Raising the flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Antarctica’s highest peak was a response to unjust embargoes on Turkish Cypriots and an act of gratitude towards his country, mountaineer Birkan Uzun said Thursday.
Uzun, a citizen of the TRNC living in the US since 2011, spoke to Anadolu Agency to express his motivation to climb Mount Vinson to raise the flag and his feelings.
He said he took a mountaineering course in the US, where he went to study computer engineering.
Uzun said that after developing his skills and gaining experience in the US by climbing many mountains, he started the Seven Summits project to climb the seven highest peaks of the seven continents.
He said as part of this project, he first climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and then Mount Elbrus in Russia the following year.
Having climbed five peaks so far, Uzun noted that he intends to climb the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia in 2022 and Mount Everest in 2023.
Drawing attention that the embargoes on the TRNC prevented Turkish Cypriots from realizing their potentials, he stressed that he wants to be a role model and source of motivation, especially for the youth of the TRNC.
“I wanted to manifest that no matter what the obstacles could be, if you have a devoted mind and heart, you can succeed," Uzun said.
He reiterated that the embargoes don’t change the fact that Turkish Cypriots and their state, the TRNC, exist.
Uzun also praised Turkey’s unwavering and constant support to the TRNC.
“Turkey has been supporting us, and we are grateful for this. I would like to thank Turkey for its efforts in helping us to be recognized as an independent state,” he said.