Readers mail from Roger Bara……
Congratulations on your Enewspaper – as someone who publishes a quarterly newsletter, I am well aware of the terrific amount of work involved, so well done!
I am writing to let you know of a blog site called “Rusuk” that I write with an American and a Russian friend. It just so happens that our latest is simply called “TRNC.” The American and I both live here, and the Russian is a regular visitor. We give our individual assessment of this country, and its isolation from the rest of the world.
You are free to use any or all of the three blogs on this subject, and you will find it by clicking here:
Best wishes for the future success of Cyprusscene,
Stop treating North Cyprus like North Korea
Cyprus deserves recognition from the rest of the world…
The recent history of this part of the Eastern Med is well documented, but basically, the Turkish army, back in 1974, arrived in force on the island to stop the attempted genocide that the Greeks, and Greek Cypriots, had been carrying out at various times during the 50s, 60s and early 70s. The Greeks wanted to get rid of all Turkish Cypriots, so that they could have the island to themselves, contrary to what had been agreed in 1960 when the Brits ran away from their responsibilities.
Yes, the Brits in London could not have cared less about the attempted genocide, in fact they have never acknowledged it, and the rest of the world seemed even less interested.
The Island was then divided, with a UN-run “green line” dividing the north side, inhabited by the Turkish Cypriots, and the south side, which was predominantly Greek Cypriot. Naturally, there were justifiable complaints from both sides of the community about land and property which effectively had to be given up because of the divide.
Since the divide, however, there has been very little violence, and the last death as a result of the conflict was decades ago. The border is now crossable at seven different locations, since 2004, and therefore you would think all is ok.
And yes, there have been efforts to bring the two sides together, to create a one-nation Cyprus again – in 2004 the then UN top guy Kofi Annan negotiated a settlement, which the Turkish side accepted, but the Greek side did not. Then, just this past year in 2017, a huge effort to obtain conciliation between the sides failed miserably, as it was always bound to.
You see, the Greek side insist that there can be no negotiation until the Turkish troops are removed. Now, as soon as the troops are gone, what is to stop the genocide from starting again? Why wouldn’t it start again? Some Greeks already bring up their children to hate the Turks, so if it happened in the fifties and sixties, why not again now?
Also, don’t think that the streets of North Cyprus are patrolled by Kalashnikov-wielding soldiers. You never see them.
This part of the Island is the most peaceful place on God’s earth. The people here are the most gentle, loving, peaceful citizens you could ever wish to meet. There is little crime, no drinking or drugs “culture” that plagues most of the rest of Europe (maybe except for some of us ex-pats..) and the pace of life is slow, friendly, and old fashioned enough to be an extremely attractive place to retire or to holiday.
But while the Greek Cypriots can enjoy relations with the rest of the world, and be accepted into the European Union, and all the benefits that free trade can bring, and remember, they started all this shit, the North, the Turkish side, are treated like some pariah state.
They cannot deal with any other country apart from Turkey, cannot have direct flights from any other country except Turkey, and even their sportsmen and women are banned from taking part in international competition, because, you see, they don’t exist. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as it has become, is simply not recognised.
For us ex-pats, maybe that’s no bad thing. Many of you will be dissuaded from coming here, because the Greeks will tell you what a terrible place it is, and how unsafe it is, and you will probably be shot………and most travel agents are so ignorant, they go with that flow. So we expats don’t have to share our piece of heaven with many of you!
But it’s the local people, the ones who don’t in fact point nuclear weapons at anybody, who don’t indulge in murderous activities, who are not training terrorists, they are the ones who are suffering this great injustice.
The UN clearly could change things. They are not interested.
The rest of the world cannot be bothered, and quite frankly, the likes of Britain and the USA can’t even run their own countries, let alone worry about little old North Cyprus.
We have a Cyprus solution already – almost….. We still have the borders that can still be crossed, as long as you are not a criminal or terrorist. All we need is recognition that we are a country that deserves the same treatment as the south side.
Is that really too much to ask?
Let Me Ask You A Question…
In March 1821, the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire began. More than a million Greeks also lived in what is now Turkey. So begins the first line from the Wikipedia article on the subject of Greek/Turkish history. These two cultures hate each other and they have managed to keep the hate alive for a long, long time.
During the height of the Cold War the Greek Cypriots decided they should be a part of Greece. This was despite the fact the Greece was run by a dictatorship. But there were two problems: the Turkish Cypriot minority and their British protectors. The answer: kill those who stood in the way; even Greek Cypriots. Anytime the Turkish Cypriots or British resisted, claim victimhood and declare the need for a more formable response.
A part of this was what today we would call ethnic cleansing. By the date of Turkish Intervention the Turkish Cypriots had been herded into three percent of the land and they were quickly being squeezed more. Homes were looted, then burned and pulled down. If any Greek Cypriots were killed during the process, it was offered as proof that Turkish Cypriots were animals and force was needed to protect the innocent. Therefore efforts should be re-doubled to protect our children. I’ll not bore you with the bloody details but if you want to know more, I will recommend The Genocide Files by Harry Scott Gibbons.
At the heart of the issue is how the EU and NATO could allow this to take place in a European country. Remember, this was taking place during the Cold War. If Greece and Turkey had gone to war, the entire Southern flank of NATO would have collapsed. The loss of a few thousand illiterate Turkish Cypriot goat herders seemed like a small price to pay. Perhaps, given the hundreds of millions of lives at stake, that wasn’t entirely bad logic.
So Europe simply pretended what happened — didn’t. The pleas of British Troops on the ground fell on deaf ears in London. While the ethnic cleansing and genocide may have failed, this was close to the perfect crime. Even today, Greek Cypriots know almost nothing of what their Grand-Parents did. Don’t think I am promoting some Turkish cause for a single second: The Turks were successful with their genocide in Armenia and their people are in a similar state of ignorance. Nobody wants an old Nazi for a much loved family member.
As a result, a grave injustice was done and Europe to this day refuses to acknowledge what happened. The Turkish Cypriots live under economic sanctions for the crimes of others. They have been forced to pay a price for the last fifty years; while Greek Cypriots use the fact that Europe gave them a pass as proof of innocence. “We’re a member of the EU & you’re only a proto-state, recognized by Turkey.” It’s a common reframe and I hear it often.
I’ll close with the following:
- Who did the Turkish Cypriots invade?
- What land did they steal?
- Whose Army entered the North?
- Who is being punished for crimes no-one thinks they committed?
- Is the Cold-War over?
- Can you name a single justification for continuing these lies?
- Is Europe really this evil?
The TRNC and its future
Looking at the map of Cyprus most of us probably don’t know that there are de facto two states, not just a single one on this island. Since times immemorial this tiny place has always been a crossroad of civilizations so it has a rich history. It has a troubled past with the Venetians, the Crusaders, the Osman and British invaders, etc. echoing its presence: now the land is divided between two communities, Greek and Turkish, and you can’t say it is a single nation in any possible way.
The South looks more like Europe, wealthy and prosperous. It is also Christian Orthodox. North is obviously Turkish and it is Moslem. Its currency is the Turkish Lira, one can see Turkish (and TRNC) flags waving all around places together. The locals speak Turkish, after all. The living standards here are not as high as down south.
As I understand, so far the efforts to make it a unified two-level state on a single island have failed and there is no guarantee that the rich South would like to embrace poorer and different North. It is not the case of East and West Germany or South and North Korea, so to speak. It seems like those two communities here, Greek and Turkish, have always lived their separate ways and there is no way for them to live as one in the future.
To make a long story short, Cyprus is not a single nation.
From an outsider’s point of view, as I am, I don’t see what is so different between Greece and Southern Cyprus and between Turkey and Northern Cyprus, respectively. Right, there are differences but there are, it seems to be, much more things in common, again, respectively. Probably people in the South think they want to stay independent from Greece. So be it.
On the other hand, the TRNC will finally drift to the Turkish shores, it is a question of time to me. Maybe they will have some kind of autonomy but in fact the TRNC is Turkey.
We should forget about a one-state Cyprus because it has been non-existent quite for some time already. If the West doesn’t want the TRNC to be a part of Turkey maybe it is time for the UK, US, etc. to officially recognize it as an independent state.