The friend of Northern Cyprus shares its Daily News of Life and Times around the world
By Margaret Sheard…..
We had learned from our friend Adem Bayman of his friend’s hotel, Çelebi Garden Hotel in Mehmetçik which is situated in a superb location for those who want to visit the Karpaz and surrounding areas.
We took a run out on a warm and sunny February day to meet Adem and he joined us to introduce us to the owner, Kemal Çelebi who was very proud to show us his hotel and we were very impressed with what we found. The hotel is on the outskirts of Mehmetçik with superb views and in a very quiet and peaceful location yet only a short walk into the centre of the village.
The hotel was built 5½ years ago, there is an 84 bed capacity in 23 rooms on 2 floors which caters for couples and also families. Kemal runs the hotel with 6 staff and additional part-time staff in the busy season. There are two chefs – Necati and Abdurrahman and we had the pleasure of meeting Necati while we were there.
The nearest beach is at Bafra which is a 5/10 minute drive but you may prefer to relax by the large swimming pool which incorporates a children’s pool and is set in the middle of the complex where there is a permanent stage for entertainment, an indoor and covered outdoor bar area and a separate very large restaurant also with an area for outside dining. There is also a children’s play area. Kemal organises entertainment with local performers and also traditional Cypriot folk music and dance evenings
The Karpaz area is very popular with those people wishing to have a relaxing break and to be able to enjoy traditional Cypriot hospitality and traditional Cypriot cuisine. For lovers of the culture and history of Cyprus there are so many places to visit in this part of the island and we were told that it is about 1 hour’s drive to the end of the Karpaz, 30 minutes to Gazi Mağusa, 20 minutes to Salamis and 30 minutes to Kantara, all of which are must places to visit. As well as journeying by car, there are many nature walks available for lovers of the countryside and also cyclists find this is an ideal area to pursue their hobby.
The Northern Cyprus Cycling Federation have used the hotel as a base in the past and due to the large number of cyclists involved, the hotel set up a camp for them in their grounds. It is hoped to increase the interest in cycling holidays at the hotel in the future.
Car hire can be arranged for guests and the hotel offers a service of collecting people from Ercan Airport and returning them after their stay and they can then hire a vehicle at their leisure to enjoy exploring this beautiful area
We were anxious to see the accommodation provided and Kemal took us over to the area where the blocks of rooms are situated which are surrounded by flower beds and newly planted fruit trees. Kemal pointed out a small shrub which had been brought by a regular guest from Ankara who asked for it to be planted and he could then see it growing each time he visited. The shrub is growing and has actually borne fruit, although none of us were sure exactly what it is. I am sure this guest will be delighted to see his plant when he next visits the hotel.
We looked at one of the ground floor rooms which was extremely large, with a bed, wardrobe storage, and a seating area with sofa and coffee table, large wall mounted TV, and a small refrigerator for drinks. The en-suite bathroom has a large corner shower, washbasin and toilet. The decor throughout the room is very tasteful as is the bathroom. We were very impressed with what we saw.
We then looked at one of the upper floor family units which comprised of 2 bedrooms and a bathroom off a private landing. Again the rooms were large, both with TV. What hit us immediately were the very tasteful touches of flowers on the double bed, and an artistic arrangement of the covers on the 2 single beds in the adjacent bedroom. First impressions go a long way when first entering your accommodation and I know I would have been thrilled. There is a small balcony off each of the bedrooms and the view from both rooms was just stunning. It is obvious that a lot of thought has been given to making the accommodation as attractive as possible for guests to be comfortable and enjoy their stay.
Each room has a water heater in the bathroom and Kemal explained that this was incorporated for the benefit of guests because of the frequent power cuts and water problems in the area. In fact there was a power cut while we were there but the generator immediately started so everything continued without a problem.
The hotel is open all year round and prices will vary depending on the season but we were told at the moment (February) it is 110TL per person per night which includes room, evening meal and breakfast, and seems very reasonable for a good quality hotel.
While strolling around the complex and looking at the amazing view, Adem pointed out the extent of the village which we could see in the distance. Adem told us that Mehmetçik has 1,750 inhabitants so it is a large village by Karpaz standards and also many of the houses remain empty for part of the year as these are owned by British and UK Turkish Cypriots who come for holidays.
The hotel also caters for wedding parties and other functions and can cater for up to 500 people, so an ideal venue for this type of gathering. There is very adequate parking at the front of the hotel and for additional parking for a large party there is another area across the road from the hotel. While we were looking at this Kemal pointed out the many trees at the rear of this area which include oranges, lemons, pomegranates and other fruits and also grape vines.
Kemal took us on a tour of the village and we were surprised to see how far it extended, although at one point we were shown where the village originally ended but now the properties extend far beyond this point. We looked at the cultural centre where the ladies of the village go to talk and indulge in their lace making and craft work. Nearby is an area where the community have planted seeds and when they start to germinate they will be taken by the villagers to plant in their own gardens.
There is much going on in Mehmetçik with a new cultural centre being developed on a former site of a Turkish Military camp. The village is also at a point where they meet the criteria to apply for membership of the Cittaslow Movement which will also make this an attraction to visitors.
This part of North Cyprus is so unspoiled and let us hope it remains so but these small villages all have a charm of their own and are steeped in history which many people never discover. We tend to visit the normal tourist attraction areas but a little sidestep into some of the villages of the Karpaz may result in some surprising findings. The Karpaz is not just for tourists, it is also a wonderful place to visit for those living here, whether they are Cypriots or expatriates who have chosen to make their home here.
I would recommend a few days exploring the Karpaz area and it is evident there are some lovely places to stay, one being the hotel we visited in Mehmetçik – Çelebi Garden Hotel. You will be welcomed to enjoy a traditional taste of the Karpaz in beautiful surroundings, freshly cooked traditional food and very comfortable accommodation.
President Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades held their second meeting of 2016 today in efforts to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue. The meeting took place at the buffer zone.
After the meeting the leaders made the following joint statement:
“Today, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nikos Anastasiades held constructive deliberations on all of the outstanding issues and provided further guidance to the negotiators.
The leaders established the Technical Committee on Education on 25th November and today appointed 11 members each. They exchanged their respective lists of members.”
The two leaders will meet again on 29th January.
President Mustafa Akıncı will attend the World Economic Forum to be held on January 19-22 in Davos, Switzerland.
In his speech during one of his receptions Akıncı said that the Secretary-General has still no “intention” concerning the tripartite meeting in Davos with the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-Moon and Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades.
Stating that the Turkish Cypriot side is not a party to sidestep from the negotiations on every ground, on the contrary, the Greek Cypriot side is the party which sidestepped from the quintet meeting with the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), Akıncı said: “If the UNSG propose for a tripartite meeting, the answer will surely be positive.”
Pointing out that Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the world’s best-known businessmen and politicians will be in Davos and the world’s most important issues will be discussed at Davos, Akıncı said: “I believe that the four of us must not avoid to get together and drink coffee. We must take advantage of being there and sit and talk and try to understand each other.”
Stating that he welcomes the participation of UNSG Ban in the meeting, Akıncı underlined that there is no quintet meeting which will be set up by the United Nations.
On the other hand Greek Cypriot Administration Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides made a statement and said that the Greek Cypriot Administration does not favour either a formal or informal four- party and/or five – party meeting in Davos.
President Mustafa Akıncı and the leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Nikos Anastasiades attended the lunch organized at the buffer zone within the framework of the Greek – Turkish Forum Meeting.
Former ministers, member of parliaments, academics, businessmen and journalists who came from Turkey and Greece attended the lunch at Chateau Status Restaurant near the Ledra Palace Hotel.
Turkish-Greek Forum reported that they welcome the two leaders’ commitment and their engagement with citizens and stakeholders in building confidence in a common future and a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
Yesterday the Turkish-Greek Forum issued the following statement:
“On the occasion of its meeting in Cyprus at the Home for Co-operation in the UN Buffer Zone on the 13th and 14th of January 2016, the Greek Turkish Forum had the pleasant opportunity of meeting with the leaders of the two communities.
We want to commend the leaders as well for establishing an exemplary paradigm of communication and outreach based on mutual trust, as reflected in their public statements and actions.
While a settlement is by no means a foregone conclusion at this stage, the positive climate engendered through the talks presents a unique opportunity to achieve progress and successfully conclude the negotiations. The Turkish-Greek Forum is fully committed to supporting the leaders in their quest for a settlement agreeable to both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and will spare no effort to promote the peace process.”
The Forum noted that the upcoming months will be crucial for Cyprus and the outcome of the peace process and said:
“We welcome their commitment and their engagement with citizens and stakeholders in building confidence in a common future and a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. The Turkish-Greek Forum is grateful to the leaders for updating forum members on the encouraging atmosphere in the talks under the UN auspices.
We urge the two leaders to do their utmost to overcome existing difficulties in the negotiations to the long-lasting benefit of all Cypriots.”
A high level authority from Turkey who participated in Turkey-European Union negotiations stated that 6 EU commissioners will have contacts in Turkey in March on many issues primarily the Cyprus solution process. The authority also said that the Cyprus issue is expected to be the most important agenda topic in Turkey-EU relations.
Expressing that the Cyprus problem is an obstacle in front of the chapters possible to be opened for Turkey’s EU membership, the authority said that the EU Commission and Turkey are making serious preparations, adding that if the Cyprus problem is not solved, there will not be any development on Turkey’s membership process. The authority also said “Cyprus negotiations are going well and there is a positive atmosphere in Cyprus. It is expected to reach a solution in the first quarter of this year. If a solution is reached within this year, there will be visa exemption and Turkey’s membership negotiations will develop. If the Cyprus problem is not solved, visa exemption may be applied, summits may be held but membership negotiations will be in danger. Everything is relevant to the Cyprus issue”.
The Leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Mehmet Ali Talat met with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz yesterday.
The latest developments reached in the Cyprus negotiation process were discussed during the meeting as well as the adaptation process to the EU.
The Deputy Undersecretary for Europe and Eurasia of the US Secretary of the Treasury Daleep Singh, who is having contacts in Cyprus, visited the Minister of Finance Birikim Özgür. Singh conveyed his views to Minister Özgür regarding the possible financial difficulties and opportunities after a solution and was informed about the TRNC economy.
In his speech at the meeting, Özgür said that structural transformation is very important for them therefore their intense reform studies are continuing.
Stating the contributions of Turkey for the TRNC in this process, Özgür expressed that the support of the US and EU will increase their strength during the solution process and also for continuing stability of peace.
Furthermore, adding that after a solution Cyprus will need a healthy transition period in which any financial difficulty will not be experienced, Özgür said that the US support strengthened their belief for a solution in Cyprus.
The leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Cemal Özyiğit received President of the European Parliament Office in Cyprus Andreas Kettis.
At the meeting which took place at the Headquarters of the TDP, latest developments reached in the Cyprus negotiation process and present issues on the agenda were evaluated.
The Founding President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Rauf Raif Denktaş was commemorated with ceremonies on the 4thanniversary of his death.
In his speech at the ceremony President Akıncı said that Rauf Raif Denktaş, whom they remembered with respect on the 4th anniversary of his death, was a great leader who guided the Turkish Cypriot people when efforts had been made to wipe out Turkish Cypriot identity from the island.
President Akıncı said that the time is continuously passing, a new world and new conditions are existing today but the needs of the Turkish Cypriots have not changed in essence, as they were previously, today they are trying to find ways to become rooted and grounded permanently in the island.
Akıncı said: “Of course, just as the late Denktaş did in his time we also have to find a proper way through which we will meet the needs of the present time. Therefore, we are working with all our good intention for a fair settlement. We make efforts for a settlement which will not compromise the equality, freedom and security of the Turkish Cypriots.”
The Tourism Ministry, announced that the Ministry has reacted to the information that the promotion of “Northern Cyprus” tourism in the inner cities and airports in London, Manchester and Luton disturbed the Greek Cypriots and a written complaint to the UK Foreign Secretary as well as the other competent authorities about the removal of the “Northern Cyprus” advertisements was made by the Greek Cypriots.
In the statement it is said: “We are amazed to see that at such a period that the Cyprus negotiations intensively continue on the Cyprus issue, the mentality in South Cyprus has not changed and they cannot even tolerate the promotion of Northern Cyprus tourism.”
The Solidarity Platform of Turkish Cypriots Living Abroad will organize a panel which will approach the different perspectives of ‘Right to Elect and to be Elected and Representation Rights”. The panel will take place at the City Centre Hotel in İstanbul on 16 January 2016.
According to the statement given by the Solidarity Platform of Turkish Cypriots Living Abroad, the purpose of the platform was expressed as strengthening the ties between the Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots living abroad and to provide the feeling of belonging to the country for the future generations. Indicating that the issue of representation of the Turkish Cypriots Living Abroad has great importance in this context, the platform proposed at the workshop which was conducted on 6 October 2015 at AKM, to send 5 deputies in total; 2 deputies from the UK and Turkey and one deputy from Australia which are selected by the elections in their countries and to be sent to the TRNC Assembly as representatives.
Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades on Wednesday reiterated his readiness to attend a joint meeting, if invited, with the UN Secretary-General and President Mustafa Akıncı in Switzerland later this month. Anastasiades said: “If invited I will certainly take part because the UNSG should be informed about the actual status of the talks; the progress achieved and the problems we have.”
If it takes place, the meeting will be held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos between January 20 and 23.
On the other hand, Greek Cypriot opposition politicians are anxious about this meeting. EDEK expressed concern over the move, saying the party was convinced that an attempt was underway to systematically upgrade the Turkish Cypriot state in the North.
“This meeting cannot be justified from the moment Anastasiades is invited in his capacity as the ‘President’ and Mr. Akinci is invited under a completely different capacity,” EDEK chairman Marinos Sizopoulos said in a statement.
Such a meeting will not be downgrading the President as a leader of a community but it will be upgrading Akıncı to President or representative of a so-called state entity, he said.
DIKO suggested Akıncı being upgraded to “co-president” with acceptance by Anastasiades in advance to meet Akıncı alone, or in the presence of the UNSG in Davos, “where only heads of state participate.” and all this, according to the party, amid a blackout that aimed in taking people by surprise and subsequently blackmailing them.
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 Margaret Sheard
We were recently invited by Sue Ayre to see the cottage in Ozanköy which she has lovingly restored to a traditional Cypriot home and will be available for people who want to experience the traditional way of life for a holiday or even for others in North Cyprus who would like a break away from their normal home living style.
Sue comes from Surrey in England and has lived in Cyprus for 2½ years, she has a son and daughter who both attend the English School of Kyrenia. She saw the cottage earlier in the year which was in a very bad state but she could see beyond this and had a vision of how it could be restored so the cottage was bought at the end of March 2014 with work being started on 16th April.
We asked about the name Ladera Cottage and were told that this goes back to a holiday Sue spent in St Lucia many years ago and was the name of the hotel where she stayed. It was from there that Sue kept a vision of the garden and plunge pool and she has now re-created it in her property in Ozanköy.
The result is fantastic and Sue has restored the cottage to a traditional Cypriot house, an image from a picture book was my first impression. Steps lead up to the living area which consists of a sitting room, kitchen and bedroom. On the lower level, which was originally accessed by a spiral staircase and has now been replaced with traditional wooden stairs, there is a bathroom and the main bedroom containing a magnificent 4-poster bed. On looking around the house we were aware of the coolness inside probably a result of the extremely thick walls.
Sue has kept the traditional atmosphere with the furniture and many old style ornaments on typical Cypriot shelving. The kitchen is along modern lines but still has a charm all of its own with a nice oiled wooden worktop and very stylish ceramic Belfast sink, everything is in keeping with the rest of the house and has all of the equipment needed to make a stay there comfortable and convenient.
We entered the property by a garden gate and got our first glimpse of the garden area which Sue told us was completely overgrown when she first saw it, the transformation is wonderful and is now a lovely area, very private with a plunge pool and waterfall, a shady patio area, lots of potted plants and foliage around, a grapevine which is being carefully brought back to life and a backdrop of the cottage with its blue shutters and double stable door type entrance. It took my breath away seeing it for the first time. What an achievement in 3 months.
Of course Sue did not do the work personally although she knew exactly how she wanted the finished cottage to look and so she enlisted the help of Hasan Özersoy from Lapta who together with his son Derviş Ali Özersoy and his workmen including his “digger” Mehmet assisted in the restoration of the cottage and garden. The digging of the plunge pool was the work of Mehmet who actually dug out the pool area by hand and wheelbarrow, all to the cardboard prototype Sue had provided. I can’t imagine the hard work this involved but looking at the finished pool, with its underwater seating and colour changing lights, everyone who helped to create it should feel very proud. The waterfall into the pool is from a large terracotta pot and is such a lovely feature. Sue said wherever possible all items excavated from the garden or removed in the cottage were re-cycled so very little was wasted. While Mehmet was digging out the pool he hit large boulders and these have been used for the very effective rockery area of the water feature and around the garden area.
A new veranda area was constructed at the front of the cottage and from this a wrought iron spiral staircase has been installed which leads to the large roof terrace from where there are lovely views of the sea and mountains, a real sun-trap for those who want to go home with a beautiful Mediterranean suntan.
Hasan and his son Ali arrived whilst we were there and we spoke with Ali, who has excellent English and he told us he had graduated from the European University of Lefke in Horticultural Production and Marketing. He helps his father with his various building jobs and also does some gardening but his dream is to build a house on his family’s land in Lapta and have a large garden area with many flowers, shrubs and trees which would be open for people to visit and admire. Ali is hoping to visit Kew Gardens in England later in the year and to spend some time there as a volunteer to increase his horticultural knowledge.
We were so pleased to be able to see Ladera Cottage and take a step back in time. What a wonderful location in the heart of the village for a romantic holiday in traditional Cypriot style or a family holiday. Unfortunately, the cottage is not suitable for people with mobility problems or small children due to its quaint layout but other than that it is absolutely ideal for people who like to experience local culture and perhaps want to have a different type of holiday with a romantic atmosphere.
Sue can be contacted by telephoning on 00 90 533 869 3721 or by completing the contact form below the slideshow and you can read more of Ladera Cottage by clicking here and on Facebook by clicking here
See the slideshow below where there are more before and after pictures showing the mammoth task undertaken by Sue to achieve her dream of a typical Cypriot cottage.
Providing significant employment opportunity to the TRNC
Chateau Lambousa, which is an important building block for tourism in the country; is entering into the tourism service with the co-operation of the Girne American University (GAU) and the Celebrity Group of Hotels.
The Chateau Lambousa Hotel, which operated with 5-stars under the Group of Celebrity Hotels and became the window that opened to the world during the first tourism movement in the Turkish Cypriots’ struggle and existence years, is getting ready to open its doors again for the economy and tourism of the country with almost 30 years of training experience and vision of the Girne American University.
In a statement made by GAU, it was expressed that this will bring significant developments in promoting the country and to the tourism sector of the TRNC, as well as providing employment and adding value to the economy. While it has been expressed that recruitment of over 120 personnel to work in the hotel will be achieved, it is also stated that the protocol will make an important contribution to the country with the project of re-opening the Chateau Lambousa hotel to tourism again under the leadership of the GAU Tourism and Accommodation Faculty.
World Tourism Giant AH&LA has accepted Le Chateau Lambousa as an institutional member for the first time in TRNC.
Also, it is emphasized that the Le Chateau Lambousa Hotel, will hold the title of being TRNC’s only hotel to serve under the American Tourism and Hospitality Training Foundation (AH & LA), which has a centre in Washington DC and is situated in more than 90 countries and has been co-operating with over 200 universities and institutions with a history of 110 years.
Le Chateau Lambousa Hotel seeks members to join the GAU Family
It has further been expressed that The Le Chateau Lambousa Hotel is seeking over 120 members to join the GAU Family, who will be recruited as personnel to undertake duties in:- front desk, sales and marketing, accounting and purchasing, human resources, kitchen, F & B, housekeeping, technical-maintenance and repair and the Spa-Wellness Centre.
For further details and to make application, please telephone 0548 821 3535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org A website is currently being constructed and we will place the link here as soon as it becomes live.