From the mountains of the Dillirga there is a new beginning

By Chris Elliott…

On Thursday 22nd November I went at the invitation of my dear friend John Aziz Kent to a special event he was hosting in the Kumarcılar Hanı in Lefkosa.

John was born in Lefke and from a poor family and he started working for a copper mining company in Limnidi near Polis to support his family.  During the Cyprus Troubles he became a member of the local Turkish Cypriot resistance and having links to British intelligence he was placed on a death list by Greek Cypriots and after a number of attempts on his life he moved to the UK.

On arrival John continued his studying and worked in a laundry and then moved on to eventually open his first business which led him to start businesses in Soho, and the rest is history of a very successful businessman owning a number of famous restaurants.  Returning to Cyprus in later years he wanted to start a business and build a hotel but his efforts were constantly being blocked by Greek Cypriots but following the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1974, John was able to complete the building of the Celebrity Hotel and after that the Chateau Lambousa Hotel and holiday complex.

As a successful businessman and founding father of Turkish Cypriot Tourism, John, who is the Honorary President of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Association, had a desire to help his people and preserve Cyprus Heritage and was able to buy the ruins of the Ottoman Kumarcılar Han in Lefkosa and after 35 years with help from the Turkish Embassy and the government of the TRNC he was able restore this building as a beautiful tourist feature in the centre of the ancient city of Lefkosa (Nicosia).

So it was a very appropriate place for John Aziz Kent as Chairman to hold the first meeting of the “Uluslararası Kıbrıslı Türk Dillirgalılar Derneği” which is the international association of Turkish Cypriots whose families came from the Dillirga region of North West Cyprus with the village of  Yedidalga on the north coast of the TRNC and many people from mountainous regions near Lefke and the village of Yalya in the South of Cyprus.

The foundation of this association is to bring together Turkish Cypriots from around the world that came from the Dillirga region and to promote on an international platform their human rights and also help them rediscover their roots and Ottoman heritage and seek to regain and make good use of the land once held by its peoples.

Together We Will Do It” is the slogan of the association which aims to unite the people of Northern Cyprus and to work together and, through truth, bring  peace and develop the economy of the TRNC through Tourism and Enterprise.