The Foreign Residents in the TRNC – TFR

 30 minutes with the Secretary

 by Ralph Kratzer

The 10th interview in my series of talks with members of The Foreign Residents in the P1000320TRNC I had last Friday, 29th March 2013, with a lovable and well known Swedish couple, Lena and Willy Lindh.

Lena, born in Stockholm in the year 1945, went to Grammar School and High School before she underwent training for the profession of a nurse.

Later she became a licensed dog trainer and instructor in obedience, tracking and searching and has trained dogs for many years in dog working clubs. Together with her husband she even trained dogs for the military! Breeding of Belgian Sheepdogs (Groenendael) was her passion for many years.

Willy, who is Deputy Chairman of The Foreign Residents in the TRNC, was also born in Stockholm, in 1937.

After High School he went to the Military Academy and became an Officer in the Swedish Army.

Later he was employed as a Sales and Marketing Manager for Airlines and in the Tourism Industry.

The parents of 3 daughters and also proud grandparents met for the first time on a dance floor in Sweden and married in 1976.

The couple have lived permanently in North Cyprus since the year 2000 and is successfully running the NCDC (North Cyprus Dog Centre) Dog & Cat Hotel in Malatya with the help of their daughter Ingrid. Willy and Ingrid are both freelancing tour guides as well.

More information under http://www.willenco.com

Of course I had some background information about Willy´s past as a soldier and so I asked him to tell me the story I had partially heard before.

Here is what he told me:

UNFICYP_2In 1964 Willy was among the first soldiers of the United Nations troops in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

In his rank as a First Lieutenant he became UN Commander over Erenköy and 4 nearby villages in the North West of Cyprus.

Early in the year 1964 the situation there was more or less peaceful except for sporadic firefights between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. But it soon escalated from confrontations to a downright war.

In the summer of 1964 thousands of Greek Army soldiers, supported by fighters of the Greek Cypriot National Guard under the command of Georgios Grivas, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgios_Grivas) started an offensive in the area of Erenköy. Equipped with armored vehicles and artillery they had expected only a little resistance from the villagers and a handful of young, military untrained Turkish volunteers.

The UN troops under Willy Lindh had permission to intervene, but without resort to violence. The use of weapons was only allowed to defend themselves.

Willy´s negotiations for a ceasefire failed. After two days of heavy fighting 4 out of the 5 villages he was responsible for were taken by the Greek forces. Only when the Turkish Air Force started to attack the Greek fighting positions the unequal struggle came to a temporary end.

Erenköy survived but was encircled by the Greek troops and isolated, no water, no petrol, nothing…..

But as Erenköy was the only place where the Turkish Cypriots had access to the sea, the villagers were supplied with arms coming by Turkish boats at night.

When it was known that the Greeks and Greek Cypriots planned a new offensive in the Lefke area, the citizens of Erenköy asked Willy for help. And against his order to keep strictly neutral he decided to distribute the weapons to the Turkish Cypriot defenders.

But Willy was betrayed and in the end caught and arrested by the Greek military.

He had to be brought out by the UN High Command and was then sent back to Sweden, having been in Cyprus no longer than half a year.

In his homeland he was put on trial for abuse of his position and after a number of judgments and appeals he was sentenced to stay in prison for eight months and degraded to a low grade.

UNFICYP_3To learn more about the still operating UNFICYP mission, please click http://www.unficyp.org.

After release from prison Willy was invited to Turkey by different organizations and stayed there working for 4 years.

Back in Sweden he met Lena and they started a family.

Following an invitation by the founding President of the TRNC, Rauf Denktaş, the couple had a few holidays in North Cyprus and in the end decided to leave Sweden and live on our beautiful island.

Read about Rauf Denktaş : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rauf_Denkta%C5%9F

P.S. For reading a former article by Chris Elliot about the dramatic defence of Erenköy in 1964 – click here