Cyprus

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Cyprus A TIME TO REMEMBER Experience cautions us that irreparable damage could be done by those who somehow seem to regard Cyprus as a dazzling intellectual challenge and fail to put human faces behind the issues. Of one thing we can be sure: They will not be around when their ill-conceived paper glory is blown away in the storm that is bound to follow. It has been 35 years since the stationing on the island of a UN peace-keeping force that could prevent neither a secret invasion by Greece nor the continuation of the entire range of faits accomplis created by force over the next 11 years. KORKMAZ HAKTANIR Founding Member of the Cyprus Foundation It was September, still warm in daytime, but a welcome cool descended on the central plain by nightfall. The window panes had cracks in them and there were bullet holes on the walls. The house was on what used to be the northern edge of the Turkish quarter. No one had lived on the second floor since it had come under gunfire from a tall and ugly building down the street occupied by Greek Cypriots. I was the first tenant after many years. When I began, in this way, to live in Northern Cyprus more than twenty years ago, my neighbor was an elderly lady who had not seen the sea for eight years after 1963. In the afternoon, she sat on the porch in the shade of the lemon tree in her garden and watched over her grandchildren. Nalan haným and her family had survived those traumatic years in caves, in tents and in enclaves into which Turkish Cypriots had been squeezed, leaving behind loved ones, homes and property, and a peaceful life. She always felt living on an island without a glimpse of the Mediterranean around her had been the worst punishment of all. This experience alone seemed to symbolize in her mind the unforgotten fears, abuse, desperation and isolation of those years. She recalled how she had ventured to the northern shore and stared at the sea for the first time after so many years, feeling the cool breeze on her face. The policy of doing away with Turkish Cypriots was by that time being pursued through severe economic sanctions, this time to squeeze them out of the island. She was then, like the rest of her people, still a hostage in her own homeland.

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