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!