By Serpil Kadılar…….
Daily News of Life and times in North Cyprus goes around the world
Greek Cypriot Administration continues to support EOKA
Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades stated that the Greek Cypriot government decided to create a fund for EOKA supporters.
According to Greek Cypriot daily Alithia, during a speech at the inauguration of the EOKA Home’s “Road to Freedom 2017” activities, Anastasiades said that the Greek Cypriot government has decided to contribute 100 thousand Euros to the fund.
Anastasiades also praised the works of the Home for EOKA.
Akıncı to meet with political party leaders and representatives
President Mustafa Akıncı will meet today 16th may 2017 with the leaders and representatives of the political parties represented in the TRNC Assembly.
Ahead of the leaders’ meeting on Wednesday 17 May, the latest status of the negotiations and the opinions and evaluations of the political party leaders will be discussed at the meeting in the Presidency at 12.00 pm.
“19th of May Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day” to be celebrated in the TRNC
The 19th of May Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports celebrations week started with the lighting of the “Youth torch” in front of the Lefkoşa Atatürk Monument yesterday.
The National Education and Culture Minister Özdemir Berova participated in the opening ceremony. The celebrations were organized by the Ministry of National Education and Culture and will take place for a week until 19th of May.
TRNC students will participate, together with government officials, in the celebrations that will include dance shows, sports, cultural, social and environmental activities, as well as a music competition.
To read more news and information from the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please click here
Pictures shown are courtesy of the TRNC Public Information Office Facebook page.
By John Aziz Kent……..
Dear Chris and Margaret,
I follow your articles and others printed on your cyprusscene page and it is very refreshing to see an English couple who have discovered the TRUTH of the Cyprus issue between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
And how the Greek side with the help of other nations have managed to put the Cypriot Turks into an open prison for over half a century I think these countries that spoiled the Hellenic nation of Greece and the always conniving Cypriot, so called, State that managed to graduate from the highest school of liars way back in 1950 under the guidance of Makarios, the Archbishop of the Orthodox Church who decided to unite Cyprus with Greece.
He had no thoughts for the 35% Turkish Cypriot population and so he called in Grivas a murdering General from Greece who formed a terrorist organisation called EOKA with a bunch of killers to help him and anybody who objected to Enosis, he had them killed.
Those people who were killed for objecting to the move for Enosis were Cypriot Greeks and Turks and English as well and so many Turkish Cypriots emigrated and their properties were requisitioned so they could never come back and the Turkish population has diminished to its present low numbers. I too had to leave my homeland in 1956 and there were also two attempts on my own life, one in Cyprus and later one in London.
The last Greek attempt to annihilate the Turks or force them out of Cyprus was stopped by Turkey who as a guarantor power intervened in 1974 and the Turkish Cypriots have been able to live in peace and make a future for themselves despite being disadvantaged by embargoes and being unrecognised.
With the help of the EU, the Greek Cypriots are trying to push Turkey out of future involvement as a guarantor power so they can achieve their objective and the EU, UN and others are still not aware of the lies and crocodile tears of the Greek Cypriots as they manage to convince everybody that the Turks and Turkish Cypriots are all to blame for the tragedy of the Cyprus Issue. The Greek Cypriots have always laid the blame for the Cyprus issue on the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey and don’t seem to accept anything that happened prior to 1974 when Turkey intervened to stop the slaughter of the Turkish Cypriots.
On the 16th February 2017 we have seen angry Greek Cypriot Leader, Nikos Anastasiades, walking out of the Leaders meeting saying “I have nothing else to say” according to Turkish Cypriot President Akinci when the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor, Espen Barth Eide tried to wrap up the discussion.
The Greek Cypriots are adamant that they will destroy the Turkish Cypriot nation even though they are destroying themselves with their lies, lies and yet more lies.
There is a whole lot of stories written about the building or history of Government House of Cyprus, now the Presidential Palace. Probably the reason for this is the political connotations and being the residence and headquarters of the British Colonial Government of Cyprus. The Palace was the focus of Cypriot’s political attention in protests and actions against the British. But not much information exists on the Cypriot people who worked and lived there.
Ulvi Keser in his book Katırcılar: The Muleteers which is about the Cypriot Regiment in World War 2, he interviewed a returned serviceman Ali Tilki, who explained that he worked in the Government House until 1939. Ali Tilki said that he was working in the Government House as a waiter, until the war started. There was also another person named Hasan working with him. As my father was called by his surname Hasan by the British I am wondering if this person was my father as a very young man. However, I am not so sure as no other name was given for Hasan by Ali Tilki. There were two more Hasans who are mentioned below who worked at Government house later on. There was also another Turkish Cypriot named Kişbir Dayı who was responsible for the horses although there were only donkeys there then.
When Sir Hugh Foot arrived as the last British Governor of Cyprus we got to see some horses around as they were brought in for him to ride. Later on stables were built at the bottom of the gardens and some horses were kept for him. The Archibald kids and us were also given little rides by the attendant of the horses who was an Englishman named Mikey.
Also an Armenian girl named Nanny was also working at the Palace at that time. She was around 20 years of age in 1940 Ali Tilki mentions.
My father served during World War II between 1941 and 1946 as part of the Cyprus Contingent and served for the British Army in Egypt, Palestine and Italy. He told us very little about the War except that he got marginally deaf in his ears due to cannon fire when they had to bring in supplies to the front. As a result of his military service in the Cyprus Contingent he was rehabilitated into a job after the war in the Agriculture Department in Athalasa Nicosia. Later he was appointed to run the Government House gardens in the late 1940s. He must have been around 27 years old by then.
When I think and remember some of the people from my childhood memories, I do remember several of them that stand out. I remember the dedication and the commitment of my father Erdogan Hasan as well as the hard work of other staff that comes to mind. I will focus in this article on those people whom I remember as much as I could to remember them by name as a token or recognition and history of the workers of Government House. Maybe there is a record somewhere in the annals of the Palace with names of people who worked there as the British are known for their record keeping virtues. But who knows as the Palace got burned down twice, once in 1931 and the later episode being in 1974.
The people my father worked with were mainly Greek Cypriots in the early 1950s that he mentioned to us. I remember only three of the names and related stories I have been told by my mother and father. Sophia, Yango and Eftimia. I remember actually visiting Sophia’s house in Lakadamia a few times with our mother Gülten and playing with her kids. My mum said that Sophia was my father’s girlfriend a long time ago. Strangely they were respectful and friendly to each other! They would talk for hours inside while we played on the vacant allotment next to their house.
I met Yango in 1962 when my father was transferred out of the Government House to the Public Gardens across from the old Nicosia General Hospital now in South Nicosia. Yango was a good man and respected my father as my father was his boss in Government house previously. I remember his wife visiting us with their children even after the Greek families were turfed out of the Government house in 1957.
One story that sticks in my mind about Yango was how he warned our father on 21st December 1963 of the impending EOKA attacks on Cypriot Turks so that my father escaped the Greek controlled section of Nicosia when the trouble started on that day. Otherwıse if our father was taken by EOKA like some other people have been at that time , he would have been murdered and thrown into a well and never be found like others who are being searched for today ! So in a way Yango as a good human being saved my father’s life and I am forever very thankful to him. I never got to see him again. Although my father did pay him a visit in 1968 when the roads reopened and people could travel freely again. Yango was well and his family was ok too father said. I do not remember much of Eftimia except that she was an elderly lady compared to Sophia. I remember her in an all black outfit with a black headscarf in the gardens working in her later years .
I remember walking hand in hand with my sister Tülen and a giant of a Policeman, Mustafa, up the garden path to go home to see my newborn brother. I remember the birth of Eren my brother who is three years younger than me. It was early August 1955. Mustafa was the Police Sergeant in charge of the security of the garden gates. Sergeant Mustafa was Özer Koray’s father who became the Foreign Affairs Commissioner and representative in London for TRNC in recent years.
Although all our neighbours next to our house were Greek families pre 1956. I do not remember the adults’ names or what work they did as most probably they worked in the Palace itself as cooks, cleaners or waiters. The young man next door was the only one I remember sunning himself sitting on a chair who placed a bomb under the bed of the then Governor Sir John Harding. That incident of course was the cause for all the Greek Cypriot families to be turfed out of their jobs and the houses they were living in and replaced by the English Staff by the Governor. The Turkish Cypriot workers remained as they were not involved in that nasty business.
Hasan Cürcani was a Cypriot Turkish man who used to work in the office of the Government House as a holder of the purse strings and accounts and manager of the officers. I remember him coming down to the garden and paying all the workers weekly wages on Friday lunchtimes. He used to ask us kids “çocuklar bu hafta çalıştı mı?” have the children done any work this week? “. Our answer was always “yes” for which we were awarded a couple of piasters each. We could buy a fair few lollies for two piasters from Andrea the grocer on Strovolos road.
Hasan Cürcani explains the bomb story very well in his memoirs for Osman Güvenirs book called “The Days I Spent With Dr Fazıl Küçük”. Hasan Cürcani said the EOKA would do anything to further their ultimate goal of ENOSIS, unification aspiration of Cyprus with Greece, including the assassination of the British Governor. He explains the young man who was used by EOKA was a bit of a hoodlum of around 20 years of age who was given a bomb as small as a cigarette packet that would have killed Sir Harding if it went off. The Greek guy of course did not turn up for work the next day after he placed the bomb under the bed. Hasan Cürcani was asked by Sir Harding if he gave permission for the young man to be away on that day for which the answer was of course “No” by Hasan. As the British Captain responsible for security in the Palace was already suspicious of such Greek attacks and schemes he searched the whole Palace and located the bomb under Sir Harding’s bed and carried it out on a shovel. As soon as the package was taken out and left in open air it exploded luckily without any casualties. The young neighbour sent a message to my father on the next morning to take his bicycle from his room next door to our house and place it near the gate next to Strovolo Road as he was going to pick up his groceries from the shops. My father unaware of the situation and not knowing what was going on in the Palace and trying to help the young neighbour, did him a favour facilitating his escape. Hasan Cürcani explains that in 1960 When the Republic was announced there was a general pardon and amnesty given to all the misdeeds of EOKA fighters . This young Greek man turned up at the Palace found Hasan to the dismay and surprise of all the English staff and everyone else and demanded his wages for 21 days that he said he was not paid to him in 1956 and can he have his cheque for it. Hasan told him he was sacked then and that the Governor ordered that no more monies was to be paid to him. The young Greek guy protested and created a scene and was promptly kicked out of the Palace.
Straight away all the Greek neighbours were replaced by English families in early 1957. Our next door was occupied by the Archibalds who had four children Margaret, Joyce, Robert and David. Their father Sonny Archibald was the Chef for the Palace. We got on well and became good friends with the Archibald’s who we have got in touch with recently after 54 years Click here and click here for our previous Childhood Memories.
After the London and Zurich agreements in 1959 for the island to become a Republic shared by the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, Makarios was elected as President and Dr. Fazıl Küçük as Vice President according to the new constitution of Cyprus. Sir Hugh Foot who facilitated the agreements was holding weekly meetings with Makarios and Dr Küçük to hand over the running of the Presidentıal Palace and the Government business. It was in one of these meetings that Makarios raised the issue of Clerk Hasan as he called him. He did not foresee that Hasan Cürcani as a Turk should be working next to him. Hasan was made aware of the situation by Dr Küçük. The next day he said he was called to the office of Makarios and asked by him whether he would work with him. Hasan Cürcanı was a very well-educated public servant that could speak four languages and trained in the English tradition. An experienced Hasan knew what was coming and he responded by saying that he was a Public Servant of the government and he could work anywhere. He was promptly dismissed by Makarios and transferred to Dr Küçük’s office as a manager.
The earliest recollection of my father and mother working is under the large shed where all workers of the gardens collected to have their lunches or to do potting for flower seedlings to be planted around the Palace grounds. The shed was next to the irrigation pool that was one of the focal points of the garden at the first part of the slope going down into the gardens and orchards.
My father was responsible for all the Government House gardens on the hill where the Palace was sitting as well as the gardens below the hill where the orchards and vegetable patches were situated. The grounds were bounded by the river to the west and by the Strovolos Road to the east. I estimated the whole area to be approximately 300 donums of land. The gardens around the Palace were landscaped in the English style with lawns and flower beds that needed a lot of attention.
Many a time I remember observing my father working in a sweat in the landscaped areas with workers urging them to hurry so the work can be finished before the ceremonies started on the central lawns or around them. The lawns were cut by mowers pushed around by workers. I remember the first day when my father took the delivery of a large lawn mower and started it. It made a racket it was so noisy we kids had to block our ears to avoid the noise it was making. It was a shiny machine with a handle and controls for petrol and height adjustments. We were mesmerised how effective it was in doing the job compared to hand pushed mowers! My father would not let anyone else do the job any more. He loved that machine! He kept it all shiny and oiled all the time.
Rain or Shine there was work to be done around the gardens. So people turned up at work even if they were sick. After the Bomb episode in 1956 the workers in the gardens were all Turkish Cypriots. The Omologites and Strovolos areas were settled mainly by Greek Cypriots. The Turkish workers had to walk from the North part of Nicosia where they lived or ride their bicycles or catch the Greek bus to come to work. There was a father Hasan Hafız who saved Eren my brother when he fell into the water culvert. He was also a barber and used to cut our hair when he used to bring his barber tools to the gardens once in a while. His daughter Zühre Hasan used to ride to work with her father daily from Ortaköy. Zühre worked in the Palace cleaning and attending house duties helping the Armenian lady who was the house matron in the Palace.
The Armenian lady got married to one of the British Security Personnel and left in 1960 with her husband to live in England. Zühre turned up to work one morning sick as a dog. I remember my father getting upset with her father as to why he brought his sick daughter to work. Hasan the father was apologetic saying she did not want to lose her job. Such were the tough Cyprus times.
I witnessed another occasion with Ferhat the oldest of the garden workers who turned up after a week of being sick. I could see as a child that he was still sick as he was coughing and spluttering all over the place. My father promptly asked him to go home and get better before he turns up to work again. Poor Ferhat would not leave afraid that he would lose his job. Such was dedication to the jobs in those days.
There was another elderly Turkish woman called Nadir aba who was also in black working in the gardens. She ended up working for my father again after the 1963 troubles in Nicosia in the Nursery under the Bastion where the TRNC Presidential Palace is. My father used to attend both the Nursery and Dr Küçük’s gardens above the Bastions then.
Ali dayı as I use to call him was the resident plumber and electrician of the Government House. Nadir aba was his wife who used to have daily morning coffee sessions with my mother.
They used to live in a house near the second entrance of the Palace near a roundabout right on Strovolos road and the entrance to the English School across the road. Later on when the Greek families were moved out Ali and Nadir were moved closer next to our house. Ali was a keen pigeon keeper and constructed a huge enclosure for his pigeons where I used to go and watch his pigeons for hours. As Ali and Nadir had the only television around the place we would go to watch Blue Velvet the horse and Lassie the dog at their place in late afternoons. Later on Ali and Nadir had two sons Cafer and Ulus.
This family also got turfed out of their job and home once the Makarios Presidency commenced. Like my family they shifted to Nicosia Turkish section down the road from where my family relocated in 1962.
Two persons Rüstem and Süleyman Hüseyin enişte (who was my auntie’s husband) used to travel from Lapta to the Government House and back daily to work as gardeners.
My auntie had two daughters and I was her proverbial son. So I used to spend some time in my school holidays in Lapta. I used to travel to Lapta after Süleyman enişte finished work. It was a long drive through the very winding old road between Nicosia and Lapta. For me it was a very long drive as I used to ask every five minutes when are we arriving uncle?
After 16th August 1960 the day the British left we walked down to Nicosia with our mother as there were no buses. I remember walking down through Metaxa Square before Ledra Street. I could see Makarios on a high podium screaming something in Greek repeatedly. I asked my mum what is he screaming about. Mum said he is saying Victory, Victory we have won! I remember asking what did he win mum?
I do not remember when the Greek man Fody arrived and occupied father’s office further down from our house. Father said now Fodis became his boss. Now and then father will be talking with mum about Fody’s mistreatment of every single worker in the gardens including himself. I was so upset overhearing father’s unhappiness with Fodis. One morning I took a piece of chalk and wrote “Eşek, Deli Fody” Donkey, Crazy Fody on the office steps. My father came home very upset at lunch time and gave me the biggest slap I ever remember. He said he was upset because he knew I wrote on the steps and I was lucky that he saw it and washed the writing off before Fody arrived and saw it. Pheww !
I remember the very first Greek neighbours in 1960 that moved into our next door house. I was lucky that my class mate from Higher Technical Institute and Facebook friend Spyros informed me of their names of Mr Nikos who was Makarios limo driver and his family. He was a resident with his wife and the three children that we became friends with. The children of Nikos that we played with were Loris, Thula and Michalskis and were around our age group. The rest of the new Greek neighbours that moved in 1960 had to do with security and were told by our parents that they were previously EOKA people.
All the Turkish Cypriot workers in the Government House and the Palace gardens were replaced by Greek workers by the end of 1962. Some workers were able to find work and some like old Ferhat could not, as far as I remember, which was quite sad.
It was the end of an era for my siblings and I, as we regarded the place as our home and enjoyed the immense size of the gardens and the excitement it offered to us as kids throughout our childhood, as you can see in the following video which shows our father with Lady Foot selecting flowers.
By Sermen Erdogan……..
After my family was turfed out of our home and the old British Government House grounds which was our birthplace and home in 1962, we were not able to return for a visit. However, by chance I met a Greek friend in 2007 who was able to take us there on an open day where we were not actually able to see our house due to the very limited access. Yet we were thankful to the friend then for making it possible for my sister Tülen and myself to visit the Presidential Palace of Cyprus. We were only allowed into the central courtyard where the reception and the commemoration of the Republic of Cyprus was held at that time.
Once we had a drink and tried to walk around the area we were allowed in we left in a hurry as our Greek friend was sweating profusely under duress. We could see that our host was stressed throughout the duration of the visit as Papadopoulos was still the president of South Cyprus in 2007. We were still very thankful to our friend for getting us that far.
When we held the get together of Frozen Cypriots on 6th of October 2016 at Büyük Han a page member that came to the get together was Poli who was a very friendly gentleman that I warmed up to straight away. After introductions I said to him Polis is the village in Paphos where my father came from. He informed me that we have another connection as he lives in the Presidential Palace neighbourhood of Omologites and that he knows the Palace grounds very well. I was impressed and asked Poli whether it is possible to visit the palace grounds these days. Poli said he will see what he can do and let Eren my brother or myself know in due course. All we were interested in was to be allowed to see our house if it was standing and the gardens that we use to roam around as children. We were going to be in Cyprus until the end of October 2016.
Eren also attended the Bicommunal Museum in Nicosia and informed me that a Dr Severis who wrote a book on the Government House and its history also runs tours of the Presidential Palace and will help us to visit the Palace. But unfortunately nothing was coming through, by end of October, as I was giving up hope of revisiting our birthplace we received a message from Poli. He was able to arrange for us to visit and he would pick us up at 9am on 25th of October at the Ledra Palace crossing in Nicosia to take us to the Presidential Palace. Excitement was at its maximum when we arrived at the gates of the Palace grounds and handed in our Australian passports to the Policemen at the entrance.
We were further checked by the security at the office closer to the Palace by a very polite young woman and given a police escort for our visitation. As we walked in front of the place taking pictures at every opportunity, memories started rushing back. It was exhilarating to go back down memory lane as we walked by the side towards the back of the Palace.
We were taken to the central court yard (as in the previous visit) of the Palace and shown the landscaped gardens our father created by our Police escort.
Amazingly they were kept mostly in the original form from our father’s time as much as I can remember. Eren and I were impressed and were excited trying to take photos of everything. Once we were in the back part of the Palace, we asked the policeman escorting us whether we are able to go down into the gardens, he was a bit hesitant but thanks to Poli who convinced the guy to let us walk down to the gardens.
First we wanted to see our house we lived in as it held a lot of memories and after all it was the house that we grew up in as children, half of a century ago.
As we walked around to the back we could see buildings but could not recognise which one was our house. As we walked behind one of them bingo. We could straight away recognise the old bungalow style sandstone house from behind.
As the building has been changed around and renovated it was hard to recognise from the front. But it was the chimneys that made it click. The Archibalds lived in the first part with two chimneys and us Erdogans lived starting where the third chimney is in the photo of this building and the extended part to the right of the photo, now used as offices.
We recognised the chimneys first! As the whole building was reversed back to front and converted into offices. It could not be recognised from the front as they built a veranda in the front with a hallway along the offices effectively reversing front to back. We were travelling in memory lane with memory flashbacks, remembering our hide and seek games and chases all around the house and the courtyard area. We were able to walk inside and visit our bedroom areas which were now offıces. A memory flash came back as I looked up the chimney wall and the ventilation duct of me as a little boy looking at the ventilation duct and visualising a train station and cats playing in it !
After the house our next wish was to go down to the orchards. At the top of the slope the famous irrigation pool appeared where Eren nearly got drowned and was saved by a 4 year old Robert Archibald. The view was a bit down letting as we got a glimpse of the old pool. It was obviously not well kept to our disappointment and all the wattle trees we could remember around the pool have been removed. The old potting shed next to it was not there anymore either.
Somehow the pool looked a lot smaller than what I remembered. As our mental maps from childhood always size things according to your own size, I guess. We walked down the slope towards the gardens below. Generally speaking we were a bit taken back by how the garden was very dry and unkempt, compared to the areas above around the Palace. We did not meet anyone working in the gardens below. We were bit disillusioned to tell the truth as we walked around. Our memories were disturbed as Eren and I remembered the very well kept tidy gardens from our childhood .
The lower garden is divided into four segments by the two alleyways that cross each other in the centre of the gardens. The photo with three of us is the one lined with the Palm trees with mandarin and orange orchards on both sides running in the centre of the garden.
Once we finished with the garden we walked up the slope and reached the other side of the Palace for more photos . The right side of the Palace and areas of significant memories.
The Balcony under the dome is the famous balcony where President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios was sitting watching the gardens and saw an envelope being handed to my father by uncle Mustafa the ex-prisoner. (The story pertaining to that episode is in our first part of Childhood Memories story 1950-1961) click here.
Overall, the time we spent revisiting the Presidential Palace in October 2016 was very enjoyable and filled with emotional discovery of long forgotten memories. It was amazing to rediscover the old spots and our memories that related to them.
Although we were impressed by the gardens above around the Palace we were taken back by the state of the gardens below. Towards the end of our visit we discovered why! As we met the sole gardener and had a chat to him. He was an elderly gentleman who said he is the only gardener looking after the Palace gardens. In our father’s time there were upwards of twenty men and women working around the gardens.
We thanked the lovely security lady who welcomed us and the policeman escort who showed us around and said our goodbyes. We are also very thankful to Poli from Frozen Cypriots who made it possible for this nostalgic revisitation of our childhood home and the gardens we were part of until 1962.
Looking back at our home after 54 years we are delighted to include a video we treasure showing our father and Lady Foot in the gardens around which, we used to scamper as small children and you can read more of our childhood adventures by clicking here and clicking here.