University of Kyrenia Faculty Member Assist. Prof. Dr. Mutlu Soykurt’s book titled “Dr. Latife Birgen”, who devoted his life to science, human rights and the Cyprus Problem, was introduced at the event attended by many guests, including President Ersin Tatar, the Republic of Turkey Ambassador to Nicosia Metin Feyzioğlu and President of the Supreme Court Narin Ferdi Şefik.
Assist. Prof. Dr. Mutlu Soykurt’s book titled “Dr. Latife Birgen”, who is the Founding and Honorary President of the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council Association, was introduced at an event hosted by the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council. Many guests, including President Ersin Tatar, the Republic of Turkey Ambassador to Nicosia Metin Feyzioğlu and the President of the Supreme Court Narin Ferdi Şefik, attended the event held at the Atatürk Cultural Center.
At the event, which started with the promotional video of the book, the opening speech of the President of the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council, Remziye Taneri, was presented on video. In her message, Remziye Taneri said that she worked with Dr. Latife Birgen at the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council for 45 years and carried out various duties together with Latife Birgen, and described Birgen by saying; “She is very intelligent and has a very loving heart, this is the reason for all her successes.”
At the book event, In addition to author Mutlu Soykurt businesswoman Işın Ramadan Cemil, Republic of Turkey Ambassador to Nicosia Metin Feyzioğlu, Supreme Court President Narin Ferdi Şefik and President Ersin Tatar made speeches respectively. Dr. Latife Birgen also told anecdotes from her life during the night and thanked Mutlu Soykurt for the book she wrote.
At the end of the night, Assist. Prof. Dr. Mutlu Soykurt was honored by the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council for her studies and a plaque was presented to her. Dr. Latife Birgen was also given a handicraft as a gift in memory of the night.
Assist. Prof. Dr. Soykurt: “I hope that our book will instill love for our country, inspiration and hope in members of our society of all ages.”
Speaking at the launch night, author Mutlu Soykurt stated that she took great pleasure in conveying Dr. Latife Birgen’s life story to the readers. Author Soykurt said that while telling the life story of Dr. Latife Birgen as the first Turkish Cypriot scientist to have a doctorate in the field of nuclear medicine, she also studied the lives of the leading figures of the women’s movement in Cyprus. She stated that her biography book about Latife Birgen’s life actually covers many periods of the country’s history. Assist. Prof. Dr. Soykurt said that Latife Birgen’s life story sheds light on the cultural, social and political aspects of Cyprus, in terms of both history and future. In her speech, Soykurt thanked Nafia Bekiroğlu Bodamyalızade and İmren Gürbaşar, Near East University Culture Publications, Cyprus Printing Global team and the President and Board Members of the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council. Soykurt said, “I hope that our book, as well as shedding a light on history, will instill love for our country, inspiration and hope in individuals of all ages in our society, as a promise to the future.”
President Ersin Tatar: “Turkish Cypriots are a successful and epic-writing society. Dr. Birgen is one of our women who achieved these successes.”
Speaking at the event, President Ersin Tatar, said that he appreciated Dr. Latife Birgen’s achievements and her services to the TRNC and Turkish women. Also thanking Mutlu Soykurt for the book, Tatar said, “In TRNC, which is the home of education, our academics reveal the values of our Cyprus with such beautiful works. In this way, we learned more about all of Latife Birgen’s achievements. Turkish Cypriots are a successful and epic-writing society. Dr. Birgen is one of our women who achieved these successes. “We have always given importance to our women and we will continue to do so.”
Metin Feyzioğlu: “I am grateful to you for being a true Ataturkist.”
Starting his speech by emphasizing his commitment and love for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Republic of Turkey Ambassador to Nicosia Metin Feyzioğlu, said, “I would like to thank Dr. Birgen for her contributions not only to this island but also to civilization. Dear Dr. Birgen, I hope I will have the opportunity to get to know you better and have coffee with you. I am grateful to you for being a true Ataturkist, far beyond carrying Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s principles and values like a badge on your collar. Feyzioğlu concluded his speech by saying, “I have attended many meetings in this hall. For the first time, I see precious people coming running, with love and excitement, filling this hall. This was born with the beauties that Latife Birgen brought to our lives. I’m glad to have you.”
Narin Ferdi Şefik: “In the past, we have seen that they have achieved the opportunities that were presented to us on a platter, by scraping them with their nails.”
In her speech at the event, Supreme Court President Narin Ferdi Şefik, referring to the successes in Dr. Latife Birgen’s life and the firsts she achieved, she said, “In all the books about Turkish women in Cyprus, Dr. Latife Birgen’s name is mentioned. This is because, in the past, they scraped with their nails the opportunities that were presented to us on a platter.”
Işın Ramadan Cemil: “On behalf of myself and the society, I offer my respects to Dr. Latife Birgen and to Assist. Prof. Dr Mutlu Soykurt who wrote this inspiring story.”
Speaking at the event, businesswoman Işın Ramadan Cemil said that Birgen has always represented Turkish women in the best way both in national and international arenas. Referring to Dr. Birgen’s achievements and some of the work she did with her, Cemil said, “I pay my respects to them on behalf of myself and the society. I also thank Mutlu Soykurt Soykurt for writing this inspiring book very much.”
Dr. Who is Latife Birgen?
One of the architects and pioneers of the Turkish Cypriot women’s movement, Dr. Latife Birgen was born in Dali village of Nicosia. Birgen, who received her undergraduate and graduate education in England, conducted her doctoral studies in the field of nuclear medicine in the USA, where she went on a scholarship between 1967-72. She became the first Turkish Cypriot scientist to have a doctorate in nuclear medicine. Dr. Birgen continued her teaching career, which she started before going to university, after higher education. Dr. Birgen was appointed as an inspector in the Department of Education in 1972. After serving for 3 years, Birgen became the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defense with the establishment of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus. She chaired the first Cyprus Disappeared Committee and took part in the committee as the Turkish representative.
Birgen, who made great efforts for the representation of Turkish Cypriot women in the Parliament, held various high-level positions in KTFD and TRNC, including foreign relations. Dr. Latife Birgen founded the Turkish Cypriot Women’s Council upon her return from the International Women’s Year events, in which she participated as a representative of Turkish Cypriot women. As the President of the Council, she represented Turkish Cypriot women at conferences and meetings held around the world and mostly in Europe. She contributed to work for women and society throughout her life. Birgen, who started painting in 1985, exhibited three of her paintings in the State Painting and Sculpture Exhibition. Dr. Birgen was also given an honorary doctorate by Azerbaijan. Latife Birgen has a book published in English titled “Cyprus Tragedy”.