Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Arif Hasan Tahsin - a Cyprus History of the 50s and 60s by a former TMT commander

Spoken in Turkish with English subtitles superimposed over the Greek subtitles which were the basis of the translation - the history outlined is informed by a long term view spanning many decades of Cyprus history by a former leader of the TMT (Turkish Resistance Organisation) which was created in 1958 to counter the Greek Cypriot demands for self-determination meaning union with Greece and the corresponding Turkish Cypriot insistence on partition. The interview provides a brief outline of the relationship of the Turkish Cypriots with the Republic of Turkey which invaded the island in 1974 following the short-lived coup by the Greek Junta which collapsed as a result of that invasion. A brief analysis is also provided of geopolitical developments following WW2 and the relationship with Britain, the US and the Soviet Union, primarily focusing on the period 1955 - 65.

Broadcast by the Biz Emeis bi-lingual program by Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation on 22nd March 2011.

A full translation of the spoken content into English (from the Greek subtitles) is available below.

See also the wikipedia item, "Cypriot intercommunal violence" article here, which provides the information that:
"Arif Hasan Tahsin was a Turkish Cypriot who joined the Colonial police, became a member of Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) and eventually rose as the number two in hierarchy of the Turkish Cypriots."

This same video, uploaded to the YouTube profile of Huseyin Halil who conducted the interview, spoken in Turkish, with the original Greek subtitles is available at:

Arif Hasan Tahsin

Readers of this item are urged to also look at the very considerable archive of other videos available at that profile.

(The video with Greek subtitles is embedded at the end of this blog item)

Good evening dear viewers. We are together again in another program about clearly Cypriot subjects. We will begin tonight's program with a very interesting and informative report from Mr Arif Hasan Tahsin. There is no Turkish Cypriot who does not know of him. He is a person with very noteworthy knowledge about the Cyprus issue. Our journalist Huseyin who made this interview  had to edit it and shorten it otherwise a single program would not be sufficient to hold all his knowledge and experience. Arif Hasan Tahsin made some truly noteworthy assessments in relation to the past and the present of Cyprus. I will not speak longer so we can go and hear directly from him.
Arif Hasan Tahsin, known to the Turkish speakers of Cyprus as Arif Hodja (teacher), is a retired primary school teacher. As he says himself he is one of the Cypriots who had closely followed every phase of the Cyprus issue from its beginning after the second world war, since which time he was at the centre of certain developments whose lives were stolen by the Cyprus issue from its beginning.
 "A Summary of our recent past" - "There can be no rosegarden in the middle of the dirt" - "A Cyprus history" - Arif Hodja has written many books and continues to write as a columnist with the newspaper Afrika, so here now is a brief summary by Arif Hodja of the Cyprus problem.
(AH) When we look at the Ottoman Empire, we see that there is no country which was under Ottoman rule where, following the Ottomans' departure people were able to live together or which progressed. When we look again, where Greeks coexisted with Turks, the one [group] just had to annihilate the other.
Only on Cyprus they were not able to wipe out each other, and that because the British were here. There are a few [Turks] in Greece and also Greeks in Turkey. Despite the agreements however, Turkey does not miss a chance to expell the Greeks. This unfortunately is a historical reality and it has unfortunately also affected Cyprus.
The Greek Cypriots, to whom we usually refer as Greek speakers though I sometimes avoid doing that because there were also the Linovamvaki [Crypto-Christian Moslems of Cyprus] who spoke Greek, with some of them having adopted the Orthodox religion and others became Moslems. At this stage I will omit the terms Greek speaker and Turkish speaker without this meaning that I accept that this part belongs to the Greeks or to the Turks. 
No, the island belongs to the Cypriots and the rest is all lies which are a matter of interests which have sowed enmity between the two groups. 
This situation was in the interest of the English. In 1936 the then Governor of Cyprus sent a letter to London saying that with the passing of time the topic of 'enosis' would weaken and its place would be taken by Cypriot nationalism. "In order to extend our presence on Cyprus", he wrote "we must delay as much as possible the creation of a Cypriot nationalism". Relations were created between the two communities with Greece and Turkey and Greek and Turkish nationalism was imported into the country. 
Basically this nationalism affected certain small groups of people which were imposed by force on the two sides, dividing people into Greeks and Turks. People were forced under those pressures to follow those small groups. Besides, that is the norm in such situations. A clandestine organisation can impose itself on a society, however much it may react, through the use of force, killing or ill-treating people. The society is coerced and no one can speak against the organisation. You see people who had initially been against, to suddenly appear to be extreme nationalists. Those are the rules of the game which was also played out in Cyprus.
We must however also consider the following. The English gave Greece the Dodecanese, Crete, they created Greece. After each defeat Greece took over territory as if it had won. All these things were the work of the English. They had furthermore married an English princess to the son of the King of Greece. If it would have benefited the English would it not also have given Cyprus to Greece? And yet, there is movement for the creation of an organisation which would try to achieve 'Enosis'. 
Let us not forget however that in agreement with Stalin they had exiled the rebels. We must not forget that the winners of the second world war, England, America and the Soviet Union had carved up the world. Churchill and Stalin divided, in the absence of the Americans, their own areas.
According to this arrangement, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and the Middle East would belong to the English sphere of influence. America on the other hand had created such a great military power that it could no longer withdraw its army and disband it. It wanted to take the Middle East from the English and place it under its own control. In the conflict which followed the Americans tried to use Cyprus against England. 
In the meantime Greece had replied negatively to the demand by the Cyprus Church for the creation of an organisation which would fight against the English. The reason was because the areas of interest had been determined and Cyprus belonged to England and if they wanted it would give Cyprus to Greece. 
NATO had sections for 'special war' [Gladio] which were created by America with England and which were funded by America. Their aim was to hide guns which in case of Soviet occupation could be used by clandestine resistance groups. The Greek section created EOKA. Later, the corresponding Turkish section took under its influence the TMT which had in the meantime been created. 
The whole thing began as a conflict between England and America. America pushed Greece and England put Turkey in the middle. Later England and America sorted things out. 
At the  NATO summit in Paris, in 1957, Eisenhower suggested to the presidents and the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey the creation of a small new independent state. The one wanted enosis and the other partition and he suggested an independent state. Instead of thinking about it they nearly clashed. 
In 1958 the matter of self-determination was again raised. Whenever the matter of self-determination was raised America would maintain a neutral position. However the last time the matter was raised America voted against Greece. After the summit Zorlu approached Averof. Averof described the scene as follows: "I saw Zorlu coming towards me smiling. I thought of punching him twice in the face".
That is where the talks began in February 1957 in Zurich and then in London the matter was closed. As is generally said, these were the games of the Americans and the English.
OK, but if there were not the preconditions, if the communities were not predisposed, would they maybe begin to kill each other?
Therefore, there was a vacuum in the relations of the two communities in order for the English and Americans to be able to become involved with the result that there were so many murders and for the two communities to clash.  

The First years of the Republic of Cyprus
The contention that the Cypriot people did not accept the Republic of Cyprus, its independence, is false. I don't know about EOKA, but the TMT which I was a member of, and also many others naturally, believed that the Republic of Cyprus would endure. No one told us that our aim was partition and that we would dissolve the Republic. So much so that while the two communities had the right to keep their English citizenship, so many of us had trusted the new state that very few felt the need to keep their status as English subjects. We had such great confidence that we all took out loans. Myself, my father, my brothers, all our fellow-villagers who had arable land took out loans in order to dig wells, to put in water turbines, and the same was happening in other parts of Cyprus. 
I remember that in older days the Turkish Cypriots had difficulties in selling their produce. I remember how my father had to go to Nicosia and beg to sell a sac of almonds to the traders. Many times they would not be bought. The produce would remain unsold at home. But then sales had started to happen. Moreover I remember that the period was marked by the beginning of some intensive cultivation by both sides.  
There was also however a reaction against the Republic. There was the conflict between Makarios and a group of people, and of Denktash with another group of people whom Denktash had led. 
On the other hand the Turkish ambassador was intensely against any move against the Republic of Cyprus. 
There was however a small group of people in each of the communities who did not embrace the Republic of Cyprus. 
I do not believe that after independence Makarios still pursued Enosis. However, because he had signed for independence, the supporters of Enosis declared him to be an enemy of Enosis and consequently he was forced to make statements in favour of Enosis. Until 1967/68. 
After that he started to state that there can be no Enosis and that he would work for that which was 'realisable'. I believe that what Makarios had aimed for was not Enosis. He only wanted to reduce the rights which had been granted to the Turkish Cypriots. 
(Huseyin) We are talking about the 13 points.   
There was the issue of separate municipalities, the issue of the need for a separate majority of the Turkish Cypriot community on certain matters, the taxation ... 
In reality agreement had been achieved on these topics.
However, because of the information which Georgadjis was providing to Makarios in relation to TMT Makarios did not sign the agreement. When he did not sign the agreement and the 13 points were published that which followed happened.
If you ask me how it happened, I will tell you that I don't know.

(Huseyin) How did you experience the events?
At that time I was at Fota. While we should have been informed that in Nicosia the guns had been dug-out, that things were dangerous and for an alarm to be issued, none of these things had happened, and we had no idea about what was happening.
While they were taking out the guns and distributing them to left and right  ... there were armed people circulating in the Greek Cypriot quarter ... I learned of these things many years after 1963/64, that is that on the 15th or 30th November the guns had been dug-out in Nocosia, that the guns were given to people that were not correctly trained ... and that the same thing was happening on both sides.
Both sides were equally to blame for things which followed, since both sides had been giving guns to people who were not trained.
Someone pressed the trigger, I don't know on which of the side that was ... the other side one way or another was ready ... that is how the bad things happened and we ended up where we did.

The intercommunal clashes and the Inonu letter
During the first days of the armed clashes no one could remain on the other side. Rafik-Bey and Niyazi-Bey remained ... and what happened? Were they able to keep their places? They were not able to. The one was the second in command of the police and the other the commander of the gendarmerie. They were not killed, but they were removed from their positions. But we can not claim that our own people did not wish to withdraw.
There is in relation to this the letter by Ismet-Pasa [Mustafa İsmet İnönü]. Dated 9th March 1964. Before the decision was taken, on 4th March, Ismet-Pasa had made an agreement with the English and with the United Nations, that the Republic of Cyprus was the state which was created in 1960. In order for the Republic of Cyprus to function the Turkish Cypriot state employees should return to their posts, and the members of parliament, and state officials, and that people should return to the villages they had fled from. That is how constitutional order would be restored.
After that agreement Ismet-Pasa sent Dr Küçük a long letter which you can read in my book, telling him the Turkish Cypriots should return to their duties. We learnt of this many years later when Denktash wrote his memoirs. Denktash did not however write that agreement had been reached. This became known when the English archives were published. In other words that there had been an agreement between Ismet-Pasa and England.
On 10th March Dr Küçük sent a reply letter to Ismet-Pasa saying that "we will not return, it is dangerous, they will kill us ... if however you insist you must grant us the right of asylum ... so that as many Turkish Cypriots as wish to leave Cyprus should be able to do so. If however we do take it upon ourselves to leave what will become of our cause? We will lose our cause ..."
What was the cause he was speaking of? This was likely to have been that of partition.
Within the context of the agreement previously reached, America was making preparations to intervene on the island and was in consultation with the English. The English told America that they should not be in a hurry to intervene because Dr Küçük wanted partition and that they would not return to the Republic. In the end it became understood that there was not to be a return and that is where things remained.
If our people had listened to Ismet-Pasa the situation would have ended there. Naturally this was not something which Makarios had agreed to. That was however the agreement between two of the guarantor powers with America and the United Nations which our people had made irrelevant in order that they should not return to the Republic and in order to achieve Partition.

TMT is placed entirely under the control of Turkey 
 I can not know the extent to which certain others may have had different instructions, however according to the orders I had from TMT the struggle we had been engaged in after those events had happened was not in order to cause Turkey to intervene, but for our autonomy, and that we had to act accordingly. 
I don't know if anything had happened which we had not been told about, because the organisation was placed under the Special War Office in Turkey. The Turkish Cypriots however had never been able to communicate with the Turkish officers. At some point they rebelled and some of them went and betrayed their colleagues ... Bairaktaris organised special teams and opposed Kemal Semi until he was expelled from the organisation. In other words they divided us into two ... our own stupidity ...
On the other side there was also division with EOKA B and I don't know what else ... 
Once they had separated out those who believed that Cypriots should rule, they used the others who were opposed to Kemal Semi who had led the movement. Kemal Semi was the commander of Nicosia. He never allowed the Turkish officers to give instructions to the Turkish Cypriots.
In 1964 I was relieved of my duties and in my place they brought officers from Turkey. I felt that they would also get rid of Kemal Semi. I had never hid that I did not want Turkey to come to rule us or for us to be placed under orders from the Turkish officers. My position was known. From the position I held previously I had under my command a powerful armed group. When they got rid of me no one opened their mouth. Lets leave all that however, there is considerable dirt ...
In summary things happened as follows. They got rid of Kemal Semi and none of his close colleagues opened their mouth. I had warned all of them. I had told them that all those things were happening so they could get rid of Kemal Semi and that they had to be careful because after they get rid of Kemal Semi they would also get clipped and that after that the Turks would take everything in their hands. Unfortunately they didn't listen to me. In that way Turkey in 1964 placed the armed forces under its control, whereas previously the armed forces had been under [Turkish] Cypriot control. 
The Turkish officers had no right of contact with the armed forces since these were controlled by [Turkish] Cypriots. In 1964 they made things as they wanted them to be. They brought many officers from Turkey and thus subjugated the Turkish Cypriots. 
The [Greek] coup and the invasion of 1974   
That which happened in 1974 was expected. It is true that EOKA B was created by [the junta of mainland] Greece who had sent Grivas to Cyprus, and Turkey had no objection about this. The given scenario on our side was that they would assassinate Makarios, something they had attempted to do a number of times before the coup, when they fired at his helicopter etc. They would assasinate Makarios and put Clerides in his place who would sign the agreement which Makarios refused to sign. That is what was being whispered on our side. I don't know the extent to which that scenario was real. The reality is that there were attempts against Makarios.
Suddenly, while we were not expecting it, the coup happened. 
 It was clear that Turkey would intervene.
They thought that Ecevit was a true pacifist, that he was a true leftist, that he was full of love for humanity. They thought he would intervene to restore constitutional order and that the two communities would thus be rid of the problem and would not in future easily quarrel. 
Things however did not happen like that. We saw what the outcome was.

The Soviet support of Turkey
I will tell you something else you don't know. It is generally said that Turkey invaded Cyprus with America's support. The first invasion happened with the support of the Soviets. I don't know the reason why. It is however clear that when Turkey decided to intervene it contacted the Soviets and the ambassador of the Soviet Union asked the then President of the Republic of Turkey whether Cyprus would continue after the invasion to be a member of the movement of non-aligned nations. When he received a positive answer, he gave his approval for the intervention. 
Strange things happened.
Turkey did not have sufficient fuel for its aircraft. It asked Bulgaria to help. Someone who worked for the Turkish embassy in Bulgaria wrote a book in which he describes this. He says that the ambassador was given instructions by Ankara to ask the Bulgarians for fuel for the aircraft. The ambassador was puzzled. How could he ask for something like that and not be shown the door? He met the foreign minister of Bulgaria and conveyed Ankara's request to him. He asked him to wait a while, and he must have communicated with the Soviets and when he returned he told the ambassador to tell Ankara to send a petrol tanker. The ambassador informed Ankara and Ankara told him that they should provide the ship. Turkey did not have a petrol tanker to transport the fuel. This time the ambassador was really worried. He conveyed the request which was accepted.
This was a clear signal of support. I don't know the reason.
(Huseyin) You didn't learn the reason?
That is with reference to the first invasion.
After that America became involved. 

The Turkish army is a NATO army
(America) told Turkey that it can land as much force as they want. It is not a secret that the Turkish army is a NATO army and that Turkey is here as a NATO army. 
I don't know if you read this in the Afrika newspaper, but when the Prime Minister or President of Turkey was Turgut Ozal he had a Cypriot advisor, Boulent Semiler. He told us about the event and allowed us to publish it.
They had visited America and met President Bush, the father. Bush said to Ozal: "You warned me and I did not invade Iraq. It was a very poignant warning and I thank you for that. I would like to repay you. You can ask me for anything you want and I will do it for you."
Ozal answered him saying: "I want you to save me from the Cyprus problem. I do not want to leave on Cyprus even the 650 soldiers. I am ready to withdraw the entire army but just save me from this torture."
The Secretary General of NATO, and later Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whose name escapes me just now, intervened saying: "Turgut note my words" ... he spoke like that because he knew Turgut Ozal from the days when he had worked in America. "You" he said, "are not in Cyprus to protect the Turkish Cypriots. Your army is a NATO army and it is there for NATO. If you want to withdraw it tell us and we will bring other forces from Australia, Canada and other countries."
In other words when they close their eyes to the illegalities done here by Turkey, they do it because of their own interests. You must naturally know that the guarantor countries have also guaranteed the English bases. Lets not forget that.

The same video as above, is available at the Youtube profile of Huseyin Halil who conducted the interview, spoken in Turkish, with Greek subtitles. 

Readers of this item are urged to also look at the very considerable archive of other videos available at that profile.

Arif Hasan Tahsin


In view of the above fascinating interview with Arif Hasan Tahsin, it would be very illuminating if someone would be so kind as to make a translation into English of the comments by him during the following discussion in the NTV discussion about the significance of the recent massive Turkish Cypriot demonstrations against Turkey's Cyprus policies. Posting a link to such a translation into English in the comments section below, should one become available, would be particularly appreciated.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Şener Elcil KTOS - Turkish Cypriots demos planned at the EU against Turkeys Cyprus policy

Spoken in Turkish with Greek subtitles - Secretary General of the KTOS Turkish Cypriot Teachers' Union Şener Elcil provided a retrospective analysis about the massive demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots against Turkey's policies on Cyprus, explained the existence of plans for further demonstrations in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, possibly on 25.03.2011, and also outlined the existence of plans for future actions at the European Union.

CyBC bi-lingual program, Biz Emeis 15/03/2011.

See also:

"Another massive Turkish Cypriot demonstration 02.03.2011 - a blow to Turkey"

"The ‘problem of Turkey’ in Cyprus by LEVENT KÖKER"

Translation of the interview in the video above into English was made from the Greek subtitles:

Introductions: In the studio today we have a very significant guest, Mr Şener Elcil, Secretary General of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers Union  KTOS who will be talking with our journalists Christodoulos and Huseyin about the events which are taking place in the north in relation to the demonstrations about existence and survival of the Turkish Cypriot community

(Huseyin) At the demonstration on 28th January the Turkish Cypriots had filled Inonu Square near the Kyrenia Gate. During the demonstration of 2nd March the Square was spilling over with people, thus giving the best possible answer to those who spoke about the Turkish Cypriots as a "handfull of people". In order to assess that demonstration and what has followed we now have with us the General Secretary of KTOS, Mr Şener Elcil.
How do you assess the demonstration?
(SE) The second demonstration about existence and social survival of the Turkish Cypriot community was held on 2nd March and in our estimation there was more enthusiasm with more people participating in it and it was of a better quality than the first one (on January 28th). The slogans, banners and speeches were, I believe, more impressive. In the time which has passed since then there has been no reaction from the Turkish government. On the contrary we see a rhetoric developing that allegedly the organisers of the demonstration do not have any preconceptions against Turkey's policies. Beyond that, the other day there was in the south, in Anatolia near Anamur, a ceremony  during which the foundation stone was laid for the Alakioprou Dam. This was not a chance happening, it happened in a planned way. During this ceremony Mr Erdogan and the officials of his government made statements praising the Turkish Cypriot community. This shows that in contrast to the first demonstration, they now approach the situation in a more mature and careful manner, trying to show the actions of the Turkish Cypriots in a positive light. They had invited officials of our leadership to Turkey for closed-door meetings on what measures should be taken to extinguish the fire which had been lit.
With reference to the demonstration, we did not have any problems. The demonstration took place in a very mature fashion. We are democratic organisations and we want to continue our struggle to the end in a completely democratic framework. If however our officials and also the government of Turkey ignore this time also the reactions of the Turkish Cypriots by the end of these mobilisations it will no longer be possible to prevent the outbreak of public rage. The reason I say this is that we react individually to something which is expected of the other side to take into account our reactions. Speaking about large totals, and this is the meaning of democracy - the people are called out into the squares for a demonstration or a rally. If the other side continues to behave as if there is no problem, that is when a problem arises. Consequently, in subsequent mobilisations, if the same mentality prevails, if the peoples' reaction continues to be ignored, then people will not tolerate it and we will not be able to hold back the peoples' reactions. People are really full of anger, but the other side does not take this reaction on board.

(Christodoulos) Before the 2nd and larger demonstration which took place on 2nd March there had been threatening statements and reactions by Turkey, and specifically by Mr Erdogan. It seems as if these created a boomerang effect. These threats, these harsh statements he made resulted in half the population attending the demonstration which happened. As you now told us, Turkey is trying with a different approach - you told us about the transportation of water etc - is he trying with his statements to throw ash in the eyes of the Turkish Cypriots? In some way to calm them down, to placate them in order to stop them going out onto the streets?
(SE) That is a correct appraisal. An effort is being made to downgrade this reaction. In our opinion they will take some initiatives of an economic nature, such as to bring water from Turkey. They will take certain measures to relax somewhat the measures they are imposing. The aim is to reduce this political reaction. Besides, they have from the start adopted the rhetoric that this was an economic and not a political reaction which was being put forward by the Turkish Cypriots. This was not a correct rhetoric. Consequently the tactics being followed are intended to put out the fire which was lit and to deflect the reaction by the Turkish Cypriots. That is what they will pursue and that is why they have followed these tactics from the start. In other words they developed the rhetoric that this was all about a marginal group, that the largest part of the Turkish Cypriot community do not think in this way, that allegedly the Turkish Cypriot community thinks differently. These tactics hark back to the mentality of divide and rule as it had been implemented by the British. As helpers of the British, they use the same methods.
The packages involved and the political impositions are still in force, and nothing has changed. They tricked us during the decades of the 50s, 60s, 70s ... they did the same during the decades of the 80s, 90s and 2000 with the Annan Plan and the procedure which followed. Now again they are trying to fool us. We believe that the majority of the people see this. The Turkish Cypriots in the north have ended up being a minority in our own home. We know the real aim of Turkey and of the Turkish leadership. We know they are implementing the policy of absorbing us and assimilating us. That is why there has been the uprising by the community which is now waiting.
The trade union platform will brief the community in the next few days about the strategy we will follow.

(Huseyin) Whom are the messages which were delivered during the demonstration aimed at? There are many contentions regarding this.
(SE) We prepared an announcement which consistes of 13 points. These contain all our demands. The primary aim involves our self-governance. We do not want to be hostages of Turkey. This is crystal clear. Secondly, we demand a solution based on the resolutions of the United Nations. We want a bizonal bicommunal solution. Let us talk about practical matters - we in the north have been reduced to a minority. We demand that there should urgently take place a population census in the north with the presence of foreign observers. We do not know what our total population is, and so there must be a count. When we get the final figures there will then need to be a proper regulation of the fields of education, health and other sectors. The most important message we wish to convey through the demonstration consists of two aspects: the one is that we want our self-governance, and the second is that we want a solution based on federation as soon as possible.

(Huseyin) What will follow now? You have given leeway until 25th March. What will happen after that? Will this movement also find expression in the 'Parliament'?
(SE) We continue our demonstrations. The strikes in the "courts" and other "authorities" have been continuing for over 50 days now. At 12 today there is a meeting of the platform to decide whether the strikes will be extended to the electricity authority. In the coming days the north may be plunged into darkness. The day we had our demonstration "the government" took the decision that they will continue with the privatisations. This means they completely ignored the demonstration. This means they have not taken on board the demands of the people. As a result it is inevitable that the platform will organise a further demonstration. The platform will decide whether the schools will support the demonstration. We will however continue our demonstrations until 25th March. If by then "the government" does not withdraw the packages, or does not resign, then the measures will be stepped up. An issue will also arise about whether there should be more mass demonstrations in front of the building of the " Parliament".
We are also considering transferring our demonstrations to the international level. We are in process of organising meetings at the end of this month with institutions of the European Union, firstly with the Enlargement Commissioner, the President of the European Parliament and the Education Commissioner. We are also planning a demonstration outside the European Parliament to protest Turkey's policies on Cyprus. We are making relevant enquiries in order to obtain permission for this demonstration. We are also arranging meetings with representatives of the parties at the European Parliament - with the social democrats, the conservatives of the European People's Party, the left wing and the greens. We want to have demonstrations in Europe because since 2004 Cyprus has become EU territory. In the north the European Acquis Communautaire  does not apply and is suspended. We Turkish Cypriots are however European citizens of the Union. It is not acceptable for the European Union to be ignoring our existence and to allow our destruction consequent to the policies being pursued by Turkey on Cyprus. Among our demands is that the Acquis Communautaire should apply in the north and for Europe to play an effective role because we also are European citizens. If we consider the north to be European territory, then the European Union must protect us through their mechanisms. If however they do not consider us to be European territory let them say that to us clearly and we will then have to consider what we will do. We will place these matters on the agenda at our own demonstrations which will continue.

(Huseyin) What was the morale of the people you spoke to, after the demonstration?
(SE) People continue to show their reactions. If we call on the people again, they will come. If their reaction however is ignored by the officials who continue to act with an attitude of 'we are doing the right things and we will continue' the reaction and rage of the people will be greater. It will not be possible for us then to hold them back. This is what we are trying to stress. It is constructive when democratic organisations convey their reactions through democratic means. If however there is not mutuality, then there comes a moment when the reaction exceeds democratic confines. That is what we are seeing happening nowadays in Egypt, Libya, in Tunisia and in all the Arab world. This reaction is caused when the leaders refuse to hear the voice of the people and insist on doing their own thing. Here we have a similar situation and we are facing a similar situation. Apathy to the reaction of the people causes even bigger reactions.

(Charalambos) Another very relevant factor in my opinion, is that at the same time there have been similar demonstrations also happening abroad, by Turkish Cypriots. This is a development which, in my opinion the platform itself did not adequately use.  I consider this a very positive element - something which I feel, I may be wrong on this, something which in my opinion could have been used much more by the platform itself -  there were demonstrations in Turkey itself, in England. A development which the platform could have exploited better.
(SE) With the exception of 'the south' in Cyprus, demonstrations did take place by Turkish Cypriots in Turkey, in London, and in other places. There were demonstrations, press releases were sent to the media. If we do want a solution in Cyprus, if we really do want a federation, then it is not only the Turkish Cypriots who should be taking to the streets. When 70,000 people out of a total of 130,000 take to the streets this creates a world record. In Egypt there are 80 million people and only 1 million people took part in the demonstrations. In other words, one in 80. While among 130,000 Turkish Cypriots there were 70,000 who took to the streets. What is very significant for us is that voices should be raised in favour of a solution, for the reunification of the island, the desire for a federation and a solution on the basis of the parametres of the United Nations. That is what we expect the Greek Cypriots to do. If they stand at our side we believe a much stronger message will be provided in favour of a solution.
At this point I would like to tell you that the dependence of the Turkish Cypriots constitutes a mistake on the part of the Greek Cypriots. As long as we are isolated by the administration, as long as we have difficulties in exrecising some of our rights as citizens then the more dependent we become on Turkey. It is a situation we have been experiencing from 1963 until today. So I would also like to pass a message to the Greek Cypriot community. They must accept us as politically equal Cypriots.

(Chistodoulos) We agree on this entirely, and I clarify this point and stress that I agree entirely by saying that the Greek Cypriots must stand by the Turkish Cypriots in a more dynamic way. I would however like to ask my friend Şener a question - how could they, or how would you Turkish Cypriots want the Greek Cypriots to mobilise themselves? What is that which would make you say "Bravo, now we feel good because the Greek Cypriots are at our side"?  What is the message you would like to send out, through this program if you like, to the Greek Cypriots that "we want you to do this for us"? For this country, not just for us?
(SE) Until 2004, during the period of the Annan plan, we had five large demonstrations. Our basic aim was to achieve a solution of the Cyprus problem, a federal solution and the accession of the whole of Cyprus to the European Union. During that period there was no reaction on the part of the Greek Cypriot side. There was no mass demonstration. At this time we in the north are trying to achieve, as soon as possible, a federal solution. Our demonstrations are fundamentally taking place for political and not economic reasons.
In our area it is the politics which create the economy. In this country it is the politics and the solution which determine the future. The economy depends on these. When we raise our voices in the north, when we mobilise tens of thousands of people in our squares, a simultaneous reaction in the  south would give us more strength. This would show the whole world that the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots want the reunification of our island, that we don't want armies and armaments on the island. That we don't want to have armies and armaments  on the island. That we want to abilish the borders. That we want to live together in brotherhood on this island. These are for us significant messages.
So that I am not misunderstood, I am not asking of the Greek Cypriots that they should participate in our mobilisations. In any case, Erdogan is trying to throw mud at us saying that the Greek Cypriots are funding us and that they are taking part in our demonstrations and that that is why they are so massive.
What we are saying is that in order for there to be a solution there must be an uprising on both sides. One nice proverb says: the dove of peace can not fly on one wing. It needs two wings. If the Turkish Cypriots are one wing the other wing is the Greek Cypriots. We have to fly this bird together. This is the message I wish to convey.
On the contrary I see that in the south they are involved in the elections.  The electioneering dominates the atmosphere.  The elections will come and go, but they will always be there. This is a process which harms all of Cyprus.

(Huseyin) If there were no elections now, do you believe that what you are saying could happen? Do you believe something like that could happen? Lets talk openly. You have contacts with the Greek Cypriot unions ... what answer do you get from them?
(SE) The Greek Cypriot unions are detached from politics. We see that they maintain strong relations with the political parties and they are involved in politics under the guidance of the political parties. Things are different in the Turkish Cypriot community. We as unions have our own decision making mechanisms and we have our effect on the political parties. So it is not the political parties which determine the policies.
(Huseyin) This is apparent. The political parties follow the trade union platform.
(SE) With the political parties getting the votes and entering parliament nothing changes. The Cyprus problem will continue to exist. As long as the Cyprus problem exists all Cypriots will continue to suffer. The Cyprus problem must be solved as soon as possible for the wound to heal.

(Christodoulos) As we only have a few minutes left, I would like us to end with a message for the Greek Cypriots but also the Turkish Cypriots.
(SE) I believe that the Turkish Cypriot community is carrying out its duty. As unions we continue in a determined fashion to guide the Turkish Cypriot community towards peace and towards a solution and to cultivate the perception of our own ability to govern ourselves. The Greek Cypriot community must give the messages that would help us. When we, for example are involved in a demonstration, a mass demonstration in the south would be a great support to us. Something like that would show that all Cypriots want a federal solution and that they want to live together in brotherhood. For something like that to happen all the social partners, the society of citizens, the unions, the political parties must set up a common goal. They must put aside the competitiveness and work in the same direction. Our basic problem is the existence of the Cyprus problem. The solution will be of benefit to all Cypriots.

(Christodoulos) We hope everything will go very well. The Greek Cypriots must indeed stand more dynamically at the side of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots ... and I will say something else, even though I don't know how this will sound and how it will be understood ...  if certain Greek Cypriots show the same passion as they do about the issue of immigration and of the foreigners, whom they want to get rid of for their own political reasons ... if they showed half of that  passion for a true reconciliation then everything would be much better in this country. Many thanks.

(Huseyin) Many thanks. Are you planning any demonstrations for the 25th of March?
(SE) At this time we are still at the planning stage. There is transparency regarding the demonstrations which we have organised. People are informed accordingly. We do not intend to take decisions behind closed doors. We walk together with the people. The people will always be kept informed. Through the mass media you can all remain informed about everything.
(Huseyin) Thank you.

(Christodoulos) And this programme is always at your side. Many thanks.

See also:
"Sener Elcil - UN and EU officials turn blind eye to Turkey's settler policy in Cyprus"
Translation into English of CyBC 'Biz Emeis' bilingual program on 16/09/2010 of an interview with General Secretary of KTOS Sener Elcil. Mr Elcil  is also a member of the Executive Committee of ETUCE (European Trade Union Committee for Education) and is a founder member of "This Country is Ours" Movement in Cyprus.


See also:
 the English translation of an Interview (17th May 2010) with Izzet Izcan, Secretary General of the Turkish Cypriot political party "United Cyprus", about the outcome of the 'elections' in Turkish-occupied Cyprus in April 2010 which resulted in Dervis Eroglu taking over leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community from Mehmet Ali Talat.

"Izzet Izcan - Turkey threatens Cypriots with annihilation"


Turkish Cypriot Communal Survival Rally - 02.03.2011 - Toplumsal Varoluş Mitingi

Spoken in Turkish with Greek subtitles, this is a documentary by the bilingual "Κατω απο τον ιδιο Ουρανο - Ayni gokyuzu Altinda" program, about the largest ever peace and reunification demonstration by the Turkish Cypriot community held on 02.03.2011 - which was a follow up to the General Strike and the demonstration held on 28.01.2011 to protest the economic and immigration policies being imposed by Turkey on their community.

See also the photos and video on the blog post on 2nd March 2011: 
Another massive Turkish Cypriot demonstration 02.03.2011 - a blow to Turkey

For the previous background see also the video and English translation of the interview provided by one of the main organisers of the General Strike and demonstration, Mr Sener Elcil  as Secretary General of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers Union, and the inks provided at:


This item was broadcast on 10.02.2011 by the Cyprus Broadcasting  Corporation.

The spoken content of this documentary is in process of being translated into English, and will be provided here once that process is completed. when the task is completed.

The video provided below provides the news coverage from CyBC (Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation about the days events.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Another massive Turkish Cypriot demonstration 02.03.2011 - a blow to Turkey

Turkish Cypriots today 02.03.2011 staged a demonstration more massive than the one held on 28.01.2011and here - with an attendance this morning of between 50,000 and 70,000 people at Nicosia's Inonu Square, which represents an equivalent to 50 MILLION  Egyptians protesting at Tahrir Square (if one takes population numbers in proportion)!

But of course the mainstream media ... won't mention THIS demonstration! Any comments regarding the mainstream media's non-coverage of Turkish Cypriot MASSIVE demonstrations against Turkey? !

Strong support and solidarity is hereby expressed to the Jasmin Movement in Cyprus, and to all the thousands of people that were on the streets this morning, but also the fact that in addition to activities at the demonstration we had, through facebook, the first reports on the morning's events via Zeki Beşiktepeli's profile, with the following photo uploads:

And comments about the above photos received via:

An intersting sign.

Rough translation from top to bottom.

1. In the 1960 Republic of Cyprus
2. I have rights
3. I have an Identity
4. I have a Passport
5. Our money stolen by Turkey (TC = Turkiye Cumhuriyet)

Video of the security forces removing demonstrators of the Jasmine movement who were flying the Cyprus flag during the massive 50,000 to 70,000 people demonstration at Inonu Square in Turkish occupied Cyprus 02.03.2011 ...


More photos at:


... and for those who do have a Facebook profile ...


By Kıbrıs Türk Öğretmenler Sendikası