of Alikko and Caher fame
By Margaret Sheard….
Many of the older generation Turkish Cypriots will remember Alikko and Caher radio programmes back in the 1960’s. Sadly Kemal Tunç who portrayed Alikko died some years ago but Osman Balikcioğlu who portrayed Caher is still acting and we had the pleasure of meeting him in Girne on 2nd July when he visited North Cyprus for a 10 day stay, courtesy of a raffle prize he won in London.
It was very strange how I came to get acquainted with Osman and I am so pleased that we have made contact and I have been able to meet with one half of the characters of Alikko and Caher.
Contact came about as a result of comments made on Frozen Cypriots Facebook page to which I responded and I then found Osman on Facebook and sent him a message. I think he was rather pleased that we had written about the characters of Alikko and Caher and since then we have been in touch and established that he will be bringing his theatre group to North Cyprus in October when, between the dates of 24th October and 2nd November, there will be performances of his play, based on the original characters but updated to a more modern theme, in Nicosia (Near East University), Girne (GAU), Famagusta (Rauf Raif Denktaş Culture and Congress Centre) and a location to be confirmed in the Guzelyurt area. The play will comprise of 4 separate stories, one of which will feature the village of Lurucina (Akincilar) which is the birthplace of Raziye Kocaismail, the President of Help Those with Cancer Association (Tulips). Osman is a keen supporter of Tulips and has been raising funds for them in London and the North Cyprus performances will also be in aid of Tulips. It is envisaged that tickets will be 15TL and will be available through Tulips. There will be more information to follow when everything is in place and we will liaise with Raziye and publish the details later.
We met up with Osman at the Pia Bella Hotel in Girne on a warm evening and he told us a little about himself. Osman was born in Nicosia in 1944, he is married and has 5 children and 11 grandchildren. He went to England in 1972 and currently lives in Edmonton in North London. He has had a variety of jobs, including that of a tax inspector in Cyprus before he went to the UK, and he said that during the last 20 years of his working life he had a radio programme with a Turkish language radio station in London and this he loved.
Since the early days of Alikko and Caher, Osman has continued to follow his love of acting and currently he has a theatre group called Balikcioglu Cabaret Theatre which stages plays in the London area.
The trip to North Cyprus came about as a result of Osman’s wife buying a large amount of raffle tickets to help the charity at a Tulips event in London. One of the tickets was a return flight to North Cyprus and was a winner so Osman was able to make an unplanned trip to his homeland. It has been a busy few days as Osman has been involved in a press conference for his forthcoming production here and numerous TV interviews so he has been able to promote the event as well. We understand that a lot of the dialogue in the 4 stories to be performed will be in Turkish, but there will be some English spoken in the stories which are based in London. Osman had previously told me that one of the stories he has written will be a tribute to his old friend Kemal Tunç who he still misses very much.
We talked about many things and one of the subjects I raised (a current research project), was Ahmet Rasim who was a well-known character in Nicosia who dressed in military uniform with many medals across his chest. Osman remembered him well, as do many other people we have spoken to, and was at one time chastised by his father for chasing after Ahmet Rasim and ridiculing him. His father told him he was a shoemaker who had made boots for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and he should be treated with respect. Of course Osman would have been a very young person at the time but he remembers his father’s words and like many others he remembers Ahmet and can still see him as a slim and rather fragile looking man, he thought he was actually Turkish, but we cannot find out a lot of information about him and it is becoming a quest to learn more.
It is strange how events come about and I never thought that after writing the original Alikko and Caher article I would actually meet one of the people who portrayed one of the characters. A simple comment on a Facebook page and this resulted in contact with a very interesting man who is bringing a play to North Cyprus in aid of a local charity which cyprusscene has supported for some years.
To see the 2 articles previously written about the Alikko and Caher characters the links are:-
Tribute to Kemal Tunc – click here
Alikko and Caher still together – click here