The Foreign Residents in the TRNC
30 minutes with the Secretary
by Ralph Kratzer
The economic upturn in Germany after world war II, in the 1950´s and 1960´s, worldwide known as the “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic miracle) would never ever have happened without the hundreds of thousands of the so called “Gastarbeiter” (immigrant workers) who came to work in Germany in those times mostly from Southern European countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and the main portion from Turkey. The father of my interview partner, Naci, was one of them. Many of these immigrant workers then decided to stay in Germany not only for a short period of work but for a longer time and to bring their families as well to their new centre of life.
So it happened that Naci, born in the Turkish town of Sivas, came to Augsburg (my own native town in the South of Germany!!!) at the age of 6 months together with his 7 brothers and sisters. Three of them still live in Augsburg, three in Turkey now and one, Naci, in North Cyprus. The parents also went back to their homeland Turkey after Naci´s father retired.
After school time in Augsburg, Naci went to a boarding school in Munich and graduated from high school. After that he underwent an apprenticeship in the field of mechanical engineering followed by studies of business management in Munich.
He interrupted his studies and went back to Augsburg because he met a (in his own words: Germany born / Turkish origin / Augsburg citizen) young woman and they decided to marry.
After his marriage Naci finally finished University and then started to make his own career as a Financial Advisor in co-operation with a large German insurance company, later as well becoming joint partner of the German owner of three restaurants and in the end parallel to all these activities establishing a detective agency (after vehicle thefts had increased enormously in Germany due to the fall of the so called “Iron Curtain”, the border between Eastern and Western Europe).
1995 his daughter was born but unfortunately, shortly after, his marriage broke up and having all his businesses settled and handed over to successors, Naci decided in 1998 to relocate to the land of his forefathers – Turkey.
Just one year later he there met his second wife Hurriye, a lecturer and later professor at the veterinary faculty of the University of Istanbul. The couple very soon decided on the plan to go to North Cyprus where Hurriye originally came from. In the year 2001 their son was born.
Being asked what ultimately led to the decision to leave Istanbul and go to Cyprus, Naci told me that, although living in one of the most secure residential areas of Istanbul, their house was robbed in 2006 while he and his son were sleeping on the first floor. Having already started to build their house in Alsancak at that time the family therefore accelerated their relocation plans and came to North Cyprus in 2007.
Hurriye opened her Veterinary Clinic in Alsancak and Naci later started his new business as a Certifying Officer (German: Notar). Before that he had worked for a time long as a presenter for Kanal T Television.
As I knew that Naci was significantly involved in publishing a book about the North Cypriot history between the 1950´s and 70´s, I asked him about the idea behind the creation of this book. He told me that the idea came from a man who had been one of the most important military commanders during the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1974 and a later friend of Rauf Denktaş, the long time President and founding father of the TRNC. Mr Denktaş supported the creation of the book and, being a friend of the family, suggested Naci to be integrated as the researcher on site. During these researches Naci interviewed 50 witnesses who had been directly involved in the confrontations between Turkish and Greek Cypriots that had occurred in those days.
The title of the book, published in 2011, is “Tarihten Gelen Çığlık” (Screams from the Past).
To come to an end, a funny thing happened when I met Naci for the first time in the veterinary clinic of his wife some years ago, where I had to go for the annual vaccinations of my two dogs. He, a man I evidently thought looked like a Turk or Turkish Cypriot, started talking with me not only in perfect German language but in the exact dialect of my hometown which is unique all over Germany. We found out that we had both not only lived in the same city of Augsburg but even in the same district for a long time. Evil tongues say, his “Augsburg slang” is purer than mine, no problem, I can live with that!