A Cyprus-born record holder has begun an attempt to row from the US to Turkey in a bid to promote peace.
Erden Eruc, who was born in Lefkosa in 1961, set off from New York last Saturday for the 5,600 nautical mile journey to Canakkale. The athlete said his ”row for peace” would commemorate those who fell during the First World War battle there.
He is being supported along the way by Australian and British team-mates Kendon Glass and Mark Gasson.
”During our time of endless conflicts and the resulting human losses around the world, reconciliation and lasting peace seem increasingly elusive, but 100 years ago on the Gallipoli peninsula, nations who fought against each other achieved such reconciliation, while mourning the perished on each side,” a statement on his official website said.
Mr Eruc, who was brought up in Turkey and now lives in Seattle, is a leading ocean rower who holds numerous world records, including the first person to complete a solo circum-navigation of the globe by human power. He also holds the record for the longest non-stop time at sea for a solo ocean rower at 312 days.
Turkish, Australian, New Zealand and British flags are being flown on the seven-metre long rowboat to ”honour shared sacrifices and to emphasise the value of peace”.
Following a rough first 48 hours, Mr Eruc wrote on Facebook: ”Rudder tip at 4ft grounds. I had to strip naked this am, got in water lifted stern to remove rudder. Got it unstuck, water was not too cold. E.”
The crew plan to arrive in Morocco in August before advancing eastbound on the Mediterranean, aiming to reach Canakkale next February.
They will also be raising money for Turkey’s search and rescue association Akut and the Australian charity DefenceCare.
By Eltan Halilogullari for Cyprus Today