Rauf Denktash, who was the founding president of The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (see blog of 30 April 2012), died on 13 January 2012 and a miniature sheet of four stamps has been issued by Northern Cyprus to commemorate him.
Denktash, who was born on 27 January 1924 at Paphos, trained as a teacher and then as a barrister in London. He was a member of the Consultative Assembly in search of self-government in Cyprus and in 1957 played an important role in founding the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT) which resisted EOKA's campaign for the union of Cyprus with Greece. Paramilitary action against the Turks began in Cyprus in December 1963 after the achievement of independence by Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots withdrew from government. When Turkish military forces invaded Cyprus in 1974, Rauf Denktash was elected President of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus in the north-eastern part of the island. When the The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed on 15 November 1983, he remained as President and occupied the post until 24 April 2005. Rauf Denktash was therefore a man of enormous importance to the Cypriots of Turkish origin and the issued miniature sheet is therefore of great interest and significance. The 60 kurus value from the sheet is depicted below.
Below are a number of illustrations of recent issues from Commonwealth states and philatelic entities in the Pacific Ocean area. Four of the values of the new 12 value "butterflies" definitive set issued by Niuafo'ou 20 April 2012 are depicted. These stamps are much too large to be practically usable without taking up a large proportion of the envelope or postcard to which they are applied. We saw the same thing happen when The Cook Islands issued its new definitive stamps on 14 September 2010 - they were replaced by much smaller stamps of the same design which were issued just 6 weeks after the first set - a great little dodge for extracting money from stamp collectors. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened again with these Niuafo'ou stamps and no doubt they also be overprinted for use as official stamps. Time will tell. In all events they do represent the first stamp issue of the reign of Tonga's new king, King Tupou VI (see blog of 17 May 2012).
A rather surprising issue was released by Fiji on 23 January 2012 - a sheetlet of 4 identical stamps which commemorate the lunar new year, the Year of The Dragon.
Meanwhile, Pitcairn has produced four very attractive stamps and a miniature sheet which depict dolphins. I am not yet sure of the date of issue.
From Norfolk Island there are four self-adhesive stamps cut to the shape of the island. The theme is "iconic activities", what ever that may mean, and, unlike the new Niuafo'ou stamps they have the problem of being a little too small to be able to recognise what "iconic activity" is being depicted although one of the designs seems to involve gathering birds eggs. Presumably the bird is not an endangered species!
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