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Death of Solomos Solomou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Solomou after being shot
Solomou after being shot

Solomon Solomou (Greek: Σολομών Σολωμού; 1970 – 14 August 1996) was a Greek-Cypriot who was shot and killed by a Turkish officer while trying to climb a flagpole in order to remove a Turkish flag from its mast in Cyprus's United Nations Buffer Zone.[1][2][3] The killing occurred in the aftermath of the funeral of Solomou's cousin Tassos Isaac, who had been murdered a few days earlier by Turkish nationalists belonging to the militant Grey Wolves organization.[4]

Early life

Solomou was originally from the town of Famagusta, which fell under the control of the Turkish military as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974. Like hundreds of thousands of other Cypriots, Solomou and his family became internally displaced persons. They fled to the nearby town of Paralimni, where he grew up with other Greek-Cypriot refugees.[citation needed]


Following the funeral of Tassos Isaac, who was beaten to death by a Turkish mob in the UN buffer zone three days earlier, a group of unarmed Greek Cypriots re-entered the area where Isaac was murdered in order to demonstrate. Among these demonstrators was Solomou, who was a second cousin of Isaac.[5] At around 2:20 pm, Solomou distanced himself from the rest of the demonstrators and walked towards a Turkish military post in Deryneia. Ignoring Turkish soldiers' warnings, Solomou climbed a flagpole with the intention of removing the Turkish flag but was shot by the soldiers in the face, neck, and stomach.[3]

The whole scene was taped by nearby journalists and was seen on live television. Solomou's funeral was held on 16 August in Paralimni, attended by thousands of people with an official day of mourning. A few days after the killings, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis visited Cyprus; together with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, he visited the homes of the families of Isaac and Solomou. Turkish Foreign Minister (and later Turkish Prime Minister) Tansu Çiller, who also visited Cyprus a few days after the killings, addressed a rally by saying that Turks would "break the hands" of anyone who insulted their flag.[citation needed]

Identification of killers

According to Cyprus Police, Solomou's killers were identified using photographic evidence as Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Northern Cyprus Kenan Akin and Chief of Special Forces of Northern Cyprus Erdal Haciali Emanet. Warrants were issued by the Republic of Cyprus for the arrest of Akin, Emanet, and three others: Chief of Police of Northern Cyprus Attila Sav, Lt. Gen. of the Turkish Cypriot Security Force Hasan Kundakci, and Maj. Gen. of the Turkish Army Mehmet Karli.[6][7] In October 2004, Akin, wanted by Interpol for the murder of Solomou, said the former Turkish Military Commander Halil Sadrazam had given the order to shoot. Sadrazam denied the accusation.[8] Akin was later arrested in Istanbul on unrelated smuggling charges. He was released by Turkish authorities despite being wanted for murder by Interpol, prompting a question on Turkey's judicial cooperation by Dimitrios Papadimoulis of the European Parliament.[9]


The photo of Solomou climbing the Turkish flagpole has often been used as symbol of protest against Turkey's military occupation of northern Cyprus.[10] Solomou was praised by a number of Greek politicians, and several prominent Greek composers and singers dedicated their songs to him. Dionysis Savvopoulos dedicated "Odi sto Georgio Karaiskaki" ("I Am Georgio Karaiskaki"), Dimitris Mitropanos and Thanos Mikroutsikos dedicated "Panta gelastoi" ("Always Laughing"), and Stelios Rokkos dedicated "Gia to Solomo Solomou" ("For Solomo Solomou").[11] The 2009 Notis Sfakianakis song "Itan trellos" ("He Was Crazy") directly deals with Solomou's death and the ongoing Turkish occupation of Cyprus.[citation needed]

Solomou is considered a national hero in Greece and Cyprus,[12][13] where he is often referred to as a "hero-martyr" (Greek: ηρωομάρτυρας).[14][15][16] On 24 June 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of Solomou's family in the case of Solomou and others v. Turkey.[1][2]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b European Court of Human Rights: Rulings Against Turkey Law Library of Congress, 2 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b Solomou v. Turkey Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine Netherlands Institute of Human Rights
  3. ^ a b HRI Report with video of the killing. Retrieved on 14 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Arrest warrant against Mehmet Mustafa Arslan, the leader of Grey Wolves in Northern Cyprus".
  5. ^ "Embassy of Cyprus to the US Report".
  6. ^ "Arrest Warrants Issued in Murder of Solomou, Cyprus US Embassy Newsletter".
  7. ^ Antenna News in English, of 11 September 1996, Cyprus Retrieved on 31 January 2007.
  8. ^ "Former occupation regime so-called Minister and a Peace and Democracy Movement so-called MP accuse each other for the murder of Solomon Solomou".
  9. ^ "Execution of arrest warrant for Kenan Akin, the murderer of the Cypriot Solomon Solomou".
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 May 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) United Nations Security Council resolution 550: "Gravely concerned about the further secessionist acts in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus which are in violation of resolution 541(1983), namely the purported "exchange of Ambassadors" between Turkey and the legally invalid "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" and the contemplated holding of a "Constitutional referendum" and "elections", as well as by other actions or threats of action aimed at further consolidating the purported independent state and the division of Cyprus".
  11. ^ "Zülfü Livaneli's article on the allegations (tr)".
  12. ^ "Greek Army Staff Officers Union calls Isaac and Solomou ήρωες (=heroes) (Gr)". Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  13. ^ "Greek newspaper Ta Nea refers to Solomou as ήρωας (=hero) (Gr)".[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Cypriot newspaper refers to Solomou (and Isaac) as ηρωομάρτυρες (="heroes-martyrs") (Gr)". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  15. ^ "Cyprus Minister calls Isaac and Solomou ηρωομάρτυρες (="heroes-martyrs") (Gr)".
  16. ^ "Cyprus News Agency refers to Solomou as ηρωομάρτυρα ("hero-martyr") (Gr)".

External links

This page was last edited on 6 October 2019, at 12:15
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