Turkey on Sunday celebrated the Cannes film festival success of director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who dedicated his Palme d'Or to victims of the political strife that have rocked the country. Ceylan won the top prize Saturday for his epic drama "Winter Sleep" and dedicated the award to the Turkish "youth who lost their lives" in anti-government protests that have become a major challenge to the 11-year rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Great honour," ran the headline in Posta newspaper. "The best news in months!" Sozcu newspaper wrote on its website, noting that the director had not "forgotten" to pay tribute to those who died. "This beautiful and lonely country is proud of you," Hurriyet newspaper wrote, referring to a previous acceptance speech by Ceylan, who dedicated his best director award in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival to "my beautiful and lonely country, which I love passionately". Meanwhile, in a phone call after the award, Erdogan "congratulated Ceylan for making the nation proud one more time," his office said. Ceylan's dedication of the award comes at a time of renewed tensions across the country with the approach of the first anniversary of deadly nationwide anti-government protests and in the wake of a mine disaster that claimed 301 lives earlier this month. Eight people died in the unrest that erupted in 2013 when police cracked down on a peaceful campaign to save a small Istanbul park from redevelopment. Two more people died last week when police clashed with demonstrators commemorating the death of a teenage boy from injuries sustained during last year's unrest and protesting over the mining accident -- the country's worst ever industrial disaster. Speaking at a press conference in Cannes last week, where he wore black ribbons to honour the workers who died in the mine in the Turkish town of Soma, Ceylan expressed his regret that no government official had so far stepped down over the disaster. "In Japan, when someone dies (in an industrial accident), someone resigns. In Turkey this is not the case. I don't know why, perhaps it is a cultural difference," he said. -- Master of psychological subtlety -- Thousands have taken to Twitter since Saturday night to thank the director for the good news after days of mourning in Turkey. "Thank you Nuri Bilge Ceylan for the good news that we need so much but get rarely," wrote a user calling herself Melinka. "We can at last be happy... Thanks to Nuri Bilge Ceylan and the whole film crew," movie critic Omur Gedik wrote. "Winter Sleep" marked the first top prize win at the world's biggest cinema showcase for Turkey since 1982, when "Yol" by Yilmaz Guney shared the gong with "Missing" by Costa Gavras. The Milliyet daily called it "a historical day for the Turkish cinema after 32 years". Ceylan, who had already won awards at Cannes for his previous films "Uzak", "Climates", "Three Monkeys" and "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia", is regarded as one of the most distinctive film-makers of the last decade. He was born in Istanbul in 1959 and studied electrical engineering at the prestigious Bosphorus University. His interest in visual art blossomed at the university's photography club, where he also took passport-style photographs to earn some pocket money, according to the biography on his official website. Ceylan is also seen as a master of psychological subtlety and intimacy, shooting meticulously beautiful images helped by his use of high-definition digital video. He is married to the actress Ebru Ceylan with whom he co-starred in "Climates".