(Edit: Photo has been updated)
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Today I would like to share with you an article by an investigative author, Ulus Irkad who writes about the Paphos area…
His article was published in the weekly YENICAG newspaper and reprinted on my pages in the YENIDUZEN newspaper…
Here is a what Ulus Irkad is saying in his article entitled "How did they divide us and how did they divide our country…":
"Since I was born in 1957, I do not have a recollection of how the previous years were but at the beginning of the 1960s, I started becoming aware that some strange things were going on.
For instance, in 1962 I remember listening to my grandfather, sitting on the balcony of our house in Paphos talking about the killing of the lawyers – he had come from England and was living in Paphos… The year was 1962 but there must have been terror attacks by the underground organisation despite the fact that the Republic of Cyprus had been declared two years ago.
Then one morning as we woke up, I remember my mother speaking with the mother of Arif Albayrak that they should not send us kids to school because of the troubles in Nicosia. That day was a holiday for us… It was a holiday but after a few days, we would wake up to the sound of bombs and shooting guns… From the early morning, the bullets had started hitting the walls of our house… In order to make sure that we did not get out my mother was reading us stories from an enormous collection of books in our house. Our father was outside. I knew that sometimes he would go for duty. Then one night we would see our neighbours from the Moutallos area leaving their houses and going to safer places. More troubles would come up and small villages around Paphos would emigrate to the Turkish Cypriot area of Paphos… It was the times of rations… The civil servants and teachers could not be paid… They were without money… Since my father too was a teacher and was not paid and had no money, we could not pay the rent… He would hire a house on the border in a dangerous area… But there, one of our neighbours, Mr. Fuat who had been one of the commanders of the police while saying goodbye to his son Semih sending him to Ayyanni village would be shot dead there… It was said that a Greek Cypriot policeman had shot Mr. Fuat, the police commander. We were so full of fear that we left that house as well and went to a two room house that did not even have a toilet inside… We would distribute the enormous library and all the books of my father to relatives. This mess would continue until 1967. Still I can make no sense of these events – our population as Turkish Cypriots in the Paphos area was fifteen thousand and I still cannot understand why our commanders were making provocations against the Greek Cypriots in the area whose population was four times more than us! If the Greek Cypriot population of Paphos would spit, they would drown us but despite this why was there an attack particularly on the 7th of March 1964 at the Greek Cypriot market area taking hundreds of Greek Cypriots as prisoners and why did our people kill seven innocent Greek Cypriots that day? Wasn't this officially inviting a population four times as much as our small community to gather in a few hours and with their power of guns and numbers, could destroy us? Why were such illogical and suicidal retaliations were done by our side? Or was it because of the 4th of March decision which had stopped the intervention of Turkey – to make provocations in order to try to start an intervention by Turkey? Such things crossed our minds… There are also allegations that provocations were done prior to the 7th of March 1964 events opening the way for a Greek Cypriot called M. to kill a Turkish Cypriot… When M. did that, our side would attack the market place as a retaliation but as a result of the seven Greek Cypriots killed, we would lose 15 Turkish Cypriots. Retaliation per retaliation would result bombs and tanks firing at Turkish Cypriots and in the end accepting the conditions of surrender.
According to what we heard, Dr. Ihsan Ali – one of the leaders of the Paphos area – would call Glafcos Klerides and managed to stop the retaliation of Greek Cypriots. Two years ago a documentary called "In the name of Motherland" was produced and in this documentary some EOKA leaders would say that after the Mavrali events where 9 Turkish Cypriots had been killed, they had planned to continue these killings for the whole of the Paphos area…
After the 1964 troubles one day our mother took us to the fields… Apparently the command of the Turkish Cypriot soldiers in Paphos had noticed our presence in the fields through binoculars and had thought that we had been "spying"… On our way back, we would be stopped by Turkish Cypriot soldiers and were told that we needed to be searched. My mother was very angry at that and very heart broken… She was pregnant and she would go to the command and question the commander about why we were being treated like "traitors". They would tell her that this was the decision of the command and that we were under investigation. Later on some youngsters who went swimming would be ambushed and would be beaten up with sticks by the Turkish Cypriot underground organisation. While struggling against some Greek Cypriot fanatics, our community was under pressure internally by this underground organisation. At that time, many rude actions were done against the family of Dr. Ihsan Ali. In the centre of Moutallo, his family would be beaten up in front of everyone and even women were not spared from this beating. When those supporting Dr. Ihsan Ali came under pressure, some families who supported him would have to leave for the Greek Cypriot area and live there. One of those families had a son – one of his arms was crippled and some men from the underground organisation would come to the lyceum he attended and would beat him so severely that they would break his arm… My father who was his teacher stopped this – if he hadn't, perhaps they would beat him up even more… What was strange was that this boy's elder brother was in Kokkino fighting there… While his family in Paphos was beaten up as "traitor", their elder son, not aware of this was fighting in Kokkino…
Then in 1966-67 there would be a raid at the house of two old ladies supposedly "suspected of being spies" where they would be killed – their heads were cut off… Actually the Paphos Turkish Cypriot community understood quite well how these women had been killed but maybe the underground organisation wanted to give a message to the community as a warning that "this might happen to you as well…" And of course, getting these messages, the community would be even more surrendering and would go even more quiet… This is how the quiet community was created at the end of 1967…
While members of the Turkish Cypriot community faced such pressure internally, when they travelled between districts, would also face pressure in the Greek Cypriot areas… There were barricades… Tens of Turkish Cypriot workers would be taken as prisoners in such barricades and would disappear… I remember coming across such barricades both at the exit of Paphos and other places while going to Nicosia after 1964 together with my aunt and her family and would be searched by Greek Cypriots. Even though I was only 7-8 years old, I too was searched each time together with Turkish Cypriot males. They would even have me take off my shoes and search me thoroughly… Such body searches by Greek Cypriots at different barricades would continue at Chaghlayan barricade (around Famagusta gate) while entering Nicosia until 1968… Internally the underground organisation and outside the enclaves, EOKA teams were the same… There was a chauffeur called Ali who had got married with a Greek Cypriot girl and he was coming to see his mother in the Paphos Turkish Cypriot enclave – he would be arrested by some EOKA members and would be tortured… I will never forget his Turkish Cypriot mother who only spoke Greek – until she died she would always cry, saying "Manamu Buisegiemu, manamu Buisegiemu…" (meaning "my poor son… my poor son…")
There were also cases when in Paphos and on the roads some Turkish Cypriots were held in 1967. The underground organisation of the Turkish Cypriots would try to solve such cases by retaliation… For instance in the village Koloni a fanatic Greek Cypriot called A. from Steni would fire at some Turkish Cypriots and would wound two Turkish Cypriots and kill a Turkish Cypriot youth. Later on some Turkish Cypriots from the underground organisation from Suskiou would go on the Kelokedara-Paphos road and would kill the taxi driver Irakleous, a pregnant woman Antigone and his soldier son… When this killing was heard, the next day, EOKA members would collect Turkish Cypriots that they found in the market in Ktima and would kill them – some Turkish Cypriots are still "missing" from that day… (Among those "missing" are the mukhtar of Agios Georgios, Shukru Redif and his 16 year old son Shefik Shukru who had gone to a travel agency for a ticket and to the Paphos police station that day for some formalities for the passport of Shefik… According to some information we gathered they would be taken to Polemi and killed there and buried in a well in Polemi… I would appreciate if my readers can call me anonymously if they like, if they know of their burial site – S.U.)
Questions linger about why the Paphos Central Turkish Cypriot Military Command, despite knowing that there would be retaliation by Greek Cypriots, they did not prevent Turkish Cypriots going to the market in Ktima that day… Who knows, maybe they were thinking that "let them be killed so we can be shown to be right"?
In 1974, both communities would retaliate and would kill each other… Hundreds of people killed and some are still "missing"… Both during the war and after both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots taken as prisoners of war were also killed.
So this is the point where we have reached – this is how we were divided, this is how they divided us and both sides are guilty because of all that has happened. These enmities are the given opportunities to imperialism to scratch at ethnic differences and to use these in order to divide us… Whatever happened leaders, particularly a leader like Makarios who posed as a charismatic leader should have seen that such actions would lead to the partition of the island and should have given peaceful messages. He should not have used nationalistic and antagonistic speech, dividing the two communities. He should have done this during the troubles of 1963… One of the Turkish Cypriot leaders was more than ready for negative answers…
I believe that both sides should admit their mistakes and talk about these. I also remember the speeches about ENOSIS during 1972-73 at public meetings by Makarios in Paphos… He would not listen to the proposals of Dr. Ihsan Ali and would follow his own mind. Discriminatory policies and lack of empathy towards Turkish Cypriots took us all the way to the 15th of July and 20th of July 1974. Such arrogant speeches and actions served the partitionist Turkish Cypriot leadership and brought us the partition. Yes there was an occupation but there was also the 1963-64 troubles and the racism and nationalism of the Greek Cypriot ruling elites that triggered the occupation. In 1963, they had taken over the Republic of Cyprus, showing off their superiority… Such mistakes took us to 1974 and to the partition. I wish that the only mistakes were made by the Turkish Cypriot side but that's not the case – Greek Cypriots side too made these mistakes. We must discuss these things knowing that since 1963 there is an abnormal status quo and that 1974 brought in more complications and we must find an egalitarian solution… This could be a democratic republic…. Both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots must discuss this…"
(ULUS IRKAD – 4.6.2017)
Photo: Father Shukru Redif and 16 year old son Shefik still "missing" from Paphos…
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 30th of July 2017, Sunday.
The article was published in Turkish in Yenichagh newspaper and also on my pages in the Yenidüzen newspaper on the 8th of June 2017… The link to the article: