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By Ismail Veli………
Like Mustafa Kemal, Fikriye was born in Salonika in 1887, but was 6 years younger. Her uncle Galip Bey was Mustafa’s stepfather. Mustafa and Fikriye’s relationship eventually took on an intimate nature, but only after she was married off to an Egyptian bey.
By Ismail Veli……..
There are many great people and leaders in history. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was one such person, his political and military career are well known but what of his personal or more to the point his love life.
By Roger L Jennings…….
You know the Gazi. After the Turkish forces defeated the Greek Army at the Sakarya River using the same defense he had used at Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal returned to Ankara in triumph and was awarded by the Grand National Assembly the rank of Field Marshall of the Army and title of Gazi.
In the thousands of documents left to history by my Grandfather Asa K. Jennings and Father Asa W. Jennings from their many meetings with the great leader, he was always referred to as Gazi, and never Field Marshall, General, President or even Ataturk.
In 1931 the Gazi presented my Grandfather with the photo in appreciation for my Grandfather’s service to the Turkish people. Notice the date. The Gazi was President. Notice the monogram GMK. And see how he signed the photo: Gazi M. Kemal. Turkey would have many Presidents, but only one Gazi.
The Gazi took control of Turkey at a critical moment in history and pulled it out of antiquity into modernity in a few short years. All that he did was for the benefit of the Turkish people. He risked his life repeatedly, but never accumulated any wealth for himself unlike the Shah of Iran, Putin and so many others.
Some credit has to be given to the Greeks. After the Ottoman Turks withdrew from Greece, Greece declared its independence in 1821. Greece was formed by conquest and negotiation with neighboring lands. King Otto and Prime Minister Kolettis promoted the ancient Megali Idea as a way of unifying the peoples of their new Greek nation. The Megali Idea was, and is to this day, the unifying theme of Greek foreign and domestic politics. Crete was incorporated into Greece in 1913 largely due to Prime Minister Venizelos. He was the leader who had Greece enter WWI late in the War so Greece could share in the spoils of war. Venizelos ordered the Greek Army to land in Smyrna (Izmir) Turkey in 1919.
The Greek Army started killing innocent Turks on the very first day of the occupation, and continued as the Greek Army pushed inland far beyond the territorial limits set by the Treaty of Sevres. The crimes against humanity by the Greek Army are described in the Inter-Allied Commission Inquiry on the internet.
The Turkish people were poor, uneducated and unorganized. However, stories of the killing and destruction by the Greek Army spread very quickly throughout Turkey. The nationalist spirit of the Turks was ignited. The Turkish people followed General M. Kemal’s leadership reverently. Without the heinous crimes by the Greek Army, it is questionable that the Turkish people could have been brought together in a massive effort to eject the Greeks, French, Italians and British from Turkish soil.
If the legendary hero had not been created, the Gazi would not have enjoyed the national support for the many historic changes he made. He wanted the Turkish people to be prosperous. So every man and woman would have to have their shoulder to the wheel that drives the Turkish economy.
Women were given equal rights. Koranic Law was replaced. Mustafa Kemal’s mother had always stayed in the home in Thessaloniki where she was seen by her family, but not in public. Asa K. Jennings started day care for children in Izmir so mothers would know their children would be safe when their mothers were working in the packing plants earning money for their families and contributing to the economic growth of Turkey. Jennings and his American Friends of Turkey, which was staffed by Turks, started vocational training programs, hygiene and health education for new mothers, playgrounds and more all over Turkey – with the approval and encouragement of the Gazi. The purpose of the playgrounds was to provide competition while teaching tolerance and good sportsmanship, a concept foreign to Ottoman Turks.
The first playground in Turkey was built in Izmir. At first women would not participate in sports. The religious authorities argued this was an evil idea from corrupt Western people to have women engaged in sports. The Gazi concluded that religion and politics were a toxic cocktail. The Caliphate was abolished, the mosques were closed, and the mullahs were banished. The Greek most hated in Smyrna in 1922 was the Greek zealot Archbishop Chrysostomos. He encouraged the Greek Army to commit their offenses. The Turks dealt him a savage death. The most influential Greek Cypriot standing in opposition to reconciliation in Cyprus is Cypriot Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The Greek Cypriot version of the Megali Idea is enosis. The Greek Cypriots have not learned from the terrible lessons of the Greek Army in Turkey. How better off Greece would be today, if Venizelos had offered the Turkish people the hand of peace and offered to be partners in the development of the Turkish economy. It is true there was an epidemic of violence that led to the deaths of Turks, Armenians and ethnic Greeks – by the hundreds of thousands – from 1912 to 1922. It is also true that Turkey did not have police departments in nearly all of Turkey. The police academy was not established until 1938. In 1919 the Greeks could have proposed police departments to prevent violence. Greece under Venizelos took the road to war rather than the road to peace.
The Gazi wanted peace and prosperity. He wanted to liberate all Turks. He banned the fez and shah in buildings. Women need head protection when working in the fields, but the Gazi thought he had eliminated the caste system the shah imposes. Oh, how he would oppose the Islamization of Turks today, because religion as a public display is an impediment to progress.
Today, the people of the TRNC are at great risk. Only the leaders of the TRNC can bring peace to all Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots want to become part of the disaster in Greece rather than brothers with the Turkish Cypriots. The leaders of the TRNC will not listen to reason – or even the Gazi – and are squandering the last chance at peace. This is not what the Gazi wanted for Turks and Greeks. Cyprus is heading towards war over gas rather than using gas to create many products, prosperity and peace.
“The opinions, advice or proposals within the article are purely those of the author and do not, in any way, represent those of Cyprusscene.com”
By Ismail Veli…….
There have been many great leaders in history who have made an impact. Some are rated as great reformers, military, politicians, scientists etc. Mustafa Kemal better known as Ataturk (father of the Turks) was such a leader. His achievements in saving his country from the chaotic ashes of the Ottoman empire into a forward thinking modern society is something that few dispute. We only need to look at the situation and mind set of today in order to truly appreciate such great leaders of the past. Lets ponder the question?
We are now in the space age, can we imagine a leader coming forward in countries like Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and countless others in the hope that they can not only bring about the necessary reforms, but above all convince the vast majority of the population that they are essential in helping to break away from the past? We may be in 2016, but let’s go back to the conditions prevailing in Turkey in the immediate aftermath of foreign occupation, and virtual dismemberment by the major powers after world war one. The conditions in those days were far removed from what we can imagine today.
Between 1860 and 1922 the Turks had lost at least 4 possibly 5 million people in endless wars, disease and starvation. The bad behaviour of the Ottoman empire at that time is often spoken about, but rarely do western writers concentrate on the plight of the ordinary Turkish people, who themselves were on the receiving end of countless massacres. The behaviour and retaliation inflicted on others by the retreating Ottomans cannot, and should not be dismissed, but people who make the accusations, rarely, if ever concern themselves with the human suffering of ordinary Turkish people. Therefore their argument is often based on prejudice, bias and even hatred. But this article is not about the endless rights and wrongs of the Ottomans or their opponents. It’s about a man who finding his country dismembered with no hope of saving itself in the aftermath of the first world war. by 1919 Constantinople (as it was called at the time) was occupied by the British empire, the Aegean and south west by the Italians, central southern Turkey by the French, Trabzon Kars and Erzurum to the Armenian’s under the protection of the Russians and Izmir together with Western Turkey and Trakya/Thrace ceded to Greece in its own quest for reclaiming what it considered to be ancient Greek land with their dream of a greater Modern Greece.
With the whole Turkish army disarmed, 90% illiteracy, (only Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara registered over 20 literacy rates in 1927) no manufacturing base to speak of, and a country decimated and worn out by decades of war (as explained above) any hope of retrieving the situation seemed a pipe-dream. Mustafa Kemal thought otherwise. He retreated to the small provincial town of Ankara and began to organize some kind of resistance against impossible odds. With the advancing Greek army into the interior, the future fate of Turkey, (though not so obvious at the time) was decided at the battle of Sakarya. It was 1922 and the advance of the Turkish forces onto Izmir in 7 days completely reversed the 3 year occupation by the Greek army. But it was not in victory that Mustafa Kemal showed his greatness, on finding one of his officers trampling on a Greek flag in the belief that it would impress M. Kemal, he found himself being on the receiving end. Mustafa Kemal picked up the flag and reminded his officer that being the flag and pride of a nation he should show a lot more respect for it.
This was followed by his advance onto Constantinople under British military control. Once again Kemal’s genius came into action. Knowing that a confrontation with the powerful British empire would be doomed, he ordered his soldiers to hang their rifles upside down on their shoulders as a sign that it was not confrontation that he sought but his own country back. This gesture not only confused the British who had a grudging admiration for the spirit of the ”Johnny Turk” but convinced them that the British people themselves tired of warfare after the butchery of WWI finally accepted to withdraw. The other allies followed the British, With Russia in revolution they had already decided enough was enough the previous year. The above however is only a small part of the story.
What followed after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic on 29 October 1923 would astonish the world. Mustafa Kemal the hero of Gallipoli and the war of independence took off his military uniform, never wore it again, and began the task of dazzling reform that completely overturned 700 years of religious and military traditions of Ottoman rule. He abandoned the Caliphate which meant that the Turks were no longer defenders of the Muslim faith, brought in a secular constitution based on western style democracy, banned women’s head scarf’s, giving women equal voting rights long before some Europeans countries. With almost 90% illiteracy, and Ottoman writing being in the Arab script which was unintelligible to the masses, he invited intellects to rewrite a new Turkish script based on the Latin alphabet and more practical to the day to day usages of the spoken Turkish language. A law adopting the new alphabet was passed on 1st November 1928. The old tradition of using the father’s name as a surname was overhauled and based on a new surname system as in most modern countries.
Mustafa Kemal adopted the surname of ”Ataturk/father of the Turks. ” Within a few years women began to make inroads into Turkeys’ political and social system like never before. To pave the way he adopted his own daughters and encouraged them to help lead the way. His adopted daughter Sabiha Gokcen became not only the first female combat pilot in history but in the world. Today one of Istanbul’s main airports is named in honour of her achievement. While all the above was going on, 750.000 Turkish refugees flooded in from Turkey in a massive population exchange which also saw 1.5 million Anatolian Greek refugees leave for Greece under the supervision of an immensely humanitarian man called Asa K Jennings. Click here to read more of this subject.
Asa Jennings not only won the admiration of Mustafa Kemal but became the greatest awarded individual in Greek history for his immense humanitarian efforts. While this exchange no doubt caused immense suffering and sadness for people who had lost their ancestral homes it was also clear that Asa’s efforts saved the lives of many, for retribution and ill feeling among both people would no doubt lead to mass murder which would in effect prolong the agony for years to come. The added refugee flood from the Balkans and Caucasus must have been an immense burden for a new Turkish republic that only had about 13 million people, bankrupt, and no industrial base or means to invest. This did not deter Mustafa Kemal from his determination to modernize Turkey, if anything it spurred him to ever more determined efforts to ensure that the sons of Turkey would no longer be sent to guard wild frontiers in vain sacrifice of a corrupt and outdated empire that had no function in a modern world, while risking their mothers and sisters of mass rape and pillage on the retreat.
Ataturk went against history and declared his strategy of ”peace at home, peace abroad,” policy which saw Turkey and Greece sign a treaty in 1930. This was followed in 1934 by the Balkan pact in order to help bring co-operation and improve relations with countries that were previously in constant conflict. In 1934 The former Greek Premier Venizelos nominated Ataturk for the noble peace prize. Sadly years of hard work and alcoholism took its toll and on the 10th of November 1938 Ataturk closed his eyes to world. He was only 57 years old. The outpouring of grief was immense and dignitaries friend and foe alike flocked to his funeral to pay their respects to a man who had not only shown his greatness in adversity but above all in peacemaking.
In the immediate aftermath of his death the world was plunged into war. His followers tried to live up to Ataturk’s legacy. With Greece under Nazi occupation in 1941, Turkey became the first country to send humanitarian assistance to the famine stricken Greek population. Many Greeks fled to Turkey and made their way to Egypt to fight together with the British in the hope that the German occupation of their country would be reversed.
The Time magazine in 1999 chose Albert Einstein as the person of the century. Importantly Ataturk was chosen as one of the 15 most important leaders of the century. Strangely while Albert Einstein’s brilliance in creating the splitting of the atom led to misuse by the butchery of the second world war, thus creating destructive weapons never before witnessed, which led some to claim that his genius was no doubt misused, this resulted in some like John McLaughlin the host of ” McLaughlin group” to declare that Ataturk was ”the person of the Full Millennium”.
His view was that Ataturk was a visionary who turned a Muslim country into a Western leaning democracy, bringing in secularism and declaring that religion was something for the individual and not for the state to interfere or be interfered in. Professor Arnold Ludwig after a 17 year study into 300 leaders who helped shape the world chose Ataturk as the greatest leader of the 20th century.
A lasting legacy of Ataturk was the message he sent to the people of Australia and New Zealand who had sacrificed their sons during the Gallipoli campaign in WWI.
There is no doubt that many Turkish governments since the 1940’s have constantly used Ataturk’s message and legacy to fit their own aims, and they often use his name to pull the wool over ordinary people eyes. To say everything Ataturk did was correct or perfect would be stretching the imagination. He was after all a human being.
Looking at the situation in Turkey today, one wonders if the legacy of Ataturk is about take a new turn. The recent attempted coup of 15 July came as a shock to people who value democracy. The situation as it stands two weeks hence is one of uncertainty. Democracy is the most valuable asset to any country that aspires to modernity in the 21st century. Democracy should be about the creation of problem solving solutions, listening even when one disagrees, accepting that others will have a different vision, and above all freedom of speech that allows us to debate in a constructive manner.
In the final Analysis we are now scratching our heads and wondering where the recent events in Ataturk’s Turkey are now heading.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk; (19 May 1881 (conventional) – 10 November 1938) was a Turkish army officer, revolutionary, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament.
Atatürk was a military officer during World War I. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, he led the Turkish National Movement in the Turkish War of Independence. Having established a provisional government in Ankara, he defeated the forces sent by the Allies. His military campaigns led to victory in the Turkish War of Independence. Atatürk then embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern and secular nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, and women were given equal civil and political rights, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced. His government also carried out an extensive policy of Turkification. The principles of Atatürk’s reforms, upon which modern Turkey was established, are referred to as Kemalism.
By Ismail Veli…….
Bu yazının Türkce çevrisini okumak isteyen burada tıklayın.
One of the most talked and debated issues of the people of Lurucina is, ”who were our ancestors”?
Even many other Cypriots not from Lurucina have made countless claims. Some insist that we were Christian Greeks who converted to save tax. Many believe our origins were Venetians who converted to save themselves from discrimination from both Greeks and Turks. Some insist we originated from Ottoman Turks. No historic evidence has ever been presented to back up any claim. Some arguments though sounding plausible are often based on wishful thinking, political ideology and sometimes even prejudice. In this day and age our ethnic origins should not cause any embarrassment or concern, after all we all know the world is increasingly becoming a melting pot of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. History and evidence however can, and should be discussed, if only so we can enhance our knowledge on a realistic basis.
The people of Lurucina in spite of identifying themselves as Turkish Cypriots by ethnicity did in fact speak fluent Greek, which earned them the name Linobambaki (cotton wooleys) this was often used in derogatory terms to imply that they identified as Muslims to save tax or Christians to avoid National service. Some historians made fleeting reference to the Linobambaki but even they often went on what the general belief was, rather than any effort to research each claim on its own merits. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots mocked and taunted the people of Lurucina in equal measure. It was these kind of derogatory insinuations that cemented a bond and determination to prevail and succeed in keeping our unique diverse culture on a positive footing. The amazing thing is very few, if anyone, ever bothered to research our past beyond our family trees, therefore our history has been left to a few simple footnotes of passing phrases like ”The stronghold of the Linobambaki”, and so on. With so many important centres of the island like Nicosia, Kyrenia, Famagusta etc why would anyone bother with a mere village which was the target of ridicule from many sides of the ethnic makeup of Cyprus? Sadly some of our own villagers went as far as to accept the ridicule in the belief that our past ancestors switched according to their interest.
After a six year intensive research based on original archive documents a completely different picture seems to have emerged. The vast majority of the ethnic Turks of the village did in fact serve for years in the military, in fact when the 1831 and 1879 census documents are compared it’s clear that nicknames that were considered to reveal our past Latin or Greek origins and were very common in family identification seem to be much more recent than people believe. In the 1831 documents only one or 2 nicknames exist on record. One is ”Coban” (Shepherd) but we also know this to be a name. The same family has the nickname of ”Topal” (the lame). The vast majority of nicknames seems to be among the last 4-5 generations. The further one goes back the less there are. Therefore using our Greek, Turkish or Latin sounding nicknames as proof of our past ethnicity is flimsy to say the least. After all we had people named Mussolini, Kennedy, Grivas and even Cliff (after the British singer Cliff Richard) etc. No one can seriously claim a relationship to these past international figures. On close inspection there are some records of Muslim Turks marrying Christian women and converting to the Orthodox faith. Arif Mehmet Kavaz ‘Pasha’ from my paternal mother’s family being one.
Born in 1856 he married Ayse Suleyman ‘Yasumullo, but after her death he married a Christian woman named Kakulla. For some reason he named all his later children with Christian names and moved to Limassol. In spite of countless debates of conversions to Islam from the Christian faith, not a single person born between the period 1750 to the present have been found to have converted from Christianity to Islam. Considering there have been at least 8000 people recorded on the village family trees that is an amazing rebuttal of claim on the theory that the people of Lurucina converted to Islam.
Some argue that if there were conversions they took place immediately after the Ottoman conquest of 1571. But even this is hearsay and most important the details and evidence found to date have shown this theory to be flimsy. In the first Ottoman census of 1572 there were 27 Cizye (Christian households) but by 1643 this increased to 41. So the question is, if at a period of falling population count in Cyprus, how did a 50% increase in the population of Lurucina take place? Surely if they had converted to Islam the Christian population would have shown a decrease?
So let’s look at the documented evidence uncovered thus far. The 1879 census which covers the population from 1796-1879 reveals some interesting facts. Some were listed as being Bosnians, Albanian and Arabic. I hardly think the officials would have registered these people as such if they did not somehow have their origins in these ethnic groups. Nearly all the family trees researched strangely seem to start one or two generations more or less during the period that is around 1750’s to early 1800’s. The Orthodox Christian population on the other hand is more consistent. They are recorded clearly as Christians in the 1572, 1643 and 1831 census records. The turmoil and economic devastation in the 1700’s did see a massive drop in the total population of the island, and the Christian population also decreased as a result. For some reason however the Muslim Turkish element is, as stated, much more recent. Though only 104 Muslim males (39 households) were recorded in 1831 (as opposed to 25 Christian males) an amazing discovery was also made. Some of the largest family trees of our village namely the Arabic ‘Kirlangic’ (Siliono), Ibrahim Mustafa Kara-Ali ‘Garaoli’, and Hasan Huseyin Topal (or Coban ) turned out to be Sipahi’s. Sipahi refers to all freeborn Ottoman Turkish mounted troops and tribal horsemen in the Ottoman army. The word was used almost synonymously with cavalry. The Sipahis formed two distinct types of cavalry: feudal-like, provincial timarli and the paid regular Kapikulu Sipahi.
The Ottoman people had rights to the land but the Sipahi’s a unique kind of military aristocracy and cavalry portion of the military, also lived on the land with the farmers and collected tax revenues, usually in-kind, to subsidize the costs of training and equipping the small army, dedicated to serving the sultan. Was there a reason for all these Muslim families to have settled in Lurucina during the same period? It’s possible of course that certain elements, possibly the Christian or Latin members of the population joined in rebellion, and after being subdued the Sipahi families were rewarded with land for serving the Sultan faithfully? No doubt expert historians of Cyprus would know of these events in more detail, but that’s not to say they bothered with researching individual families like our roots in such detail. In order to understand the role of Sipahi’s a few independent sources would suffice to answer the role of these cavalry men during the Ottoman Empire.
The following is from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
“Sipahi, occasionally spelled spahi, feudal cavalryman of the Ottoman Empire whose status resembled that of the medieval European knight. The sipahi (from Persian for “cavalryman”) was holder of a fief (timar; Turkish: tımar) granted directly by the Ottoman sultan and was entitled to all of the income from it in return for military service. The peasants on the land were subsequently attached to the land and became serfs. The sipahis provided the bulk of the Ottoman army until about the mid-16th century. From then on they were gradually supplanted by the Janissaries, an elite corps composed of infantrymen paid regular salaries by the sultanate. In part, this change resulted from the increased use of firearms, which made cavalry less important, and from the need to maintain a regular standing army. The sipahis were completely discredited during the War of Greek independence (1821–32), and the timar system was officially abolished in 1831 by Sultan Mahmud II as part of his program to create a modern Western-style army.”
The Military Architecture describes them as Sipahis which were the Turkish equivalent of the European armored knights. These troops were largely accustomed to fighting on horseback and their strength lay in their mobility as mounted archers. Their light weapons and armour were designed for hit-and-run tactics.
Since Kapikulu Sipahis were a cavalry regiment it was well known within the Ottoman military circles that they considered themselves a more superior stock of soldiers than Janissaries, who were sons of Christian peasants from the Balkans (Rumelia), and were basically slaves bound by various laws of the devşirme.
Whereas the Sipahis (both Tımarlı and Kapıkulu) were almost exclusively chosen amongst ethnic Turkic landowners, they made great strides of efforts to gain respect within the Ottoman Empire and their political reputation depended on the mistakes of the Janissary. That minor quarrels erupted between the two units is made evident with a Turkmen adage, still used today within Turkey, “Atlı er başkaldırmaz”, which, referring to the unruly Janissaries, translates into “Horsemen don’t mutiny”.
The above information is without doubt powerful evidence that the main families in Lurucina were in fact from a strong ruling class of cavalry families stationed in Lurucina during a period of immense turmoil for the Ottomans, and most important that these families were from Turkic or Arabic Muslim background (the T.C Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivleri. Book TŞR.KB.d.00040. Pages 45 ve 46). In fact the 1833 land ownership (Başbakanlık Osmanlı arşivlerinin ML.VRD.TMT.d.16152 numaralı defterinin 49-52. Sayfaları. Luricina köyü. 1833 yılı. Prime ministerial Ottoman Archives Book number ML.VRD.TMT.d.16152. Pages 49-52.) also confirms that these wealthy families were large land owners. Many of these families each owned large tracts of land. Just 3 members of the Ibrahim ‘Garaoli’ (Kara-Ali) owned 289 donums of land plus many olive trees and animals. 3 members of The Mehmet Kadri family owned 239 donums plus an enormous number of animals and trees. Their status as Sipahi’s and high military positions were not easily won. For a period of immense poverty on the island the 39 registered landowners collectively owned 2363 donums. (2.210 donums in Lurucina and the rest in other locations like Limya). In addition they owned various heads of animals totalling 661. Hardly an amount to be scoffed at.
To read more on this subject please click here
They were no doubt rewarded for their services to the empire. We already knew the Mehmet Katri family were of powerful military stock. They were in fact the largest land owners in Lurucina and the name ‘Kadri’ was not the real family name but was given to Mehmet Ismail ‘Kadri’ who seems to have belonged to the order of the Qadiriyyah. The name Katri originates from Qadiriyyah. The Qadiri Order is one of the oldest Sufi Orders. It derives its name from Abdul-Qadir Gilani (1077-1166), a native of the Iranian province of Mazandaran. The order is one of the most widespread of the Sufi orders in the Islamic world, and spread to Central Asia, Turkey, Cyprus, Balkans and much of East and West Africa. The Qadiriyyah have not developed any distinctive doctrines or teachings outside of mainstream Islam. They believe in the fundamental principles of Islam, but interpreted through mystical experience. This name was normally given to certain individuals who followed the order of the Qadiriyyah. What this implies for our ancestor Mehmet Katri/Kadri is not clear. What is clear however is that during the Ottoman period it was normal to use the name of the order one belonged to.
The myth that the Muslims of Lurucina originally converted to reduce their tax burden seems to be completely discredited. The other myth that they switched to Christianity when their national service came up seems to be as flimsy as the story that Lurucina was founded by the fabled Venetian beauty Lorenzia. They all make good stories, but these do not equate to historic evidence or facts. The Ottoman records for the period 1786 to 1879 show an enormous number of men who completed their national service. In addition most of the lakabs/Nicknames seem to belong to the generations born from the mid 1800’s to the period just before 1974. Hardly proof that Latin or Greek sounding names date to the period after the Ottoman conquest of 1572.
To read the Mehmet Kadri family history please click here
Many will of course point out the fact that the people of Lurucina almost spoke exclusively in the Greek language as proof of their origins, but The Siliono’s, Garaoli’s, Topal Hasan’s and Kadri families as their status proves belonged to the Muslim sect as recent as 1831. On closer inspection the marriages of the men and women between these families is further evidence that they inter-married due to their high class status. The marriage of Ayse Yusuf ‘Siliono’ with Mehmet Kavaz. (from the Kadri family), Serife Ibrahim ‘Garaoli’ with Hasan Yusuf ‘Arap’ are just two examples that families married because of their status and large ownership of land. The Arabi’s came from a family that had a Sipahi (Namely Mustafa Yusuf born in 1791) as their elder, while the Kadri’s/Kavaz had a unique place in Lurucina. Yet we all know that our grandparents born in the late 1800’s to these family groups could hardly speak Turkish. So why did they forget their original language and switch to Greek? Perhaps we can use some examples to explain this phenomenon which is much more common than people think.
Many of the Cypriots who settled in the UK in the 1950’s and 60’s were 1st generation, and yet we all know for a fact that only fifty years later many youngsters speak the language of the majority English people. In fact my own grandchildren being only 2nd generation cannot speak any Turkish. I doubt there is a single family in the Diaspora who do not have some members of their youth who are not in the same position. I often meet Greek, Italian and Turkish youngsters who cannot speak the language of their parents. We can easily assume that another fifty years or so and this will be even more common. After all if many 2nd generation people cannot speak their so called mother tongue what chance have they of teaching their children, much less their future grandchildren. Many will of course argue that we live in a foreign country while the people of Lurucina lived in Cyprus.
Nearly all the villages in the area however were Greek speaking, the conditions of mass ignorance, isolation and non existent communications in the period of 1830 to 1930 are hardly a secret. Compare this to the present day massive technology, mass internet communication and easy travel across the globe. It does not take rocket science to see the difference in circumstances between the 1800’s and the 21st century. The collapse of the Sipahi’s during the 19th century and abandonment of Ottoman rule inevitably led these once proud warriors and rich land owners to the total collapse of their privileges. Their survival forced much more integration with the local people who were predominantly Greek speaking. Sadly some turned to theft and some level of brigandage to survive. Proof of this are the many people listed in the documents as either missing or serving prison sentences, but most remained honest and proud of their past heritage.
Many today question how reliable are the records of people like Ibrahim Tahsildar and Huseyin Geleo who recorded the past origins of our ancestors. For example they recorded that the Kara-Ali’s ‘Garaoli’s came from Kofunye/Kofinou. The Arabic Siliono’s from Pirga, The Sari Mehmet Hurrem bey from Antalya, Mehmet Mustafa Said from Silifke, The Porto and Alikkos from Dali, The Kara-Ismail from Karpaz and Suleyman Yusuf ‘Zabuni’ from Kalopsidia. I think I can answer this with ease. My own maternal great grandfather Ismail Ali ‘Gicco’s’ family is said to have come from Turkey.
He was born in 1892, I was born in 1956 and often explain to my grandchildren born in 2006 that he was born in Lurucina. Are we to seriously assume that Ibrahim and Huseyin were not aware, and did not know the birth place of their great grandfathers born in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. In fact Ibrahim Tahsildar was himself born in 1893 while Huseyin Suleyman Geleo was born in 1882. Ibrahim (as his nickname Tahsildar confirms was a tax collector) kept records of all the family trees. Are we to assume that they did not know the origins of the families when they were growing up. After all their great grandparents were still alive when they were young. Ibrahim Tahsildar gives precise details of his great grandfather Suleyman Yusuf marrying in 1798. To add credibility to his claim I discovered in the 1831 census that the oldest children of Suleyman were born in 1801 (Yusuf) & 1806 (Ibrahim). Conclusive proof that Ibrahim was a reliable source of information on our roots. Not really such a long time in the scheme of things. It’s sad that much of our past history and roots is clouded by hearsay, personal views and even prejudice due to modern day political differences which have no bearing on the people or circumstances prevailing in the past. That’s why I prefer to back up my views and writings based on original documented evidence, which have been located not only in The Milli Arsiv of Kyrenia (National Archives of Kyrenia) but also at the Turkish Republic Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archives of Istanbul.
No doubt the search for more documents on our roots and history will continue. Research is never ending and only a fool will submit that everything has been found. If there are some missing documents, or others present new evidence that may help to alter at least some of what I have found and shared, I would be the first to welcome them. In the absence of such claims however I have to admit that original documentation found to date is sufficient evidence to dispel the myths of Lorenzia, and our so called genetic link to the Venetians, or any other fanciful romanticism that seems to be a preferred option to that of documents recorded no more than 200 years ago.
I REST MY CASE
Türkce çevrisini okumak isteyen. A Turkish translation can be seen by clicking here.
To read more about the families and history of Lurucina go to my website by clicking here
What’s Turkey’s new role in Europe? Is to join in partnership in Europe or the Middle East? Since the times of the Ottoman Empire the ‘Turks have been a bridge between the Middle East and Europe either through, war, politics, economical and border changes, but since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War One and the foundation in 1923 of the new modern state of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which was based upon modernity, there have been many changes over the following decades of post Ottoman and post Ataturk eras. There have been various changes of roles either through military or precedent but the recent change of the Turkish government in the AKP generation of Recep Erdogan era, there has been change of stability and growth as well the re-emergence of the past greatness or a new shared tradition of modernity and past Ottoman complexion, through politics, culture, art and heritage,
But to remember there has been very much social change and political change in Turkey, either to get into politics in the Middle East and its former Ottoman boundaries or in the in-house changing between the differences of people and forging ties with the former Ottoman Empire lands, either through shared, cultural, economical and political ties.
So my final question is where will Turkey be in the world in the future because Turkey itself is a new country of less than 100 years old? How relevant is Turkey in linking the old world and new in the sense of Europe and the Middle East, will it choose to be a vital role and major change?
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There is so much news and information being published on the internet and we would like to tell our readers of an online and hardcopy magazine which is published in Russian called союз or Union and is about Cyprus for Russian speaking people in Cyprus or wherever they may be by our friends Kate and Andrey which can be viewed by clicking here.
Although it is displayed in Russian we found it was easy to translate into English by right clicking with a mouse in Google Chrome. In this latest issue we found some fascinating articles and with help from Kate and Andrey we are showing a great article below and hope to bring more for the enjoyment of our English speaking readers in the future.
By Kate Shauruk
The Knights Templar (the order of the poor knights of Christ) once passed through Cyprus. The village of Zeytinlik (Templos) which the soldiers known as the Knights Templar used as an administrative centre, still bears the traces of the knights.
The island of the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, is an island that has embraced many civilizations in world history. Even though they may not have remained for very long periods in Cyprus, the Knights Templar have left important marks here, and the period in which they existed is still talked about today. This era is the period of the Knights Templar, who were known as The Order of the Poor Knights of Christ.
During the period in which they survived, the Knights Templar, also known as Worshippers, became renowned around the world for their combatant skills. It has been stated that when they bought the island from Richard the Lionheart, there were only 14 knights settled here in Cyprus. The quashing of the rebellion on the island by these 14 Knights must be the most important indicator of exactly how strong these warriors were.
TRACES OF THE TEМРLARS
The Knights Templar ruled over the island of Cyprus from 1244 to 1314. It is known that, despite the island being overthrown later, a number of them settled on the island for a long time after. It is because of this that it is possible to come across traces they left behind. For instance, according to Ottoman archives, the Order of the Knights Templar, who held the villages of Upper and Lower Arodez and Rhodes, owned parts of Akursos, Mora (Meriç) and Episkobi (Yalova). Whereas the command headquarters of this Order in Cyprus, known as the Knights Hospitalier, were in the villages of Armanohori, Finike and Templos. During the Ottoman period Templos was given to a prominent Ottoman family.
Because Templos (Zeytinlik) took its name from the knights, it is one of the villages whose name has been ingrained in world history because of this attribute. Templos, which was founded by the Templar or Temple Knights, still continues its legend today, with writers of novels and film producers and those following the tracks of the Knights Templar most certainly paying a visit to that village. They don’t call it “Zeуtinlik° they know and refer to it as “Templos”. Zeytinlik village signifies great meaning in this respect. Elements symbolizing the Knights Templar are displayed at the International Olive Festival organized at this village annually.
Today, although the Knights Templar are especially mentioned along with Zeytinlik village, one of the most important traces belonging to the knights and that still stands today are the Twin Churches in Mağusa (Templar and Hospitalier Churches). The two large churches that were built in the 14th Century belonged to the Knights Templar. When the Order of the Knights Templar was dissolved by the Pope in 1313, the adjoining building owned by the Hospitaliers was given to the knights. It has recently been restored and is currently used by the Cyprus Arts Association.
THE РRINСЕSS THE KNIGHTS CONFINED TO BUFFAVENTO CASTLE
There is a legendary story said to have occurred when the Knights Templar dominated Cyprus in 1191 and 1192…
Like all the other castles on the island, Buffavento meaning, “Brave to the wind” also has a story relating to a Queen that once ruled over Cyprus.
It is said that during the time of the Knights Templar, the Empress Helena lived a solitary life in the castle, with only her dog as a companion. She developed leprosy, and this was passed on to the dog. Over time, she noticed that the skin on her dog had begun to heal. Following the dog one day, she saw that the animal was bathing in a spring far below the castle. Doing the same, she was cured of the disease. In gratitude, at the spot near the water source, she founded the monastery of Ayios Ioannis Chrysostomos.
The Knights Templar had a special mason class of stonecutters and bricklayers. It is possible to see the markings of these craftsmen in Northern Cyprus on the walls of the Bellapais Monastery for example.
Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. The Кnights Templar, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking, and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.
The Order of the Templar had three statutory aims:
1 – To assist Christians in performing the pilgrimage
2 – To protect the Holy Land
3 – To re-erect the temple of Solomon
CYPRUS ERA TEMPLARS
Richard, King of England, took part in the Third Crusade (1189-1192). Three of Richard’s ships that did make it on toward Cyprus sank and Isaac of Cyprus took the surviving crewmen prisoner. When Richard arrived in Cyprus with the other English ships he was outraged at what had happened and immediately laid siege to the island. The siege was a complete slaughter, as the Cypriots were ill prepared to stave the attack of a trained army. Isaac eventually surrendered the island to Richard on the condition that he should not be bound in irons. Richard accepted the terms and, instead, bound him in fetters of silver.
Richard sold the island to the then greatest Grandmaster of the Templers Robert de Sablé for 100 000 bezants (а unit of Byzantine gold coins) of which de Sablé gave a down payment of 40,000 with the rest to be paid from profits made on the island. Richard had a very good standing with the Templars and was considered an Honorary Templar. in the Third Crusade he went to war wearing the armour and the cross. De Sablé failed to establish a solid base on Cyprus. According to some sources, the number of Knights under the command of Armand Воuchart was only fourteen, according to other sources there were about twenty. The men sent to look after the island were warriors and not administrators and they behaved badly towards the local inhabitants and the ruling class of the island. The rule of the Templars in Cyprus was marked by great severity and they quickly incurred the hatred of the Cypriots by their harsh demands. At length, in despair at their treatment and seeing that the Templars were few in number, the islanders decided to attempt a general massacre of the knights on Easter Day 1192. The Templars became aware of the plot and took refuge in their stronghold at Nicosia, since they were too few to meet the insurgents in the open. They offered to leave the island if their lives were spared, but as this offer was rejected, they proceeded to fight rather than to be starved into submission.
Sallying into the streets at dawn, they took the Cypriots unawares and slaughtered great numbers, sparing neither age nor sex. The rebellion was crushed, but the Templars felt unable to hold Cyprus by force and they therefore asked Richard to take back their purchase. He took back the island and sold it to Guy of Lusignan. The Templars retired to Syria but they retained some of their possessions in Cyprus. They were permitted to keep their castles and other properties on the island. This allowed the order to maintain a presence on the island.
Despite their great successes, the Latin Kingdoms which the Crusaders established in the Middle East were not destined to survive for long. Salahuddin Ayyubi (Saladin) who in 1187 established the Ayyubid state in Egypt, brought an end to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Mameluke Sultan Eşref took the fortress of Acre in 1291 and rid the Holy Land of the Crusaders. The Templars left the Holy Land after the defeat at Acre, some settling in Cyprus, being driven out of Jerusalem, they remained in Cyprus until the Order was disbanded in the year 1312.
When voices in the Christian West grew loud accusing the Templars of letting Jerusalem fall into Muslim hands, King Phillip IV of France was at the head of those who sought to discredit the Templars. A series of false rumours about the Templars were fabricated and spread around, in 1305 the last Grandmaster of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, was recalled to France, although he was engaged in war preparations on Cyprus, and assigned by the Pope to investigate these allegations.
On Friday, 13th October 1307, Phillip ordered all French Templars to be arrested. On 22nd March 1312, the Pope issued a series of Papal Bulls through which the Order wаs officially dissolved and most of the Templar assets were turned over to the Knights Hospitalier.
Many of the Templars were tried before the Inquisition Tribunal and executed or burnt at the stake. On 18th March 1314, the Grandmaster Jacques de Molay was burnt to death over a slow fire on an island by the banks of the Seine River in Paris. A legend alleges the Temple Grand Master to have shouted: “Pope Clement, Guillaume de Nogaret, King Philip! I summon you to the Tribunal of Heaven before the year is out!”. Clement V died a month after de Molay’s execution from a terrible illness; Guillaume de Nogaret, was poisoned to death on April 27, 1314; while Philip the Fair died a few months later, on November 29, 1314 while on a boar hunt.
The history of the Templars and their connection with the island of Cyprus ends in the year 1571, long after the Order had vanished as a formal institution. It was in this year that Ottoman Turks overran the island and the Templar archives were destroyed.
The destruction of the archives was a devastating loss. Had those documents survived, they could have answered many questions relating to the history and mystery surrounding the Templars.
Editor’s Note: We are using photographs supplied by Kate and Andrey and also some additional pictures of our own to enhance this article.