Daily News of Life and times in North Cyprus goes around the world
Whilst the major Six Nation countries were playing the autumn internationals against their southern hemisphere counterparts, the Cyprus Rugby team were competing in the Rugby Europe Championships Division 3. With two matches in the space of three weekends it was a busy schedule for The Mouflons in November.
I lost count of the amount of hate mail I’ve had from Greek Cypriots. It doesn’t bother me. I actually find them quite funny. My only wish is that they’d actually debate or find a way to refute the facts I write (they can’t – because they’re facts ).
By Serpil Kadilar…..
As I entered the gates of the Presidential Palace on the 18th of August, 2017, I found myself dividing my cognitive functions into sub sections. A part of which was reserved for communication – with the police at the gate, the security at the door, and the butlers within the palace. Another part of my mind I’d reserved for organizing the historical and political knowledge and mentally arranging this data into a chronological order and then there were my personal feelings of apprehension – perhaps a little nervousness.
By Chris Elliott…….
Many of our readers are so frustrated by the unjust treatment implemented by the UK, EU, UN and the world in general against the Turkish Cypriots of Northern Cyprus.
By Chris Elliott ……
With the collapse of the Crans-Montana peace talks the UN, EU, Greek Cypriots and the world is in a state of shock and not knowing where to go next to resolve the 50 year plus problem of how to unite the island under one governing body with a rotating presidency etc. when it seems the two communities don’t wish to.
The Turkish Cypriots either in Northern Cyprus or the Diaspora are also stunned but should realise that they are in the strongest position they have ever been to create a future for themselves and their nation, but they can only do that if as individuals and groups, they set aside their differences and start working together for the common good.
President Erdogan of Turkey was quoted as saying in a press conference during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, “We have a Plan B and Plan C” and this must be sending shock waves to all those who were involved in the peace talks and wondering what will happen next.
Now is the time for Turkish Cypriots everywhere to speak out and act as one and we are sharing a readers letter from Serpil Mehmet which is saying the same thing.
“Regarding the status quo that is our beloved Cyprus- following the failed negotiations, it has become clearer now, more than ever, that the possibility of a single country with two federations of people enjoying peace, security and equal rights, is but a fantasy.
“Third time lucky” passed decades ago, and half a century, and 16 GC rejected proposals later have passed, yet the GC script remains the same – “Cyprus is Greek, Cyprus is Hellenic, Turks are invaders”.
Faced with the reality that, we can no longer live in hope of living with a community who refuse to acknowledge TC’s as indigenous peoples, deserving of equal rights, the only logical and rational way forward is to push for the international recognition of the TRNC.
One may say that the most important factors of doing so would be; lobby the U.N., the international communities, surface and emphasize documented evidence of Turkish history, ownership, and later persecution and genocide of Turkish Cypriots. To present evidence of the vast ottoman history this is present in every width and breadth of the island.
And sure, all of these things are vital in the political realm. But there is a far more pressing political issue which we need to fix OVERNIGHT if we are to have any chance of establishing an internationally recognized state. And that is the politics we have amongst ourselves and the perception we hold of our own culture, religion, ethnicity and history.
If we look back at the establishment of Turkey, this is a date celebrated by all Turkic people. The world has never seen, nor will ever see a statesman quite as remarkable as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. However this ray of light in Turkish history also comes with its own dark cloud. Because with the new founded Turkish state came the abolishment of the kalifet – the head of the then Muslim world, which kept a controlled and maintained moderate Islam – since which has boomed in Islamic extremism since its expulsion. And the tragic part, for Turks everywhere (whether we know it or not) – was the abandonment of our original language and alphabet.
“Why is this so terrible?” You may ask.
Well, because in doing so, it is about as effective as deleting 1000 years of Turkish history. Most of which was something to be proud of. And because we cannot read our own history, we rely on self professed historians and sources cited from former enemies who highlight the negatives of our history and convince young generations of Turks today that we have a shameful history. Yet those sources would love nothing more than to see Turkey decline into the state of Iraq and Turkish Cypriots to decline into the state of Palestine.
It has come to my attention that we associate Islam and Ottoman history with regressing in modernization. That notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
Islam is the most scientific and liberal of all Abrahamic religions, which gave equal status to women centuries before western women were fighting for the right to education around 1821 which men freely enjoyed. Yet, under Islamic rule, Fatima Al Fihirrya built the first university in 841ce, a feat unheard of in history. The Ottoman Empire was the only empire in history where Jews, Christians and Muslim lived harmoniously- and in 1492, when Catholic Spain expelled all Jews from their land, the Ottomans sent their entire naval fleet to rescue them.
Of course, as with all historical empires, there were things entailed, which, were primitive by today’s standard. Slavery did exist – but it was not determined by skin colour, and there were just as many black, brown and white slaves as each other and was determined by social status (i.e. very poor/working class).
The first black aviation pilot of the modern world was trained under the Ottoman Empire, and Ahmet Ali Çelikten is still one of the most respected men in Turkish history.
And finally, when the Ottomans landed in Cyprus in 1571, they took the island from Venetian rule. Not from Greece, not from Greek Cypriots – from Venetian rule. Let that sink in for a moment and understand what that means.
From the arrival of Ottomans in Cyprus came hundreds of years of generations which manifested into what we are today – Turkish Cypriots. And we need to begin to understand what it means to be Turkish Cypriots. It means stunning mixture. It means a bit of African from ancient east African settlers, pre dating the Egyptian civilization by 9500 years- it’s a bit of Middle Eastern, when Persians and Palestinians arrived In Cyprus under the Assyrian Empire in 2500bc- it’s a bit of Mediterranean from Venetian rule, and later, Greek influence. And of course, it’s our Anatolian brothers and sisters who still volunteer their lives today to protect us.
To be Turkish Cypriot is to be laid back In general attitude – we won’t ‘kill ourselves’ over the unnecessary, but we are ferociously protective of our lives, our loved ones, our livelihood, our country.
To be Turkish Cypriot is to be respectful of the chosen religion of others, which is why our Russian, African and European immigrants freely wear a crucifix around their necks without fear of negative reprisals. It is welcoming the hundreds of Jewish businessmen who have invested into projects across the Turkish north. And while we respect our religion and love God, we are not particularly religious and place more importance on the actions and intentions of a good heart.
We are Turkish Cypriots. And we have so many things to be proud of. From the mish mash of African, Mediterranean and Anatolian cuisine on our tables, to the laughter we enjoy when sat with friends with a glass of Rakı or Zırvania. The beauty that is our different physical forms where some of us have blonde locks and blue eyes and some of us have afro hair and dark skin. That we have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, because “deli değiliz” (we’re not crazy!)- Violent crime and murder is unheard of in our country.
These are the things which are the best of humanity and life itself, and yet it’s natural to us. And all of this is attributed to our history and how we developed from it.
Our attitudes must change. We need to know ourselves. We need to accept ourselves and emphasize more with our mainland Turkish brothers and sisters. We cannot continue this horrible mindset of “we will take Turkey’s money, food, water, medicine, books, support and protection, BUT we don’t like mainland Turks”. We must erase the horrible name calling from our lips and vocabulary. And finally, truly embrace what it means- not just to be a Cypriot, which is a nationality, but what it means to be TURKISH CYPRIOT – which is everything I mentioned and everything we are – a unique people, which, although related to Turkey, Azerbaijan and other Turkic states, a nation of our own with our own culture, unlike any other – entirely different in many ways and just as legitimate as any other.
Baftaki Poli Köyü Hakkında Tarihi Anlatı: İngilizce makale altında Türkçesini okuyabilirsiniz
By Sermen Erdogan…….
My first memories of Polis village in Paphos are our visits with my parents back to my father’s birthplace. I must have been around 2 or 3 years old. Karabardaks, my father’s family was one of the original families of the village of Polis. During my childhood visits, I used to walk with my father in the Turkish and Greek neighbourhoods that I remember. My father’s relationship with the Greek Cypriot neighbours was very friendly, and they showed love and affection for me as a small child. Of course, I would like to mention that this was in the early 1950s.
After 1956-57, I realized that the friendly behaviour of the Greek neighbours, on our Polis visitations, started to change. In my childish mind, I could not understand why?
In later visits, I learned why the Greek Cypriot neighbours were behaving differently to me and my father, from my little Greek friend Mihalakis, who I used to play with. One day I asked him, “Yadi thene erdis na bezumen re Mihalakis”, : Why don’t you come and play with me anymore? ” Esis ise bello, şillo Durkos, iben do baderamu” : My father said you Turks are crazy and are dogs. I knew that these were not nice words, to call someone crazy or a dog!!!
In the stories and historical narratives, Polis was founded by Acanthus, the Athenian who escaped from the city of Troy, and the former name was Marion, after which the Lusignans called Fontana Amarosa (Love Fountain), the Macedonian Arsione, for the Venetians it was Polis du Crusocho. The latter is also called Poli in the Ottoman conquest. In the 1878 census, the British recorded Polis as Chirsofu Nahiyesi.
Polis is a famous tourist area now and the area known as Aphrodite Baths which are pools of water coming from a spring is visited by many people. It is believed that the fertility and love life of those who wash in this water gain continuity and strength. Aphrodite and Akamas were married here. Another rumour is that Aphrodite will wash in these baths here every day and return to virginity.
The Poli region was rich in water and a very fertile region, shared with the Venetian and Lusignan aristocratic families. In addition, the Limni Copper mine has been an important part of Polis history. Polis as a port has an important place in the export of copper and regional products. My great grandfather Hadji Şerif use to export the kharoup crop of the region with his boat as far as Egypt and imported leather, rice and other goods to sell in Cyprus in the early 1800s. He owned and built the kharoup storehouses that have arched veranda frontages lining the old Polis port in Latchi which have now become restaurants for tourists and visitors.
Nevzat Yalçın (RIP) from Polis, who was an author and a poet was one of the most valuable members of Polis village. In his book about Polis village “En Uzak ve En Yakın” : Most Distant and Most Close, he says “Today the village, which remained in the Greek part of Cyprus, was a disguise of a town called Polis. Although Polis had a court, police station, municipality buildings, doctors and a pharmacy, I could not easily name it a ‘town’. The population of Polis then was less than a thousand villagers according to what I knew in the 1940s. I do not know, maybe because of this, the place where I was born, always will be ‘the village in disguise’ of a town in my mind. (The population was 70% Cypriot Greeks, the rest were Cypriot Turks in the 1940s)”.
My father’s house in Polis was next to the Upper Mosque, on the slope descending to Polis river that originated from the Troodos mountains. There were Greek Cypriot houses in this neighbourhood which dominated a Turkish street. The stone and mud brick one or two story houses lined the street. Karabardaks’ house was in a dead end lane, next to the mosque and the graveyard, and consisted of two rooms and an outside toilet and bath house. However, these mud-brick houses and the Turkish street, including my fathers’ house was razed to the ground after 1974. When I visited the Polis village for the first time after 2004, I found a community park where the Cypriot Turkish houses stood. The main building of the mosque, which was an old Luzonian Catholic church, was renovated and transformed into a community museum, the minaret of the mosque and the primary school next to it were not there any longer.
The Turkish primary school and mosque in Polis opened onto the same courtyard and garden. This ‘complex’ representing the existence of the Turks was a spiritual symbol for the Cypriot Turks. After the Ottoman conquest in 1570, the Ottomans settled Turks from Karaman, according to my father, and that the first settlers of Polis were very happy and industrious farmers. My father’s grandmother Akile Hacı Şerif and grandfather Hacı Ramadan Karabardak were people who completed the pilgrimage to Mecca and they were called Hadjis and Mullas.
Nevzat Yalçın explains the months of Ramadan, “The mosque would be the center of the Polis Turkish community in Ramadan. Iftar times: at breaking fast, at sunset the cannon was fired to break fast and was also heard in the villages nearby. The candlesticks hanging in Poli’s minarets in the evenings of Ramadan that could be seen from all parts of the village, the call to prayer and prayers were read from there, in the mixture of the sounds of the bells coming from the churches, the mosque was the symbol of the existence of Cypriot Turkish villagers in Polis”.
The village Primary School was also in this Polis Mosque courtyard. I was able to obtain a very valuable photograph taken in 1930 from Mr. Oktay Feridun who was the Minister of Education in the 1980s in the TRNC, and now lives in Bellapais. The photograph is in front of the Polis Elementary School and is the only childhood photo of my father and probably all the children in this photograph.
You can enlarge the photo to see details of persons named below. This is the only photo I have of my father who was an 11-year-old child in 1930. My dad is in the 3rd row and 6th from the left. Next to my father, 5th from left is Vasfi Tuğun, my fathers’ cousin. 4th from the right top row 2. Dr. Mustafa Dikengil, Little boy next to famous patriot Arif Hoca (with the Turban) Hüsnü Feridun Bey, 3 years old then, and became TRNC Director of Education in the 1980s, 9th from the left in the front row is pharmacist Kemal Feridun and 12th Lawyer Oktay Feridun. Sitting on the floor 2nd from right Fuat Otağ father of photographer and dental surgeon Dr.Lisani Otağ. 7th from the right is Nevzat Yalçın. (From Oktay Feridun’s archive).
I loved the hospitality the Polis neighbours shown to us when we visited with my parents during my childhood. Visitations to neighbours or relatives for coffee and eats is inherent in Cypriot Turkish and Greek customs and culture. You can just drop in to have a chat and have coffee, this was called ‘misafirlik’ ; visiting. Polis visitations were happy memories when meeting and playing with the village children of a similar age as their games were a bit different to the city children. My favorite thing was the sweet treats of almond paste, sucuk made out of grape molasses with almonds or walnuts through the center like a sausage, paluze and köfter : a jelly made out of grape juice and then dried, Gullurukya : dough cooked with pekmez: kharoup molasses . The respect felt for the visitor was reflected in the efficiency and hospitality of the host, and guests were always welcomed with various kinds of fruits as well as sweets and food. This welcoming culture of Polis was my preference compared to Nicosia, where my family and I lived, where offerings were trimmed down to a Turkish delight or a lolly at our misafirlik. I preferred Polis in the hospitality arena in my childhood and love of the sweets offered.
Cypriot Greeks were more prosperous than the Cypriot Turks in terms of the economy. Although the Turks owned much of the land and were farmers, the Greeks were always ahead in trade and economy. Most of Polis shops and Bandabulia (Bazaar) stalls on the main street of the village were Greek-owned. Turkish-owned shops that were opened from time to time were not long lasting.
Yalçın says the main street had a kahvehane: a cafe belonging to the Turks, there was Sabahattin Öneys’ haberdashery, two shoemakers and a tailor in the 1930-40s.
However, I remember the inside of the Bandabulia and the nearby Butcher Şükrü and small or mobile sellers with carts, a Turkish lady that sold wool and household goods. I remember that Turkish was spoken in every shop we entered with my father as a child in the 1950s. I only remember Civerto’s fabric store, which was a Greek shop. Civerto spoke very good Turkish and was a very shrewd salesman.
Between the years of the 1600-1800s the Polis population and the economy was totally monopolized by the Turks. The settlement of the Greeks is explained as follows. A peasant who came from a Greek village, came to Poli to sell his knives in the coffee shop. The Turkish patrons of the coffee shop sent him away out of the village. The Greek Cypriot villager walking along the road came across the Mukhtar: Headmen of the village named Korkut and complained about the treatment he got from the Turkish villagers in the coffee shop. Korkut the Mukhtar returns to the village coffee shop with the Greek villager in tow and tells the Turkish villagers that they will find themselves in trouble if they touch or send away a Greek villager trying to sell his goods. From then on the Greeks from surrounding areas came to Polis village as pioneers to find work and settle. Thus, they became land owners and they overtook the trade in the village in the 1930s.
Another narrative, in the book of Educational Sun that Never Sets by Ali Nesim, describes the following event under the heading HOW DID GREEKS OVERTAKE POLIS. In 1911, the Polis economy was in the hands of the Turks, but he noticed that there was a large population difference during his 1922 visit. He asked the Poli villagers why? They explained that the great Poli Farm was a vast farm property which was the property of an Istanbul family and was left to the management of Müftüzade family in Melatya village. However, the farm could not even pay the tax due for several reasons, the owner from Istanbul decided to sell the farm to a Greek called Ahelliya. Ahelliya borrowed the money from the bank and bought the property but died a short time afterward. The bank put the property up for sale to recover the money they loaned to Ahelliya. A very wealthy Poli villager, named Hasan Ağa, bought the year’s harvest of kharoup crop for 3 shillings per okka: approximately 2lbs, and he sold the crop for 9000 pounds in Egypt, and went to Ktima, Paphos with 6000 Cyprus Pounds to buy the Poli Farm farm. Ratip, the wealthiest in the Paphos area became jealous of Hasan and talked him out of buying the large property telling him that he can buy the farm a lot cheaper from the bank if he waits for a little longer. In the meanwhile, the church combined 12 Greek Cypriot families and bought the large Polis farm and placed Greek Cypriot families in the Polis Farm. After this episode, the Polis population and the economy changed hands and became dominated by the Greek Cypriots.
Mustafa Ercilasun Polilil who has been teaching at the Nicosia Boys High School for many years talked about this era. The information he gave me about the history of Poli between 1600-1900, which I needed for my family tree, is called the Polis Ağalar Zamanı : Feudal Lords Period. Many of the famous Ağas of Polis that have been mentioned in my abundant researches for my ancestry research are Hasan Ağa, Hüsnü Ağa, Mehmet Halofta and Hacı Şerif Ağas. At the time of these Ağas there were large farms and lands owned by them in Polis and the surrounding villages of Maguanda, Antroligu and at Ktima, Paphos. Over time, these large land family holdings were either shared between family members or sold out by their children or grandchildren who inherited Ağa properties. There are lands in the Polis, Latchi and Podamos which are left from my father’s grandfather and grandmother on the immovable property list left behind after 1974. I understand that these are the 1/21 share of my father from Hajı Sherif and Mehmet Halofta Ağa who are my grandparents’ ancestors.
We could not visit Polis village, after December 1963 when the intercommunal fighting broke out between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. We were not able to visit our family and friends until 1968 when the roads reopened for the Cypriot Turks.
Between 1963 and 1968 we could only get news from the villages from the Bayrak Radio in Nicosia. We learned from the news that the Turkish Member of Parliament Cengiz Ratib from Polis who was the leader of the Polis Cypriot Turks and the teacher Turgut Sıtkı were killed by the Greeks and their corpses disappeared. Their remains were not still found in 2017 when this article was written. I was constantly listening to the news of death and destruction of villages in the armed conflicts of 1964, as a child aged 11 years old, in curiosity and sorrow. I did not know the two persons who were killed in Polis I remember that they were from Polis and this caused great sorrow and grief for my father. My father’s entire family lived in Polis. My aunties Zehra Darbaz, Akıle Korkut, Ayşe Dikengil and uncle Ahmet Karabardak families and many other cousins, all of them had children around my age. I remember very well the days when we did not get any news during 1964 when my father was very sad and silent, not talking, and worrying about his village home. Finally, at the end of 1964 and in 1965, the Greek roadblocks permitted, with difficulty and tortuous searches, to let the village buses to travel to Nicosia. Tansel and Yüksel Dikengil, my nephews, came from Polis to our house in Nicosia because they were young boys at high school and they continued their High School education in Nicosia Turkish enclave. After finishing High School, Tansel went to Turkey and became a doctor and has a pathology clinic in Nicosia. Yüksel nephew migrated to London and got married there.
Ahmet Beyaz was a cousin of my father and was one of the very well known names of Polis. He was a smart and courageous person who use to take the post and passengers on his bus transporting between Polis and Nicosia. From Nicosia to Polis I travelled on his old Bedford bus several times to the village and back. The Greeks envied Ahmet Beyaz’s entrepreneurship and also doubted him as he was a messenger for the Turkish Resistance Movement (TMT) against ENOSİS (Unificatıon of Cyprus with Greece). Nevzat Yalçın talks about the murder of Ahmet Beyaz and says the Greeks killed Ahmet Beyaz barbarically during the 1974 Turkish intervention. Fuat Otag, who was also involved with TMT resistance organization at that time, and a nephew of Beyaz tells how his uncle was killed in a letter: “My uncle was travelling between Polis and Paphos every day, so I used to send my letters with him because I could not send letters to Paphos with the Greek post. On the 22nd of July 1974, at the beginning of the fighting, at twelve o’clock, my uncle wanted to take refuge in the nearby Hürriyet High School where all the Cypriot Turkish villagers took refuge for protection from the attacks of the Greek National Guard and EOKA gangs. He was ambushed and killed trying to get from his house to the school”.
Speaking of Hürriyet High School school, I have to mention how this school was founded. As the Turkish population of villages around Poli grew, the formation of a secondary school besides the primary school was important for the Polis Turks. In 1958, the Poli Hurriyet High School building was built with the help of the community sources on the land given by Mukhtar Faiz who is the grandfather of the current TRNC Minister for Health Dr.Faiz Sucuoğlu and opened with a huge ceremony attended by the British Governor of the time. This building which is also used as the village cinema and the hall is used as a Ballroom and for marriage ceremonies. It is still standing today in a dilapidated state after being used as the Greek Military base after 1974. It is remembered as a cultural center and sports center in addition to a learning center in the municipality of Polis and neighbouring Turkish villages. The first Atatürk bust was sent from Turkey, to be erected in this school in 1958.
Troubles started around Cyprus in 1956 with formatıion of EOKA. Attacks on the Turkish villagers started in 1958 and the killing of Sergeant Lisani Ahmet serving as a policeman in Polis. In a recent visit to Cyprus I was talking to John Aziz Kent who was a mate of Lisani in Polis and at the time they were both serving as a policeman. John Aziz recounted how Lisani was brutally murdered by EOKA. Cengiz Ratip, Turgut Sıtkı, Cemal Hasan, Ahmet İbrahim, Mustafa Yusuf were killed in the 1964 to 1974 period and 27 other Poli Turks were killed by the Greeks in July 1974 for putting up a resistance against them. May they all Rest in Peace. All of them are martyrs who will never be forgotten.
Of course, the story of our Polis village cannot end like this. Those that could escape to the North of the island to the safe Turkish areas were placed in different villages. However, those that could not escape were taken as prisoners and were taken to Limassol or the British Akrotiri base for protection and after several months of horrendous living conditions were transferred to the North by the British after an agreement was reached to exchange populations with the Greek Cypriots. After the 1974 war, the majority of Polis Turkish villagers were placed in different parts of northern Cyprus together with the Güzelyurt region and/or migrated to foreign countries such as England, Australia, and Canada. They could not see each other for a long time or even knew where some of the members of the village were. Therefore, I decided to establish a Cyprus Polis Villagers on a Facebook group page with Ahmet Pastırmacıoğlu a cousin of mine. We launched the page in 2014 as Kıbrıs Poli Köylüleri : Cyprus Polis Villagers. We assumed that our membership count would be low, however, there are now over 1500 members of our group page. Among them are families, neighbours, friends who have not known where each other were since 1974. The Polis Villagers now share their old and new photographs and Poli stories together. In fact, we are getting membership requests from all parts of the world including those Polis families who left Cyprus in the 1920’s and 30’s and settled in Anatolia and searching for part of their families that remained in Cyprus that they have lost contact with. To our surprise, cousin Ahmet and I have a family and cousins that we found in Denizli, Turkey that I knew nothing about since the establishment of the Cyprus Polis Villagers page. You can find some of these stories as a file in the Cypriot Polis Villagers.
Poli köyüne ilgim ve ilk hatıralarım zannımca daha 2-3 yaşlarından hayal meyal hatırladığım anne ve babamla yaptığımız ziyaretlerimizle başlar. Babamın kökeni olan Karabardaklar, Poli köyünün köklü ailelerinden biri idi. Bu çocukluk ziyaretlerimde aklımda kalan Türk ve Rum mahalesinde babamla dolaşırken Babamın Rum komşuları ile olan münasebeti ve biribirlerine ve küçük bir çocuk olan bana karşı sevgi gösterileri idi. Tabii burada 1950 lerin başlarından bahsettiğimi belirtmek isterim. 1956-57 lerden sonraları durum değişmeye başladığını o çocuksu aklmla çok farketmiş neden böyle olduğunu anlayamamıştım.
Hikayelere ve tarihi anlatımlarında Polinin Truvadan kaçan Atinalı Acamantus tarfından kurulup eski adının Marion olduğu ondan sonra sırasıyla, latinlerce Fontana Amarosa (Aşk Çeşmesi), Makedonyalılarca Arsione, Venediklilerce ”Polis du Crusocho” idi. Daha sonraları Osmanlı fethinde de Poli olarak adlandırılır. Ingilizler 1878 nüfus sayımında Polis Chirsofu Nahiyesi olarak kayda geçirirler.
Polinin bizlerce Afrodit Hamamları olarak bilinen meşhur yöresi şimdilerde bir turist merkezidir. Bu sularda yıkananların aşk hayatlarının devamlılık ve kuvvet kazanacağına inanılır. Afroditin sevgilisi olan Akamas ile burada evlendiği söylentiler arasındadır. Başka bir söylentiye göre Afroditin her gün tekrar burada yıkanıp bakireliğine geri dönmesidir.
Poli ve Baf yöresi su bakımından zengin ve mümbit bir bölge olduğundan Venedikli ve Lüzinyan aristokrat aileleri tarafindan paylaşılmıştı. Ayrıca Limni Bakır madeninin tarih boyunca değeri Polinin bir Liman olarak bakır ve bölge ürünlerinin ihracatatında önemli yeri vardır.
1/. Fotoğraf Poli ana Caddesinin şu an görünüşü. (Kıbrıs Turizim sayfasından).
2/. Fotoğraf Latchideki Poli Limanının bu andaki görünüşü, (Kıbrıs Turizm sayfasından)
En Uzak En Yakın isimli kitabında çok değerli bir Polili olan Nevzat Yalçın Poliyi anlatırken
Bugün Kıbrıs’ın Rum kesiminde kalan, köy kılıklı bir kasabaydı Poli der. “Rahatlıkla ‘kasaba’ diyemediğim Poli’nin mahkemesi, polis karakolu, belediyesi ve doktorları, eczanesi vardı. Ama nüfusu, aklımda kaldığına göre bin’in altında kalıyordu. Bilmiyorum, belki bu yüzden, doğduğum yerin bendeki hatırası hep ‘köy kılıklı’ kaldı” der.
Nüfusun hehalde 70% Rum, gerisi Türktü. Babamın Polideki evi Trodos dağlarından gelen Poli deresine inen yokuşun üzerindeki yukarıki caminin ve Türk mezarlığının yanında idi. Bu mahalle Türk olmasına rağmen tek tük Rum evleride vardı. Evler taş ve kerpiçten bir veya iki kat olarak sokak boyu sıralanırdı. Karabardaklar çıkmaz sokak gibi olan Caminin hemen dıvar aşırı iki göz , mutfağı ayrı babamın deyişi ile ayakyolu veya lazımlığı dışarıda kerpiçten bir evcağız dı. Ancak bu kerpiçten evler ve Babamın da evi olan Türk mahallesi tamamen yıkılıp yerine bir park yapılmıştır. Cami ana binası ki bu eski bir Lüzinyan katolik ilisesi idi , tadilat yapılıp bir müze haline getirilmiş caminin minaresi ve yanındaki ilkokul ortadan kaldırılmıştır.
Polideki Türk İlkokulu ve cami, aynı avluya ve bahçeye açılırdı. Türklerin varlığını temsil eden bu ‘külliye’, Türkler için bir manevi simge idi. Poliye Osmanlılar tarafından yerleştirilenlerin babama göre Karamandan olduğunu ve ilk Poliye yerleşenlerin çok mutasıp olduklarını, nenesi Akıle Hacı Şerifin ve dedesi Hacı Ramadan Karabardağın hacı ve mulla olduklarını anlatırdı. Aile evinin de caminin dibi olduğu herhalde bunun kanıtıdır.
Nevzat Yalçın Ramazan aylarını anlatırken, “cami Poli Türk toplumunun merkezi olurdu. İftar topu civardaki köylerde duyulur , oralardaki Türk köylüler de ona göre oruç bozarlardı. Ramazan akşamlarında Poli’nin minaresine asılan kandiller , oradan okunan ezan ve ilâhiler, kiliselerden gelen çan seslerine karşı Polideki Türk toplunun varlığını simgelerdi” der.
Köy İlkokulu da bu Poli Cami avlusunudaydı . Yine Polinin köklü ailelerinden biri olan değerli eğitimcimiz Hüsnü Feridun beyin Kıbrıs Türk Eğitim Tarihinden Bir Ömür kitabı kabında yer alan 1930 Poli İlkokulu, Okul önünde Poli Cami avlusundaki resmidir.
Yukarıdaki 3/. Fotoğraf Poli Ilkokulu 1930 Oktay Feridunun arşivinden.
Babamın 11 yaşında bir çocukken elimde olan tek fotoğrafıdır. Burada babam 3.sırada soldan 6. ve 11 yaşıdaki halidir. Yanında soldan 5. Vasfi Tuğundur. Bilinen isimlerden 4. sırada 2. Dr Mustafa Dikengil, oturan hocalardan sağdaki meşhur miliyetci Arif Hoca yanındaki Küçük Çocuk 3 yaşıdakim torunu Hüsnü Feridun bey, ön sırada oturanlardan soldan 9.Kemal Feridun 12. Avukat Oktay Feridundur . yerde oturanlardan sağdan 2. Fuat Otağ.sağdan 6. Ise Nevzat Yalçındır Yıl 1930. Oktay Feridun arşivinden.
Çocukken annemle ve babamla Polide gitiğimiz misafirlikleri çok severdim. Obür çocuklarla buluşup oynama yanında Kıbrısın misafirlik kültürü Polide bir başka idi. En sevdiğim şey tatlı ikramlarından badem macunu, köfter ve sucuklar yanında zamanı ise paluzeler, harup pekmeziile yapılan Gullurukya hamur işleri idi. Yörenin verimliliği ve misafirperverliğine yanısıra, misafir pest edene kadar türlü meyveler ağırlanırdı. Bu ağırlama adetimiz yaşadığım Lefkoşada bir lokum veya bir yemişe indirgelendiğinden misafirliklerde Poli tercihimdi.
Polide Rumlar Türklerden nüfus fazlalığı yanında daha zengindiler. Türkler toprağın fazlasını tutsalar da Rumlar ticarette daima önde olduklarından alışveriş yapılan yerler çoğunlukla Rumlarındı . Türklerin ana cadde üzerinde olan Polinin alışveriş ve Bandabuliyasının çoğu Rumdu. Poli’de Türk ve Rum toplumlarını da anlatırken Nevzat Yalçın bunun iç içe miydi, yan yana mıydı, gibi bir soru sormak mümkündür der ve şöyle devam eder, beraberliğimiz,hiç kuşkusuz sadece selâmlaşmaktan daha ileri bir anlam taşıyordu. Biraz da zorunluydu bu yakınlık. Ticaret yerlerinin Rumların elinde oluşu, Türkleri oralardan alışverişe zorluyordu. Zaman zaman açılan Türk dükkânları uzun ömürlü olamıyordu. Ana cadde ,üzerinde 1930-40 larda Türklere ait bir kahve Sabahattin Öneyin tuhafiyesi, iki kunduracı ve bir terziden ibarett olduğunu anlatır. Ben Bandabulliya içi ve yanında Kasap Şükrü ve küçük Türk dükkanlar veya seyyar satıcılar yer aldığını hatırlarım. Babamla girdiğimiz her dükyanda Türkçe konuşulduğunu hatırlarım. Sadece Rum dükkanı olan ve her Türkün alışveriş yaptığı, güzel Türkçe bilen Civertonun kumaş mağazasını hatırlarım. 1960 larda da bir Türk hanımının işlettiği hazır ev eşyası yanında bataniye yün sattığını iyi hatırlarım.
4/. fotoğraf Sabahattin Öney (Tuhafiyeci)1930 larda Kıbrıs Türk Lisesi
öğrencisi iken.giyime ve bakılırsa gençliğinden meraklı olduğu
için herhalde Polide Tuhafiye dükkanı vardı. Hüsnü Feridun arşivinden
Polinin 1600-1800 lerde nüfusu da ekonomisi de tamamen Türklerin tekelindeyken Rumların yerleşmesi şöyle anlatılılır. Poli kahvesine Rum köyünden gelen bir Rum Köylü kahveye gelir Kıbrıs çakısı satmaya çalışırken Polili Türkler tarafından köyden kovulur. Rum yolda yürürken Poli muhtarı Korkuta rastlar ve durumu anlatır. Korkut muhtar Rumla köy kahvesine döner ve Polili Türk köylülere bu Rumcuğa dokunanın karşısında kendini bulacağını söyler. O vakiten sonra Rumlar bu zengin köye git gel iş bulup yerleşmeye başlarlar. Böylelikle toprak sahibi olup ticareti de ellerine geçirirler.
Başka bir anlatımda Rumların Poliye yerleşimi Batmayan Eğitim Güneşlerimiz kitapcığında Ali Nesim TÜRK POLinin NASIL RUM POLİ OLDU başlığı altında şu olayı anlatır. 1911 de Polinin nifusu ve eknomisi Türklerin elinde iken 1922 ziyaretlerinde büyük bi nüfus farkı olduğunu farkeder. Bunun sebebini Poli köylüsüne sorar. Çok büyük Poli Çifliğinin İstanbullu bir Beyin malı idi ve Melatyadaki Müftüzadelere bırakmıştı. Çiftlik kötü idareden dolayı vergisini bile ödeyememesinden dolayı bu İstanbullu Beyin çiftliği Ahelliya adında bir Ruma sattığını Rum ölüp banka ya borcu ödenemeyince de bankanın çiftliği satıya koyduğunu anlattırlar. Hasan Ağa adındaki çok zengin bir Polili 3 şiline aldığı harnup mahsulünü satınca 9000 Kıbrıs lirası kazanır ve bunun 6000 lirasını eşeğin heybesine koyup Baf Kasabasına Poli çiftliğini almaya gider. Bafın en zengin çitlikleri olan Kasabalı Ratip efendi Hasanın bu çiftliği alırsa kendinden daha zengin olacağını düşünerek kıskanır ve Polili Hasana bu çitliği şimdi alma sonra daha ucuza alırsın deyip geri Poliye gönderir. Kilise 12 Rum ailesini birleştirerek çiftliği satın alıp Rum ailelerini Poliye yerleştirir. Bundan sonra Polinin nüfusu da ekonomisi de Rumlara geçmiş olur.
Uzun yıllar Lefkoşa Erkek Lisesinde öğretmenlik yapan Polili Mustafa Ercilasun bu devir hakkında ve aile soyağacı araştırmaları için yaptığım sohbette 1600-1900 leri Poli bana verdiği bilgilerde Polinin Ağalar devresi diye bahseder. Obür araştırmalarımda da belleğimde kalan Polinin meşhur ağalarından birkaçtanesi Hasan Ağa , Hüsnü Ağa , Mehmet Hasan Halofta Ağa ve Hacı Şerif Ağadır . Bu ağalar zamanında Poli ve etraf köyler olan Magundadan, Antroligu ve hatta Kasabaya kadar bu ağaların büyük çiftlik ve toprakları vardı . Zamanla bu topraklar çocukları arasında ya bölüşülüp satıldı veya terkedildi. Babamın elinde olan taşınmaz mal veya koçan listesinde annesi ve babası yanında dede ve nenelerinden kalan Poli , Latçi ve Podamos bölgelerinde dönümlerce arazi bulunmaktadır. Bunların çoğunun nenem ve dedemin ataları olan Hacı Şerif ve Hehmet Halofta Ağadan kalan arazilerdeki babamın 1/21 hisesi olduğunu anlıyorum. 2. Fotoğrafta şimdiki Latçi limanı ve sahil boyu görintüsü.
1960 larda artık 10. Yaşımda bir çocuk olduğumda Polideki Rumların biz Türklere karşı olan tutumlarının neden değiştiğini Türk mahalesinde oynadığım Rum komşu oğlu Mihalakisten öğrendim. Ona Rumca olarak “Yadi thene erdis na bezumen re Mihalakis” yani niye gelip benimle oynamıyorsun diye sorduğumda, bana “ Esis Isede bello şillo Durkos iben do baderamu ” yani Babam siz deli, köpek Türksünüz, deyip yürüyüp gitti.
Aralık 1963 sonra başlayan hadiselerden sonra yollar açılan 1968 e kadar Poliye gidemez olmuştuk. Fakat köyden alınan haberleri ancak Lefkoşada Bayrak radyosundan alabiliyorduk. Millet Vekili Cengiz Ratibin ve öğretmen Turgut Sıtkı Rumlar tarafından öldürülüp cesetlerinin kaybolduğunu da haberlerden öğrendik. Zaten bütün adada 1964 yılında çıkan silahlı çatışmalarda devamlı olarak ölüm haberlerine ve saldırıları 11 yaşındaki bir çocuk olarak merak ve üzüntü içinde dinliyordum. Bu ismi geçen Poliden iki kişiyi tanımadığım halde Poliden olmaları beni çok büyük bir hüzüne sokduğunu hatırlıyorum. Nede olsa babamın bütün ailesi halla Polide yaşıyor olmasıydı. Polide Zehra Darbaz, Akıle Korkut, Ayşe Dikengil halalarım ve Ahmet Karabardak amcamla ve hepsinin genç yaştaki çocuk yeğenlerim vardı. Onlardan 1964 boyunca hiç bir haber alamadığımızdan babamın da kederlenip sustuğu, konuşmadığı, kara kara düşündüğü günleri çok iyi hatırlarım. En nihayet 1964 sonu ve 1965 yılında Rum barikatlarından binbir güçlükle geçip Lefkoşaya Köy otobüsleri gelmeye başladı. Tansel ve Yüksel Dikengil yeğenlerim Poliden bizim eve gelip kalmaya başladılar çünkü Lise çağında gençlerdi. Liseyi bitirdikten sonra Tansel Türkiyeye gidip doktor oldu Yüksel yeğenim de Londraya göç edip orada evlendi.
Ahmet Beyaz, yeğenim Polililerce çok iyi bilinen isimlerden biriydi. Poli ile Lefkoşa arasındaki posta ve yolcu taşımacılığını üzerine alan, akıllı ve cesur bir insandı . Lefkoşadan Poliye , Poliden Lefkoşaya onun Bedford köy otobüsü ile gelir giderdik. Rumlar bu girişimciliğinden Ahmet Beyazı kıskanırlar ve ondan şüphelnirlerdi . Nevzat Yalçın Ahmet Beyazın öldürüşünü şöyle anlattır, Rumlar, 1974 Türk çıkarması sırasında Ahmet Beyaz’ı barbarca öldürdüler. O zamanki Türk direniş teşkilâtının Poli sorumlusu ve Beyaz’ın yeğeni olan Fuat Otağ, amcasının nasıl öldürüldüğünü bir mektubunda şöyle anlatır: “Amcam, Poli ile Baf arasında her gün sefer yapıyordu. Örgüt yazılarını Rum postası ile Baf a göndermek mümkün olmadığı için onunla gönderirdik. Gelen yazıları da o getirirdi. Rumlar bunu pek iyi biliyorlardı. 22 Temmuz 1974’te çarpışmaların başladığı saat on iki sularında amcam, saklı olduğu evinde bir su evleğine yatarak yakındaki Hürriyet Okulu’na sığınmak istemiş, fakat pusuya düşürelerek öldürülmüştü”.
5/. Fotoğraf Ahmet Beyaz yeğenim . Engin Karabıyıklar arşivinden.
Hüriyet okulundan bahsetmişken bu okulun nasıl kurulduğundan söz etmem lazım. Poli civar köylerin Türk nüfusu büyüdükçe . İlkokul yanında bir ortaokulun da oluşması polililer için önemli idi. 1958de Faiz Muhtarın verdiği arazi üzerine toplum kaynaklarından alınan yardımlarla Poli Hüriyet Orta Okulu binası yapılıp büyük bir törenle açılır. Geniş salonu köy sineması ve evlenme salonu olarak da kullanılan bu bina halla bu gün ayakta durmaktadır. 1974 öncesi öğrecilik yapan Poli ve civar Türk köylerinin beleğinde bir ilim yuvası yanında bir kültür merkezi ve spor merkezi olarak hatırlanır. Türkiyeden gönderilen ilk Atatürk büstü de bu okul için gönderilir ancak Lefkoşa Evkaf avlusuna dikilir . Aynı etabda gönderilen ikinci Atatürk büstü ise Hüriyet Orta Okul bahçesine dikilir.
6/. Fotoğraf Yıl : 1958. POLİ HÜRRİYET ORTA OKULU açılışına Müftü Dana efendi,Sömürge Valisi
vekili Singler,Faik Müftüzade….ve tüm Poli ve çevre köy eşrafı…vb.katılmıştı.
Hüsnü Feridu arşivinden.
7/. Fotoğraf Muhtar Faiz okul açılışını yaparken, ortadaki papyonlu genç Taner Etkindir.
8/.Hüriyet Poli Orta Okulu önündeki Atatürk büstü. Bu Okul
1963 ten sonra ilkokul olarak da kullanılmaya başlanmıştı.
Engin Karabıyıklar arşivinden.
İşte bu okul kültür merkezi yannda 1963 sonrası ve 1974arası Polili Türkler için etrafı da dahil bir sığınak, güvenli olacakları bir yer olur . Ahmet Beyaz yeğenim de Hürriyet Okuluna sığınmaya uğraşırken hayatına son verilir ruhu şad olsun. Ahmet Beyaz yeğenimden önce de Rumların Polideki Türklere olan davranışları diş bilemeleri 1958 de Lisani Ahmet Çavuşun katlinden başlıyarak devam eder . Lısani Çavuşun katlini son Kıbrıs ziyaretimde beraber çalıştığı Sn. John Aziz Kenten nasıl babbarca öldürüldüğü hikayesini dnledim.
1964-74 arası Cengiz Ratip, Turgut Sıtkı, Cemal Hasan, Ahmet İbrahım, Mustafa Yusuf ve 1974 Temuzunda da 27 Polili Türk daha bu şehitler listesine eklenir. Hepsinın de ruhları şad olsun nurlar içinde yatsınlar. Bu şehitler kalbimde daima yaşıyacaklardır
9/. Fotoğraf Poli şehitlerimizden bazıları . Engin Karabıyıklar arşivinden .
Poli köyümüzün hikayeleri tabii ki böyle bitemez.
1974 Temmuzu savaşından sonar Poli Türk Köylülerin çoğunluğu Güzelyurt bölgesi yanında Kuzey Kıbrısın değişik bölgelerine yerleştirilir ve İngiltere , Avustralya , Kanada gibi dış ülkelere de göçederler. Birbirlerini uzun zaman göremezler veya görüşemezler. Bundan ötürü bir tesadüf eseri tanıştığım Ahmet Pastırmacıoğlu yeğenim ile bir Polililer sayfası kurmaya karar verdik ve Facebook sayfası olarak 2014 de Kıbrıs Poli Köylüleri sayfasını başlattık. Üye sayımızın az olacağını tahmin ederken şu an 1250 üzerinde üye sayısı oluştu . Bunlar arasında 1974 den bu yana biribirinin nerede olduğunu bilmeyen aileler, komşular, arkadaşlar birbirlerini buluştular birlikte olup fotoğraflarını ve Poli hikayeleri ve hatıralarını paylaştılar . Hatta sayfa üyelerimiz arasında Kıbrıstan ilk Türk göçleri olan 1920 ve 30 larda ayrılıp Anadoluya yerleşen ve ailelerini arayan Poli ve Melatya kökenliler de var. Poliden Bu anıların bazılarını dosya olarak Kıbrıs Poli Köylüleri sayfasında dosyalar kısmında bulabilisiniz.
By Kathy Martin…
To paraphrase the words of Martin Luther King Jr, the black (sorry, Afro-American) civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968, “I had a dream”!
In my dream, the European Union, The United Nations and indeed, the rest of the world woke up to the fact that when the Turkish military “invaded” Cyprus 50 or so years ago, they did so to protect and rescue the Turkish Cypriots from being massacred by the Greek Cypriot terrorist organisation “Eoka B”.
Therefore it was not an “invasion” but a rescue operation.
Surely Britain, the “colonial power” before Cyprus’s independence, who had had so many servicemen and their families killed by this same terrorist organisation, could see this?
But no, it was politically expedient for that once “great” country to act in a spineless manner, and, like the rest of the world (except Turkey), accept the Greek and Greek Cypriot propaganda as “fact”.
On my planet (population one!) the Greek Cypriots would be have been charged with attempted genocide against the Turkish Cypriots. However, in the real world I accept that a “Christian” Europe and the Western powers felt comfortable in blaming a “Muslim” Turkey and Turkish Cyprus!
In my dream, we were also given the Kocan (title deeds) for our flat that we have been in for approximately 7½ years! (Still waiting in 2017)
Also, I dreamt that direct (non-stop) flights to and from the rest of the world were allowed to operate through Ercan (our) airport. Apart from reducing flight times (eliminating the current obligatory landing in mainland Turkey) this would allow European “budget” airlines to offer genuine competition in respect of the cost of airfares.
In the “Cyprus Today” newspaper of 3rd October there was an article about three fatalities in a “spate” of (road traffic) accidents.
In one of these car accidents was on the Girne to Esentepe road, the driver escaped with injuries, but the passenger was killed.
This accident had prompted an Esentepe resident to write a letter to the editor that blamed the “Highways Department” for the accident!
The letter writer describes the section of the road:- “first it dips, then rises and is very bumpy”. It is this section of the road that the letter writer asks the Highways Department to “smooth out”.
The article about the accident says that driver lost control and the car overturned. Continues to state that the driver and passenger were travelling to work, and, therefore, were presumably familiar with the particular stretch of road where the accident occurred.
However, familiar or not with the road conditions (indeed, especially, if she was unfamiliar with them) the driver should not have been travelling at a speed that could entail a loss of control resulting in the vehicle overturning!
The fresh water pipeline from Turkey to Kibris has been completed and water is flowing into the reservoir.
Now the question is who is going to administer it? The government both at national and local levels want to control it, but there is also (due to bureaucracy and incompetence in these government departments), a strong case for it to be controlled by the private sector.
Er, as the pipeline has been in construction for many months, shouldn’t this have been sorted out a long time ago?
I learnt a few days ago that the local radio/television broadcasting station BRT Bayrak radio & television has 7 (yes seven) television channels in addition to the “English” radio channel to which we listen.
Readers in more densely populated parts of the world may well shrug their shoulders and say “so what”? However, according to a population census carried out in 2013 the population of the TRNC was under 302,000.
Not having a television (except one used to watch DVD’s of our choice) I cannot comment on the quality or content of these seven TV channels, but goodness gracious, seven taxpayer-funded channels for approximately 300,000 people?
Admittedly, these TV channels (like radio Bayrak) may be available on world-wide web for the benefit and information of the many Turkish Cypriots who live abroad. If so, then the taxpayer’s money is, probably, being spent wisely!
There were a couple of news items in the newspaper “Cyprus Today” of October 10th that caught my eye.
The first that was the headline “Beer is cheaper than milk”! While this would be a welcome headline for an alcoholic, I read the article out of interest!
According to the article a litre of beer costs between TL 1.75 and TL 3.25 while a litre of milk is between TL 3.40 and TL 3.70.
The Consumers Association chairman is quoted as saying “…the government is going to offer subsidies to dairy producers, which will be paid for by those who are unable to afford to buy milk!”
Those who cannot (in the first place) afford to buy milk are going to pay a subsidy to the producers, so that (presumably) they can produce cheaper milk!
The other headline that caught my attention was “Row over water control deepens”. This “row” is about who is going to control the supply and distribution of fresh water brought over from Turkey in the undersea pipeline.
The Turkish government, who financed and supplied the expertise for “the project of the century”, want it to be controlled by the private sector.
However, 14, yes fourteen, trades unions have objected to this on the grounds that a “private firm would have the power to set rates”!
Er, yes, that is what, in the real world private (or government) offices do!
Or am I being stupid?
Indeed, why are as many as 14 trades unions involved?
Meanwhile, mayors of 26 municipalities have indicated that they are willing to be responsible to distribute the water under the umbrella of Beski, a newly formed water and sewage local government organisation. The article doesn’t state that the trades unions object to Beski being able to set rates!
One thing that should surprise me, but having lived here for a decade, doesn’t – is that the management of water distribution hasn’t been sorted out earlier! After all it wasn’t as if the fairies had built the pipeline overnight without telling anyone!
Readers, especially in this part of the world, will undoubtedly have heard of the horrendous “terrorist “attacks in Turkey’s capital, Ankara. In this attack three explosions on 10th October 2015 left 95 people dead and 246 injured.
Ironically, these explosions occurred before a planned “peace” demonstration about the government clampdown and harsh treatment of Kurdish nationals in both Turkey and neighbouring Syria.
The powers that be in the TRNC have declared a 3 day period of mourning, ending at midnight on 13th October 2015.
I have no wish to criticise the government here, nor upset the relatives and friends of the victims, but come on, a three day “holiday” for all of the government employees? I presume that all, or most of the, commercial, and (unlike the government), profit making, shops, cafes and restaurants etc will be open during this period!
One of the “side effects” of this period of mourning is that radio Bayrak will only be broadcasting tapes (if these are still used) of music; there will be no “live” programmes such as the news etc.
By Roger L Jennings…….
After the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Constantinople in the year 1453 the Greeks employed the gambits of the Byzantines as their method of foreign policy.
Recently President Anastasiades employed one of those gambits by insisting that Turkey remove its troops from Cyprus before other issues like power sharing can be discussed. The protection provided by Turkey is a non-negotiable requirement of the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots remember the attempt in 1974 to force the Turkish Cypriots to leave the island and all the sporadic violence against Turkish Cypriots.
President Anastasiades knows removing the Turkish Army is non-negotiable. He is manufacturing a crisis. When Presidents Akinci and Anastasiades met with the UN General Secretary in New York City recently the Greek Cypriot knew he would have to yield on the point, and agree to the meeting without precondition in Geneva. Officials at the UN celebrated thinking they had achieved a great diplomatic victory. This was not an achievement of the UN, but rather the plan of President Anastasiades.
The objective of Greeks and Greek Cypriots is to keep the talkers talking. The meeting at the UN accomplished nothing. The conversation and succession of gambits will simply move to Geneva or someplace else. The hope of the Greek Cypriot political leaders is to wear down the Turkish Cypriot people with the embargo so that Turkish Cypriots emigrate.
Greek people are loving, family oriented people of faith. They were good friends of their neighbour Turks in Turkey prior to the Greek Army landing in Turkey in 1919 and committing atrocities against innocent Turks. Those atrocities are described, for example, in the Report of the Inter-Allied Commission of Inquiry that is posted on the internet click here.
The Greeks have been misled since the rise to power by Prime Minister Venizelos. Venizelos was a revolutionary with unbridled ambition for power and grandeur. Many thousands of Greeks, Turks and Armenians died as a result. The Greek United Opposition Party defeated Venizelos in a landslide election and Venizelos left Greece. He was then tried in absentia and given a death sentence by the Greeks. However, subsequent Greek politicians overwhelmed by their own greatness have continued with the Megali Idea foreign policy that has been the greatest cause of grief and hardship for the Greek people. Enosis is the Greek Cypriot expression of the Megali Idea.
President Anastasiades cannot let the talks end abruptly. In fact, he does not want the talks to even end. An abrupt end to the negotiations would put the Greeks at great risk that Turkey would take unilateral action. For example, Turkey could notify the drilling companies that gas will be delivered to the TRNC for partial distribution as the Turks see fit to south Cyprus. The option presented to the drilling companies will be they will be replaced by drilling companies chosen by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. No country in the world will go to war to defend the Greek Cypriot claim to the Aphrodite gas field.
The negotiations have gone on too long. The Byzantine Textbook gambit is to create the illusion that nirvana is just over that next hill. Go to that one more meeting, or reach consensus on this one issue, and an agreement will be reached. The Turkish Cypriots have traveled over many hills to meetings in Geneva and elsewhere, but the result has been the same.
A major problem is President Akinci is fully invested in the idea there will be an agreement. His voice has been more controlling than those of other government leaders in the TRNC and Turkey and other political parties in the TRNC. Seasoned negotiators know when an agreement will not be reached and they must walk away from the negotiating table.
President Reagan reached that point with Mikhail Gorbachev during the Strategic Defense Initiative negotiations. President Reagan abruptly stood up and walked out without saying goodbye or anything to the shock of Gorbachev. The world thought the negotiations were a failure. However, Reagan was an experienced negotiator after representing the actors’ union for years. The Reagan gambit brought down the Soviet Union and was one of the greatest diplomatic feats of modern times. Mr. Akinci should learn from that example.
President Akinci is a good and honorable person. He is a person everyone should like and respect. President Anastasiades knows President Akinci will not walk away from the negotiating table. President Anastasiades is taking advantage of President Akinci’s good nature. However, President Akinci is under increasing pressure to walk away from the talks. The Turkish Cypriot officials have said the next talks are the last. Are they? Turks are a very resolute people who never back down. Their word should be accepted. The challenge for President Anastasiades is to provide a reason to continue the talks. The Byzantine method is to concede on a major point so the Turks have renewed hope. At some future date, that concession will be taken back by the Greek Cypriots. This will keep the talkers talking.
If President Akinci does not achieve a final agreement that the Greek and Turkish Cypriots can vote on, then President Akinci should resign the Office of the President. He should turn the future of all Turkish Cypriots over to someone with a more realistic understanding of the Cypriot situation like the Prime Minister. Mr. Akinci should return to the occupation of architecture where he was trained to perform. The reality is the Greek Cypriot people will vote against any agreement achieved by President Akinci or anyone. The Annan Plan and public polls in south Cyprus show there is not support among Greeks for equal rights for Turkish Cypriots.
The Turkish Cypriots really do not need an agreement with south Cyprus. The TRNC can break the embargo any day it finds the initiative to act like a sovereign country. The problem the Turkish Cypriots have is lack of initiative. Once the Turkish Cypriot Government musters initiative, it can focus on the “peace and prosperity” that Gazi M. Kemal Ataturk wanted for all Turks.
The TRNC Government can announce numbered investment accounts like Switzerland and other countries to receive the funds necessary to convert gas to fertilizer, synthetics, paint, cosmetics and many other products. The funds can be invested in south Cyprus, Greece and other places in the world that have projects with an acceptable return on investment. When the Greek and Turkish people work on shared objectives, peace and prosperity will reign and the politicians will be swept into the dustbin. The Turkish Cypriots will become the best friends the Greek Cypriots ever had.
Roger Jennings has written many articles for cyprusscene about Turkey and how it developed after WW1 when his grandfather was working in Turkey and became a friend and confidant of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Roger’s article “Silent Diplomacy in Turkey – Looking back at how it happened” gives so much information of this important milestone in Turkey’s modern history.
Roger has also written a number of articles about the ongoing attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem.