Four Turkish Cypriots explain why they do not celebrate November 15th

City Free Press, member of the Sigmalive group, posted an article hosting the opinions of four Turkish Cypriots on the Unilateral Declaration of Independence on November 15th. 

You can read the original article here

Below you can read the remarks translated in English.  

 

Sami özuslu, Journalist:

I never attend such nationalist celebrations. Cypriots had problems because of nationalism; both Turkish nationalism and Greek nationalism. All troubles are caused by nationalist ideas and demands.
Greek Cypriots are members of the EU, which is a huge union of peoples,but Greek nationalism is still powerful. Nationalism is strong in the Turkish Cypriot community too.
Instead of living together with our differences, Cypriots are living separately, despite the many similarities.
As a federal solution supporter, I don’t like to join such ceremonies, if I don’t have to due to my duties.

Kemal Baykalli, Business Consultant and activist, member of UniteCyprusNow:

 I never attend any parade that underlines nationalistic discourse and troubled history. I understand that for some Turkish Cypriots it is a sign of their existence and embrace as such, I am of the opinion that we should celebrate things that unite us not divide us. Being a Cypriot unites us. A possibility of living in a united island, appreciating our cultural diversities and building a united country for our children unites us.

The problem of nationalisms in Cyprus is that they need each other because they feed each other. I have heard many Turkish Cypriots pointing out the Greek flags (not Cypriot) all over the places, or Republic of Cyprus embracing the Greek national anthem and similar practices as the reason why they feel closer to the symbols and practices of Turkishness. And vice versa.  
The German speaking Swiss embrace their own Swiss flag and not the German one. German speaking Austrian feel Austrian and not German. In Cyprus, however, why do many feel more attached to other countries than our own beautiful Cyprus?
I do not celebrate parades that promote division and enmities. Because I believe in working together to build a common and united island where our children become multilingual, environmentally sensitive, open minded and embrace critical thinking as global citizens.


Okan Dagli, Doctor and activist, member of UniteCyprusNow :

Since the foundation of the TRNC I have never participated in any kind of celebration. It is not a radical move. On the contrary, it is quite ordinary among Turkish Cypriots who support the federation, not to participate in any kind of celebration that can negatively impact the idea of TCs and GCs sharing a common land.
State officials of the TRNC hold receptions on national days but to a large extent these receptions or celebrations are only supported by those pro-TRNC and anti-federalists. There are instances when pro-federation people hold office and still in that case you can see that most of the elected or appointed officials tend to find excuses not to participate.
Personally, I have never participated in any celebrations for the foundation of TRNC even when I was serving as an MP. On the contrary, on November 15th people supporting peace use the day to raise their critique on the status quo without delving into nationalism. Unfortunately, GCs use a lot of nationalist rhetoric and this is not very helpful. GCs must be more innovative in their language when they are criticising days associated with division.
This is the major difference between the TC pro-solution people and the GC pro-solution people. In GCs I see that there is a loyalty to the state despite  knowing that it does not serve all of its citizens. However, they do not engage in such a critical stance. For us, despite the political legitimacy of the TRNC, we try to show a civic disobedience for these instances. GC pro-solution people should also consider ways of showing what they really want politically rather than remaining silent against the state-led organisations which may have exclusionary practices.


Esra Aygin, Journalist and activist, member of UniteCyprusNow:

I don’t attend celebrations because for me there is nothing to celebrate. The TRNC was declared unilaterally on lands that were taken by force. It was also a step that made a lot of harm to Turkish Cypriots. A number of UN resolutions followed the unilateral Declaration of Independence and Turkish Cypriots were pushed into further isolation. The nationalists sell this UDI as an achievement, a victory but in fact all it did was to further isolate Turkish Cypriots and harm the prospects for the unification of Cyprus. If we want peace in this country we have to see the events of the past in the correct light, face them and not be scared to tell the truth on both sides of the island!

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Yilmaz said:

    Didnt Turki sh Cypriots try this before and Greek Cypriots said no.wake up guy s
    Greeks wants to ruleand control us

  2. ETHEM DURAK. said:

    Nationalism started by the Greek. Not by the TURKS.. EOKA was Fighting the ENGLİSH but they started to shoot the TURKS..So these Guys they should be honest and stop blaming the TURKS and 15 November.In 1974 I know well, the TURKİSH Troops They have no Ammunition..There guns were empty..The ammunition have distributed on the landing beach…So excuses given are not authentic…After GEEKS Fired the war started..May I ask how many of these guys are there. How about the rest…Did you not see the Crowd attend the celebration..?

  3. Sotiris Stavvy Georgiou said:

    They were fighting the British not English whilst the TmT smuggled weapons onto the island honesty goes both ways not sure what your going on about guns being empty Mr Durak Turkey invaded using the then up to date US supplied weapons. Makarios abandoned Enosis early in the fight against the British instead wanting Independence …the invasion ended in August so what are you on about November 14 empty guns etc? Both EOKA and TmT committed atrocities even against their own left wingers. But conveniently by people like you denying that the TmT even existed…..move on and stop talking rubbish the rightist nationalists on both sides were as bad as each other I’am Orthodox Cypriot not Greek.what does after the Geeks fired the war started what nonsense the invasion started off fighting the GCs fighting with inferior weapons and numbers silly person.

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