By Ismail Veli…….
My recent visit to Cyprus was no doubt one of the most hectic in my life including BRTK Radio and TV interviews.Though the purpose of my visit was to attend a close friend’s wedding, it soon became apparent that my research into my village history and roots would take over. Apart from visiting elderly relatives, my friend Chris of Cyprusscene.com thought he would approach BRTK radio and television to see if they would be interested in the research of Lurucina’s history. Can Gazi who is a regular presenter on Bayrak International English speaking radio and Engin Dervish who directs and presents an English speaking programme also on BRT2 TV, agreed to meet up for a preliminary meeting. Having had some experience of attending Turkish speaking radio and TV programs in the UK I had no problem in accepting such a meeting. What surprised me was the level of interest and professionalism they showed. It was clear that they were delighted to hear a different story to the usual Cypriot politics and problems associated with the island.
The interview with Can Gazi was arranged for Thursday 8th October. I was naturally delighted that it was all in English, though able to converse in Turkish, my language of preference for important interviews is English. After 6 years of research mixing up my words was not an option. I was equally amazed at the line of questioning. Can Gazi had never met me, neither was he aware of the subject on hand and yet he seemed to ask all the right questions which made the interview flow so well that I also noticed the young lady in the recording studio becoming enthralled and captivated by the last 500 years of my Lurucina history, in particular the parts associated to my roots. The program was transmitted on the 12th October 2015.
Please listen to my recorded interview on BRTK Northern Exposure radio show with Can Gazi by clicking on the audio link below.
On the morning of the 12th October, Engin Dervish also brought his film crew to Chris Elliott’s home for a great garden backdrop interview. The rising sun seemed to cause problems with the filming but Engin and his film crew were up to the task. They arranged the shooting accordingly and as with Can Gazi their professionalism was second to none.
Engin’s questioning was spot on, and this helped me to relax and respond in my usual relaxed and passionate manner in which I enjoy my chosen subjects.
Though my 2 weeks was spent at breakneck speed with interviews, national archives visits, village and other related issues I came back to the UK with a sense of satisfaction in that my attempts to help raise awareness on the immense cultural and historical archive information uncovered in recent years has not gone totally unnoticed. In fact I was delighted to see that ordinary people who have had too much politics, bickering and partisan issues to deal with for 50 years are more than happy to find that some people do not travel to Cyprus to lecture, preach or judge the way they live, but simply to search and share the knowledge of our common ancestry in terms ordinary and professional people can relate to.
The staff at the Milli Arsiv ve Arastirma Dairesi (National Archive and Research Center) were an amazingly helpful team that ranges from Ottoman, Greek, Turkish and English translators. I was very fortunate to have met a few University professor lecturers of Ottoman history who happened to be in Kyrenia during my visit. They were in Cyprus for a massive seminar at the Near East University on the subject of Ottoman rule in Cyprus. What surprised me was that despite their high position and qualifications they were so pleased to assist and advise me on certain aspects of my research.
Another mild surprise was to find that an acquaintance Okan, and husband of Dilek Yavuz Yanik who was the representative of the TRNC office in the UK a few years ago also worked at the national archives. He guided and showed me some of the work being carried out at the archives and insisted I have lunch with him and Dilek hanim. I was no doubt delighted to meet up with Dilek hanim as she was a very popular Representative of the Turkish Cypriot community in the UK. She showed a lot of interest in my activities to which I am eternally grateful.
Last but not least I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Tulips care center for cancer patients, and view for myself the amazing work these dedicated team of volunteers do, and continue to do in helping victims of this illness which afflicts every family in the world. They are raising awareness to a level not previously seen in the TRNC. Their amazing energy, love and care in which they go about their task left me speechless. The sad thing is they seem to be getting no financial assistance from the government.
They rely simply on the generosity of donations, functions, and volunteer work, and yet they have raised awareness to such a degree among the population that not a single person I met in North Cyprus did not know of the fantastic work done by Raziye Kocaismail (a relative from Lurucina), her support workers Jayne Matter and Pam Kennedy, to mention just two, and of course many which I don’t know by name. One of the highlights of our meeting was an immensely wonderful lunch at Raziye Kocaismail’s brother’s restaurant in Nicosia who prepared one of the best traditional Cypriot cuisines I have had the good fortune to enjoy.
Meeting and talking to these wonderful ladies gave me the impression that if our political establishment had the same level of care, professionalism, dedication and above all care, the immense problems facing the Turkish Cypriot people would be at a much healthier level.
Yes, my two weeks were tiring, and fatigue set in, but the joy of having met so many fantastic people more than made up for it.
To read more of the people and village of Lurucina please click on the links below to visit my website “Families of Lurucina” and also the many articles I have published on cyprusscene.com
Articles on Cyprusscene.com