PC 554 Yusuf Ziya (Muslu)
and the on-going story of Newman’s Farm
By Margaret Sheard….
I have been very absorbed in the story of Newman’s Farm over the last 2-3 years with many hours of research and eventually the story evolved with the assistance of the present day Newman family in the UK and Australia. In 2014 we met the great grand-daughter from Australia and the grand-daughter from the UK of the original Newman’s who started what eventually became Newman’s Farm in Kyrenia.
This story was so intriguing and interesting to write and I felt I would like to try and progress with it to the present day. I am aware of the last 19 years to the present day of what was the original farm and now would like to fill in the gap between 1959 when the Newman’s left Cyprus and 1996 when Hűseyin Kanbur refurbished the building to become The Chinese House Restaurant which we now know today.
As a result of various articles written about Newman’s Farm, I was contacted by Ertan Ziya, who lives in Canterbury in the UK, and he told me that his father had taken over the farm in about 1961 after the Newman family left, so this is the next phase of the history of Newman’s Farm and another interesting story of the Ziya family.
Yusuf Ziya was born in 1911 in a village called Potamya (Bodamya) which is now in the south of the island and near to Lurucina/Akincilar.
Despite doing well at school, Yusuf’s parents were not rich enough to support him in furthering his education and so he left school and, at the age of 16, his parents altered his birth certificate so in 1927 he joined the Police Force, supposedly 18 years old whereas in fact he was only 16 years old.
It is not known when Yusuf moved to Kyrenia but he married in 1934 and as, we are told, his wife Nahide Cemal lived all of her life in Kyrenia, it is thought he must have moved there some time before that date. He was stationed at Çatalköy and also Bogaz (Ağırdağ) and other villages as we understand under British law the officers had to move stations every 2 years.
We have been told that Yusuf’s father, Mustafa, was married to a Greek Cypriot lady and there was some mystery when Yusuf and Nahide became engaged as it seems her father called the engagement off for a while but then relented and so they were eventually married.
There were 4 children – Erbil, followed by Erden exactly one year later, Gunay who now lives in the USA, and then, 16 years later, Ertan who lives in the UK. As a result of injuries from a motorcycle accident, Yusuf was forced to retire from the Police Force in March 1960 after 33 years service and it was following this that he leased Newman’s Farm.
Sometime around 1955, Yusuf opened a grocery store in one room of their house in Yazicizade Sokak, Upper Kyrenia which is in the old Turkish quarter and catered mainly for British customers, and this was so successful that within 2 years they opened another store in Nicosia which Erbil took over and his mother and her sister continued to run the store in Kyrenia. Erbil shortly after moved to England and his mother continued to run the shop until she died in 1982. Erbil then moved back to Cyprus and reopened the shop again in 1984 and ran it until he retired in 2000.
Yusuf Ziya leased Newman’s Farm in approximately 1961 and his youngest son Ertan who was about 5 years old at the time can faintly remember Charlie Newman and a dog called Bobby, although the Newman family do not recall Charlie having a dog. There was also a black snake and Yusuf would put milk out for it every morning for about 6 months until the snake stopped coming. By 1963 Kyrenia was under the control of the Greek army and Ertan said it was dangerous being Turkish in that area and so in 1964 they had to move away. So here we have another 3-4 years of the life of Newman’s Farm and the family which took it over.
Ertan remembers celebrating his 6th birthday on 10th March 1962 at Newman’s Farm with friends who were English. He and a girl were the only Turkish pupils at the English school he attended, the rest of the pupils were all English.
This is what Ertan has said which prompted the decision to leave the farm and the area.
“In 1964, shortly after the fighting began between the Turks and the Greeks, one of our cows was giving birth in the evening and myself, Erbil and our father had to go to the farm. On our way home, around midnight, we were stopped by approximately 20 Greek police with guns. My father and brother put their hands up and I did the same, although I did not know why I was doing it. One of the Greek policemen happened to be an ex-colleague of my father from the police and he advised my father that it wasn’t safe for him and my brother in that area. In the next few days Erbil and my father moved to the Turkish quarter in Nicosia where we had a shop, they also took along the cows and some of the other animals. I stayed with my mother and sister in Girne where we had another shop.
There was an occasion when the local shepherd, who could not read, did not know that the trees had been sprayed (there would have been a notice warning that the trees had been sprayed) and many of the sheep and goats were lost as they had eaten the leaves from the trees and the grass beneath them.
With the war going on it simply wasn’t possible for my Father to even communicate with my brother Erden in Turkey as the Greek Cypriots controlled everything and so he was not able to continue to fund Erden’s education at University in Istanbul.
From the day Erbil and my father moved to Nicosia the farm was left derelict, with everything left behind other than the animals. There were two Greek farms either side of the farm and we assume that they or others took everything that was left behind.”
During his service in the Police Force, Yusuf was awarded medals, unfortunately we are told by his daughter Gunay that the medals she had were stolen from her house but Ertan still has 2 of his father’s medals, which were awarded by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.
I had also managed to contact the daughter of the family, Gunay, who lives in Texas in the USA and she agreed to share her memories of the farm.
Gunay said that they all worked at the farm and she remembered Charlie Newman and how nice he was and also she remembered there were 2 children. This would probably have been the children of Charlie’s first marriage as Patricia, who we met when she came to North Cyprus in 2014, was a baby, born in 1958 of Charlie’s second marriage, and she returned to the UK with the family in 1959.
Yusuf Ziya worked at the farm most of the time and loved the cows and the other animals, he did the milking and helped the cows when they were calving. Erbil, the eldest son helped at the farm on Sundays, he was busy with the grocery store for the rest of the week. Erden, the second son, was studying medicine in Istanbul but he came to the farm for 3 months in the summer when he helped out as well.
Gunay also worked at the farm on a Sunday as a cashier dealing with the visitors who came for sandwiches, ice cream and milk shakes.
Some of the recollections Gunay has are of the people her parents knew, there was Governor and Lady Battershill, Yusuf played polo with the Governor and they were good friends as well as customers at their store. Sir William Denis Battershill was Colonial Secretary, Cyprus, 1935-37. He was appointed Governor of Cyprus in 1939 but spent four years during World War II (1941-1945) in England as Assistant and, later, Deputy Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. He retired, owing to ill health in 1949 and made his home in Cyprus. He died on 11 August 1959.
There was also Brigadier and Mrs Cumming who were good friends and customers. Next to the farm lived Mr and Mrs Nether and Mr and Mrs Matthews who used to sell Orange Peacock Ceylon Tea. They all loved the farm.
Gunay told me she left North Cyprus when she was 21 years old, she lived in Istanbul for 2 years and then went to England to study nursing before moving on to the USA where her son John, who is a lawyer, was born and she also has a grand-daughter – Lane. Gunay has said the whole family loved the farm and although she has been away from Cyprus for many years, her heart is still here.
During his time in the Police Force, Yusuf was stationed in Çatalköy and Gunay sent me a lovely photograph of her father with his horse and herself, when she was 4 years old, and 2 of her brothers – Erbil and Erden, this was in 1944 and we think was possibly taken at the rear of the Police Station in Çatalköy. Gunay says the horse’s stable was No.1, it was always dry and kept very clean.
After this Yusuf had a BSA motor cycle – I suppose this was progress but the thought of the police on horseback is very appealing. It seems that Yusuf was at Catalkoy Police Station for 10 years and he had a good friend – Mr Mihayilidis – who eventually turned the Police Station into a house, his daughter married Gunay’s geography teacher who taught at an English school in Kyrenia.
In 1948 the family moved to Ağırdağ and stayed there until 1952 following which they returned to Kyrenia and following this period Yusuf was stationed at a small Police Station in Limassol – Moni Police Station.
Gunay’s grandfather on her mother’s side had 6 children, 5 girls and 1 boy and he gave each of the children a house, the Yazicizade Sokak house was given to Gunay’s mother (Nahide) and this has now passed down to Ertan the youngest of the Ziya sons. Gunay says her grandfather was a very smart man and he worked for 40 years at Tapu Dairesi (Land Office) retiring in 1940.
Sadly, some of the family are no longer here, Nahide died in 1982 in England but is buried in Karaoğlanoğlu, We understand that Nahide went to England to visit Ertan. It was a very long journey for her and on arrival she was not well and she was taken to Stafford Hospital (in the Midlands) where she died and the family brought her back to Cyprus for burial.
Yusuf died in 1993 and is buried in Nicosia, Erbil died in 2007 and is buried in Karaoğlanoğlu, Erden died in Vienna, Austria in 2010 and is buried there. We noted that Yusuf’s birth date on the gravestone was shown as 1909 and not 1911, but of course this was as a result of the changing of his birth certificate when he joined the Police Force.
With regard to Yusuf’s burial in Cyprus it seems that the name on the headstone also has the name Muslu i.e. Yusuf Ziya Muslu.
I was experiencing a bit of confusion with the family name and Ertan has kindly explained this.
I should mention that up until 1974 our surname was Ziya but from 1974 the laws changed regarding surnames and our family name changed to Muslu. As myself and both my brothers had left Cyprus by this point, our names in England (myself and Erbil) stayed as Ziya but in Cyprus we were Muslu. Erden’s surname became Zia but this was as a result of an error on his passport where the name was incorrectly shown.
There are still members of the family in Kyrenia.
We had established that Erbil’s wife, Behiye. and family lived in Ozanköy and we visited her to see if she could add anything to the story. Behiye told me that she went to England in 1964, she had known Erbil in Cyprus and they met again in England where they married and stayed for 20 years before coming back to North Cyprus when they re-opened the shop in Kyrenia and ran this for a further 20 years. Unfortunately, Behiye was only able to recall a few memories of things her husband had told her.
Erbil, the eldest son, met and married Behiye in England and they had a house in Dunstable. They had 2 children – Yusuf, born in 1967, who was known by most as Ziya, and Yasemin born in 1975. Sadly Ziya (Yusuf) died at an early age in 2003. His father, Erbil, died in 2007. Yasemin has a daughter – Arya and Behiye now shares her Girne home with her daughter and family in a street named Yusuf Ziya Muslu Sokak which is a very fitting name. When meeting them I seem to recall they said they were able to have an input when new street names were allocated a few years ago.
Gunay, the only daughter of Yusuf and Nahide, lives in Texas in the USA, she has a son – John, who is a lawyer and a grand-daughter – Lane.
Erden and Hilde had 3 children – Attila, Nahide and Argun and there are now 5 grandchildren. Due to the problems in Cyprus, Yusuf was unable to communicate with Erden or continue with funds for his university education where he was studying medicine and so Erden was unable to complete his studies to qualify
Ertan, the youngest of Yusuf’s children, lives in Canterbury in the UK, where he has a restaurant. He has 5 children – Yasin, Cem, Erhan, Erdem and Kurt and one grand-daughter – Holly (the daughter of Cem). Ertan tries to visit Kyrenia once or twice a year and we were so pleased to finally meet him when he came to Cyprus this year.
We met up with Ertan in 2015 on one of his visits to North Cyprus and we also had the opportunity of meeting with Erden’s wife Hilde who was staying at her house in Zeytinlik. Hilde lives in Vienna but spends time each year at the house she and Erden built in Zeytinlik many years ago.
During a recent visit to see Hilde while she was still in North Cyprus I asked how and why she first decided to come to Cyprus and her reply was very interesting. Hilde had gone to England to work for a family and to improve her English. She saved as much as she could and then in 1962, with a girl friend, a trip was planned to hitch-hike across Europe over a 3½ month period. They eventually arrived in Cyprus which Hilde really liked. For two young ladies to embark on such an adventure in 1962 was a very brave thing to do and Hilde said she had some lovely memories of her experiences. The following year Hilde decided to return to Cyprus, this time with a Swiss girl friend and their route was from Vienna to Athens which was by train and then by boat from Greece to Limassol. At that time, in Limassol, the only way to the dock was from the boat to a smaller boat by means of a very rickety ladder and Hilde said the crew dropped her luggage into the water so all her belongings got soaking wet. This is how Hilde came to be in Cyprus and she tells her story below:-
The first time I came to Cyprus was summer 1962 and I liked it so much that I returned the following year and intended to spend more time here. I was looking for a place to earn my living and was introduced by a friend to Newman’s Farm. Mr. Yusuf agreed that I could work for him to prepare snacks and serve drinks to customers. I stayed in a house owned by the Ziya family which was rented out. Erden was helping his father at the farm as he spent his summer holidays there. So it was Newman’s Farm where I met my future husband. I remember very clearly his first words to me which were – “what do you want?”. I was rather taken aback as I didn’t at first realise he was asking – what can I get you.
In October 1963 Erden had to return to Istanbul to continue his studies and he persuaded me to go with him which I did. Later on I applied there for working permission and had a job in a German Travel Agency and removal firm for diplomats. This was from May 1964 to September 1965. I had a good income which was badly needed because of the troubles in Cyprus and Erden had no contact with his parents.
After that time we decided to move to my home town – Vienna, and got married.
Erden started to work in Vienna for an X-ray specialist and later for the largest Travel Agency in Vienna – the same one I was working for at that time – he worked in the banking department until his retirement.
In 1993 we bought land in Zeytinlik from Erden’s uncle who had inherited it from his father, who used to work in the Land Registry Office. We built a nice house there – we also have a small house in Girne, opposite Erden’s parents, where we used to spend our summer holidays with the children, but it became too small for us.
In 1995 – the year of the big fire – our house was finished and after our retirement we spent six months in Cyprus and six months in Vienna.
Our eldest son Attila is now the owner of the Cyprus houses in agreement and compensation of our other children and he and his family, including his son David, love it very much. For the time being they spend their holidays here as all of our children are working and have good jobs in Vienna. All three of them finished University in Vienna studying economy and obtaining master’s degrees.
Our daughter Nahide has 4 children, Raffael, Annabel, Nikolas, and Benedikt and our youngest son Argun has an adopted son, Armin.
Although we have met some of the family, it is unfortunate that because of the location of the sons and daughter of Yusuf all those years ago, it is difficult to obtain much information and both Gunay and Ertan have done a great job in recalling memories of their father and their early time in Cyprus, to enable us to put a story together, and also Hilde who has given her account of her life with Erden, the second born son of Yusuf.
Even though there is still some of the Ziya family in North Cyprus, the rest of the Ziya/Zia family are scattered with daughter-in-law Hilde in Austria, daughter Gunay in the USA and youngest son Ertan in the UK.
We had been told that there was an elderly gentleman in Kyrenia, who had also been in the Police Force, and he might be able to help us to fill in some of the gaps. We spent a long time trying to track down Şefik Hasan (Yerli) but we finally did in Upper Kyrenia near to the Yusuf Zia shop and he told us that although he remembered Yusuf and his family, he was a young boy at the time and so knew more of the sons and daughter than Yusuf himself, but he remembered his father was Yusuf’s boss and that Yusuf was in charge of the Police Station in Ağirdağ at one time. Şefik’s father and grandfather were also policemen and Şefik followed in their footsteps, he was in Limassol from 1958 to 1960 then came back to Kyrenia and was also based in Nicosia from 1967 to 1971. Şefik attained the rank of Detective Sergeant and second in charge of CID in Kyrenia. He resigned from the Police Force in 1973.
I cannot vouch that all the information in this article is 100% correct but it is as much as I have been able to learn over the past year, with a lack of information being available pre-1974. Of course if there are relatives of policemen from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who may have some family history which coincides with Yusuf’s time in the Police Force, we would be pleased to hear from you.