Akel has called on the government to declare a three-day mourning period for the deaths of Turkish Cypriots who lost their lives as a result of the earthquakes in Turkey.

In a letter to President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday, Akel’s general secretary Stefanos Stefanou also suggested flags fly at half mast in all public buildings for three days.

“I recommend Cyprus actively participates in the grieving of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots who died as a result of the deadly earthquake in Turkey,” he said.

“I believe declaring public mourning and flying flags at half mast sends a strong message to our compatriots.”

Stefanou added Akel was flying its own flags at half mast in all district offices and at its central committee.

The 7.8 earthquake in Turkey and Syria last week has left over 34,000 dead, with victims still being pulled out of the rubble.

A total of 48 Turkish Cypriots who were in Turkey for a volleyball tournament – including 24 children – died after the hotel they were staying in collapsed. The north has since declared a seven-day mourning period.

A vigil was also held for the victims on Sunday outside the presidential palace, by a group of people.

One of the around 40 that attended said: “Our government chose to be silent, but we chose to stand to mourn together with our friends and children across the region.”

The group held three minutes of silence one for victims in Turkey, the other for those in Syria, and the last for the Turkish Cypriot victims.

The British high commissioner Irfan Siddiq issued a condolence message for the victims, saying: “As British High Commissioner in Cyprus, I offer my deepest condolences to the Turkish Cypriot community for the loss and grief suffered as a result of the earthquake.”

Meanwhile, the University of Cyprus also flew flags at half-mast over the loss of the Turkish Cypriots.

The rector of UCy, Tassos Christofides said on Saturday, “The loss of life of our young people has filled us with profound sadness.”

On Monday, the Nicosia municipality announced that the flags outside would be flying at half-mast for the Turkish Cypriot victims of the earthquake.