community lost to Coronavirus

The devastating news that in the space of just one week, 19 more known members of the Turkish Speaking Community in London died after contracting Coronavirus was shared. Between the week of the 21st and 28th December, 19 more people died taking the overall total to 172 known members from our community in the UK, of which 126 were Turkish Cypriots and 46 originated from Turkey.


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