By Serpil Kadirlar……..

As the 34th anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus approaches on the 15th of November, preparations are underway to honour the day when Turkish Cypriots exercised their right to self declaration as a people who had fallen victim to a systematic genocide. The day carries mixed emotions for Turkish Cypriots across the spectrum. Whether those who lived through the pain and suffering inflicted upon them, or those who, even though born into an unelected status of diaspora, after families were forced to flee to foreign lands in order to spare their lives and the lives of their children- nonetheless carry the pride of being born a Turkish Cypriot. It is a day to celebrate survival. It is a day to celebrate National Pride and community spirit, which often becomes lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Mass Graves full of Turkish Cypriots are dotted across the island

But it is also a day of great sadness. No amount of pride will bring back the innocent women, children, babies and elderly of Murtaga, Sandallar, Atlilar, Taskent and Terazi (to name a few), who were thrown into mass graves. No amount of community spirit will change that once there was a community of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots who just got on with daily life, before the island became a blood bath. All in the name of ENOSIS. An ideology imported from Greece which glorified unification with mainland Greece, and although the Island has fallen into many hands during the course of its history, it had never been attached to Greece further than hosting Greek settlers during various eras during the bronze age, and later,  via the Eastern Roman Empire.

However, ancient history does not change the modern history facts, that Turkish Cypriots were forced to organise an independent administration after being continuously isolated by Greek Cypriot politicians who consistently violated the constitution, and the systematic genocide of Turkish Cypriots was well underway by the early 60’s. All of the Greek Cypriot Politicians at the time were members of the terrorist organisation EOKA. All of the Greek Cypriot politicians continued to campaign for ENOSIS. The communal chamber was dissolved (a chapter of the constitution which ensures social, economical, political, religious and educational equality for both communities), and in 1964, in further violation of the constitution, Makarios announced that he would only recognize minority rights for Turkish Cypriots.

In a documentary called ‘Homeland’, created by the Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad (ATCA), Rauf Denktas, the late founding President of the TRNC, explains;

“While signing the Cyprus constitution in 1960, unknown to the Turks at the time, Makarios had already appointed Georgadjis as  the interior minister in command of a new Cypriot army. By the time we had realized this, it was already too late…”

In 1974, Turkey exercised her right as a guarantor nation within the parameters of the 1960 Cyprus constitution to  intervene in Cyprus and put an end to the massacre being committed against the Turkish Cypriots.

In light of this very significant anniversary, a complete breakdown of the lead up to the partition of the island will be published in the Cyprus Scene newspaper, 5th edition, next week. For those who want to read more details leading to the intervention of 1974 click here.

Rauf Denktas addresses the Nation on the 15th of November 1983

After the partition of the island, which did indeed put a lasting end to the massacre, after years of failed negotiations, Turkish Cypriots found themselves becoming more and more isolated, and in an attempt to exercise their right to determination, on the 15th of November 1983, the late Rauf Denktas announced to the world, the formation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Today, the status quo remains. The several attempts of negotiations over several decades have continued to fail, and the suffering of victims ignored.

Yes, On the 15th of November, the public holiday will be one of celebration. It will be one of pride. It will be a day to honour the soldiers who paid the ultimate price for freedom, and to mourn the innocent civilians, many of which remain in the mass graves they were placed in- all in the name of a fantasized ideology.

MAY THE DEVASTATION OF THE PAST NEVER RETURN TO THE SHORES OF CYPRUS AGAIN.

Photo taken by Claire Lamb of CESV