You Are Not a North Cyprus Girl

An open letter in response to Martina Cole’s recent article in Woman and Home Magazine, where she discusses her home in the north of Cyprus. My quotations are from Martina Cole’s 2012 Daily Mail article and her 2015 feature in Woman and Home magazine, (both concerning Cyprus) and from her Twitter account. I address her portrayal of Occupied Cyprus as a charmed land and a tourist destination.

My grandmother was a North Cyprus girl. Her village was as far north as you can get, in the Pentadaktilon Mountain range, North of Kyrenia. It is called Agios Amvrosios, (Saint Ambrose) and its local fruit is the apricot. She won’t ever see her village or her subsequent homes in Kyrenia and Famagusta again because she passed away in 2003, and although it was in 1974 that Turkish troops advanced into the north of Cyprus, refugee Cypriots are still powerless to reclaim their old territory and live in their own homes, forty-one years later.

Ms Cole, when you write of the north of Cyprus as a haven and a holiday destination, you give the green light to a political mess built on slaughter. You give credibility to a region so morally questionable, it’s still unrecognised as a republic by every country but Turkey itself. You speak of its “raw beauty,” and “think people haven’t really discovered it yet” but you yourself can hardly claim to have discovered the north of Cyprus when you display no awareness of its history. To be frank, nor is the north of Cyprus a place fit for tourist-led “discovery” and relish.

You say you’re a “North Cyprus girl at heart.” You’re not a North Cyprus girl. North Cyprus girls were dragged from their homes, they were separated from all their worldly belongings and banished from their villages. Strangers now live in, and claim to own, their houses. North Cyprus girls lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. They were gang-raped by Turkish soldiers. This happened to both Greek and Turkish-Cypriot girls, and they deserve recognition from the rest of the world. I understand that barbarous acts were committed on both sides, by both Turks and Cypriots, with Turkish, Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots falling victim. Time has passed and that the current inhabitants of the region are not to blame for this – no good can come of mindlessly begrudging the Turks who live in the north of Cyprus today, and we’d be much better off accepting a way to live on and rebuild this island together. But here I’m discussing the land and its status – and to act as though the Turkish rightfully and completely own the northern part of the island, to ignore and erase history as you have done with your flippant writing, is dangerous and offensive. It devalues the lives of those killed during the invasion, and it invalidates the fears and losses of the survivors (who still live, by the way. Forty-one years is not that long) and their families.

You write as though blood-soaked land is a superior paradise compared to the South of Cyprus because it has retained more of its natural features and original architecture. Do you have any idea why this is the case? Have you not noticed what else has been preserved; the bullet holes in walls of Northern Nicosia, for instance. Very big bullet holes, and not just a smattering, but hundreds. In No-Man’s Land, which you have neglected to mention at all, forty-one-year old washing hangs from  the lines because their Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot owners had to get up and run, or get shot in the head. You might enjoy the pretty quirk of a small bouquet or love-note pinned to the fencing on Salamis beach. You might not consider why it’s there. Exiled Cypriots often visit to leave these little tributes in sight of their old family homes and dormant possessions, and this fencing is as close as they can get. (Though the barbed wire might have already enlightened you as to this.) Areas like Varosha could be the quintessence of your holiday dream if Cypriots could return to it, and we might even see some progression with regards to peaceful living among north Cyprus’ current inhabitants – a step forward that would mean infinitely more than filling the site with luxury second homes. With regards to soldier-to-citizen ratio, the north of Cyprus is currently the most militarised area in the world. I suppose no other holiday destination can boast this.

I understand you’re not writing historically, or even biographically – you’re trying to share your experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people investigate and fall in love with new cultures. But I imagine it’s almost impossible for a writer to become so enamoured with a place, to forge a relationship as strong as you claim yours to be, and remain oblivious to its revolting history and unresolved status. As you are a self-proclaimed “history nut” I can only assume that you are fully aware of what happened to create the north of Cyprus forty-one years ago, and have simply chosen to exclude the gory details and dodgy facts from your projections; a selfish act.

Writers have a responsibility. Durrell was there before the invasion; you are there after it. To many people outside the island, views like yours are the first or only impressions of Cyprus they receive, and this way its defining backstory is overwritten. A politically unsettled, stolen land thirsty for redemption and care becomes, to the rest of the world, a haven ripe for their pick-and-choose harvest. Yes, the north of Cyprus has a deep beauty. I love the ochre-on-cerulean of the stonework against the sky, the markets and the pink bougainvillea frothing down the front of buildings. I love the shape of the mosques, but when I see them I am reminded of what was demolished to make way for them, and when I visit my grandparents’ house – preserved in its state of 50% rubble and splinters – I see remnants of horror, and a wound that, forty-one years later, still has not closed up. I want to look at mosques without the constant reminder of a unsolved problem. If anything, by now they should symbolise an accepted merging of cultures – the problem is that in many communities the resentment between Turks and Cypriots is kept alive, and this is fuelled by the implication by outsiders that there is nothing wrong with the island’s current situation, because that attitude implies nothing will ever change. You love and recommend watching gigs at the Salamis ruins, which, I cannot deny, sounds amazing. But what you might not know is that the Turkish government does not put regulations in place to protect these Cypriot ruins – ancient relics disregarded by them because the land they are built on is snatched land, undervalued land, unmonitored land. For days after gigs at Salamis, plastic debris rattles around the ancient stone, bending and bleaching under the sun. Oh, the raw beauty of the north of Cyprus.

You write with unbridled relish of your Cypriot house, but have you ever considered what kind of brutality occurred in your house forty-one years ago, causing it to be wrenched from its rightful owner and to transition towards its eventual sale to yourself? Did you buy the house from a Greek or Turkish Cypriot who was able to give you the original deeds? Or are your deeds duplicates, and therefore worthless? Did you buy it from somebody who gained it post-invasion, profiting from the eviction and execution of thousands? Did you buy a house built after the invasion? Did you ever consider who the land was taken from during the invasion? How would you feel if someone turned up at your house and forced you out and said you could never go back to your beloved north Cyprus ever again? Because that’s what happened to those less fortunate than you forty-one years ago. Someone lived in and owned your house, and was forcibly, brutally evicted. If they weren’t killed, they are most likely having to rent elsewhere, wondering if they’ll ever be able to go back to their home. Listen when I tell you that whoever sold you that house did not own it. Forgive me for becoming impassioned. You are not a North Cyprus girl.

The north of Cyprus is unrecognised as an independent country or republic by any country other than Turkey. You might be aware that it harbours criminals, because there, they are beyond the law. It is painful reading your worship of marble and chandeliers, casinos and Turkish delicacies, your pimping of “old-world charm,” beside absolutely no recognition of the bodies this north Cyprus is built on. You may flit from the north to Ledra street and back again for your weekly shop – bypassing as you do ghost-ridden No-man’s land and its myriad of broken, abandoned homes – while the people who rightfully own your house cannot. You talk about “[your] mountain.” I am sorry, I don’t know how much you’ve paid for what you consider yourself to own, but none of this land is yours, and it never truly can be until it’s sold to you by its original owners. Your words salt forty-one-year-old wounds.

I don’t write this to be pointlessly malicious, but to express the painful Cypriot reception to your writing concerning Cyprus; a reaction that hasn’t been addressed by you yet. Ms Cole, you’re talented and privileged. People respect you and will listen to you. Please use the strength of your voice to spread wisdom, not misinformation. The north of Cyprus is beautiful. But it is unsolved, and it is radioactive with injustice. When you peddle it as your discovery, your secret haven, a holiday destination, you write it to be a utopia, when it is actually the polar opposite. You invalidate the suffering and deaths of thousands forty-one years ago, and you invalidate the pain of thousands today. We (and if you do indeed love Cyprus, then this includes you) should work to solve the dispute you have glossed over and nurture the place, not pretend everything is okay and tell half the UK to book their next Summer holiday there.

You end your 2012 article for the Daily Mail praising the north in a way that I found particularly ironic:

“Although it is a world away from the settings in my novels, I like to write there. That includes The Life, about two brothers rising up in the criminal underworld, a family torn apart by violence and betrayal, with a burning desire for revenge…”

Know and acknowledge that families being torn apart by violence and betrayal are the very things the site of your Cypriot home is built on. Know that the North’s “unique, unspoilt charm” is not a selling point, it is fallout. There is no “Turkish Cyprus,” Northern Cyprus is Occupied Cyprus. And you are not a North Cyprus girl.

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50 comments

  1. pany · May 27, 2015

    fantastic writing brilliant words every greek cypriot should post on social media !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • nejat · May 29, 2015

      This situation is same for turkish cypriots we have land (my mother’s)in potamia and agios sozemenos but greek cypriots are stayıng there..so we are also refugee and struglling…if u are searchıng guilty u shuold look at the mirror and before 1974 (1963)..🙅🙅🙈🙉🙊

      Like

      • u can return and live there. We can’t. Blame it on Erdogan with the gold plated toilet seats in his palace/castle!

        Like

      • timour · June 20, 2015

        Seriously? You can come and claim what belongs to you on the free side. We can’t do the same. Turkey doesn’t give care about Cypriots. All it cares its for the geographical location of the island. Decide what you want? To live on this island as Cypriot or as foreigner claiming the right of that of a local?

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  2. izel · May 28, 2015

    Not just greek cypriots. I am so fed up to have to explain myself thay im not turkish, i am turkish speaking cypriot. There is a huge difference.Both my parents had to leave limassol and they left all their belongings there. They were taken to turkey and then forced to move to north cyprus. No one can deny it is an invasion and the north is occupied.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rhiannoneva · May 28, 2015

      This is true, it wasn’t just Greek Cypriots. I focused on what happened to Greek Cypriots in my writing because the woman I’m responding to completely ignores them in her writing, and I wanted to inform her. You’re right, there is a difference between Turkish and Turkish Cypriot (in her writing, she acts as though they’re the same, and it’s wrong.) And yes, although I don’t blame the descendants of the invaders, the north is occupied.

      Liked by 2 people

      • alternativevoices · May 29, 2015

        When I visited Southern Cyprus I met Greek soldiers doing their military service, I saw Greek flags in official buildings and I heard symmetric stories of exile and pain from citizens in the North and in the South. The fact that the international community does not recognize the North as a country doesn’t mean the South is any less occupied. The only difference is that Greece is already in the EU and Turkey is not. On the other hand, the Annan plan was massively rejected by Greek-cypriots.

        So, if the North of Cyprus is occupied, so is the South.

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    • Nicky Totti · May 28, 2015

      Izel it’s not just Greek Cypriots you are correct but the whole point is the problem is due to Turkey invading and creating the divide.

      Liked by 1 person

    • alextr · May 28, 2015

      I agree with you Izel! The only difference izel is that you and your parents can move back to Limassol at any time like many did already! Unfortunately me, my mother, my father, my grandparents cannot move back to their house in the occupied areas, plus the regime there with the Turkish occupied forces brought Settlers and placed them to live at my mothers house (settlement is a crime against humanity).

      Liked by 2 people

      • alternativevoices · May 29, 2015

        Have you tried doing that? I’m not sure where you got that idea that Northerners can move back to the South but not the opposite. I’ve travelled along the North and met Greek Cypriots who would like to “take back” their properties. They are now occupied by others. But the exact same happens with Turkish Cypriots who left properties in the South and now find them occupied by others. I really don’t see where the difference is…

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    • Mary Christopher · May 31, 2015

      No Greek Cypriot denies that the Turkish Cypriots have lost too. The above article is clear on this. But it is the Greek Cypriots who have lost those homes that outsiders like Ms Cole love to gloss over without feeling.

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  3. Bora · May 28, 2015

    I realize that it is hard for lot of people to accept that Greek Cypriots acted genocidaly towards Turkish Cypriots; just as it is hard for you to accept that Turkey was exercising nothing more than her protective duties as a Guarantor power when she occupied part of Cyprus in 1974. Had her intentions been aggressive, there is little doubt she could have captured the whole island.
    World Bulletin / News
    A mass grave believed to contain the remains of dozens of Turkish Cypriots who were massacred by Greek Cypriots in 1974 has been found.
    The mass grave near the village of Taskent (Dohni) promises to solve the mystery of two buses that went missing on the road between the Parekklisia and Limassol on August 14, 1974.
    A mass grave of the passengers of the first bus had been found in 2010, but until today the whereabouts of the remains of the 45 passengers on the second bus was unknown. All together around 85 were killed.
    Andreas Dimitriu, a former member of the Greek Cypriot terrorist group EOKA-B, had previously admitted that all males aged 9 and above who were living in Taskent were rounded up before being taken to a secret location and executed during the war.
    The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey exercized its constitutional right as a guarantor by conducting a military operation following a coup by far-right Greek Cypriot extremist group EOKA.
    As a safeguard, Turkish Cypriots living in the south of the island fled north where Turkey’s troops had based their soldiers. Greek Cypriots in the north fled south. After 9 years of failed peace talks, thr Turkish Cypriots declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, which to this day has only been recognized by Turkey.
    ass grave believed to contain the remains of dozens of Turkish Cypriots who were massacred by Greek Cypriots in 1974 has been found.
    The mass grave near the village of Taskent (Dohni) promises to solve the mystery of two buses that went missing on the road between the Parekklisia and Limassol on August 14, 1974.
    A mass grave of the passengers of the first bus had been found in 2010, but until today the whereabouts of the remains of the 45 passengers on the second bus was unknown. All together around 85 were killed.
    Andreas Dimitriu, a former member of the Greek Cypriot terrorist group EOKA-B, had previously admitted that all males aged 9 and above who were living in Taskent were rounded up before being taken to a secret location and executed during the war.
    The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey exercized its constitutional right as a guarantor by conducting a military operation following a coup by far-right Greek Cypriot extremist group EOKA.
    As a safeguard, Turkish Cypriots living in the south of the island fled north where Turkey’s troops had based their soldiers. Greek Cypriots in the north fled south. After 9 years of failed peace talks, thr Turkish Cypriots declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, which to this day has only been recognized by Turkey.

    Like

    • rhiannoneva · May 28, 2015

      Thank you for this comment, it’s very important. I agree with you that Greek Cypriots behaved barbarically towards Turkish Cypriots – both sides committed horrible things and it’s easy to blame Turkish invaders for everything, forgetting Turkish Cypriots who were suffering from the start. The subject of my writing however is the status of the land – I want Martina Cole to realise that the land she thinks she owns and thinks is paradise is not legally hers, and is built on the massacre of Cypriots both Greek and Turkish. My work is more a message about the land than who was prosecuted the most. But you’re right, the suffering Greek Cypriot voice comes through strongest. (Probably because my point of view is the Greek Cypriot one. That’s why I appreciate it when Turkish Cypriots give me their points of view in an informative, non-antagonistic way, so thank you.) There’s a chance I’ll be editing my article for publication in a British university magazine. If I do, I plan to refer more to the suffering of Turkish Cypriots.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Andrew Phanartzis · May 28, 2015

      Bora – for all the words you write, you are one uneducated fool. “Turkey was exercising nothing more than her protective duties” Why then did they not leave Northern Cyprus to the Turkish Cypriots to govern themselves???
      It was an excuse to secure land in a strategic location. At a time the nation was weak due to internal fighting.
      “Had her intentions been aggressive, there is little doubt she could have captured the whole island.” Wrong – On one side they were blocked by terrain and on the other the UK Base – they stopped when they were told to stop.
      The governments of Greece, Cyprus, USA, UK and Russia have a lot to answer for and all played some part in this mess. But to hint that Turkey did anything out of duty is simply moronic.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jack · May 28, 2015

        Where does Russia come into it, eoka b and turkey are to blame

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      • alternativevoices · May 29, 2015

        Probably for the same reason Greece hasn’t left the country and Greek Cypriots to do the same and still send its 18-year-olds to do their military service under Greek flags to a foreign and internationally sovereign territory: the Republic of Cyprus.

        Like

    • alextr · May 28, 2015

      unfortunatly Bora you do not get Izels point! and what do we to today and what tomorrrow!

      If we would start this blame game, then Turkey has been arming extremists since 1957, most of the worse atrocities on the “turkish speaking cypriots” were done by TMT under the leadership of Denktash and not “Greek speaking cypriots” etc. See the “prostitute” at Ledras street which he actually admitted, see the mother with the kids in the bath which recently it was readmitted by the photograhper, stagers.. etc..

      The big problem was that the whole population allowed no more that 50 extremist from each so called “sides” to create what Turkey wanted all along, with the help of Kissinger that put on the coup in Greece to try and over-throne Makarios etc, we all know the story!

      Unfortunately a war crime is a war crime and the 240.000 refuges are on the Turkish occupied forces hands til today, which still occupy Cyprus! I don’t think that is on any guarantors provisions!!!!

      More over better please read the Judgement of the Court Of Human Rights!

      http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-59454#%22itemid%22:%5B%22001-59454%22%5D

      But still what do you do about it?

      Liked by 1 person

    • darkadversary · May 29, 2015

      For reference, when we use the terms “Turkey” and “Cyprus” in this context, we often if not almost always mean the government officials and the radical extremists, not the innocent bystanders who were executed in the streets.
      Given Turkey’s track record with foreign nations and aggressive militia-minded behavior (Armenia, for example), mixed with the fact that actual humans (from both sides) have been torn from their own homes I don’t think anyone can say things are as black and white as you make them sound; were it so the issue might have been, and probably would have been solved decades ago.
      Cyprus is geographically blessed and it shows in the deeply rooted interest of our previous “owners” if you like. You are also patronizing a whole people by saying the whole island could have just as easily been taken by Turkey, and I think I speak for every self-respecting Cypriot when I say this is very belittling of you. I admire rhiannoneva’s patience and how diplomatically she has responded to your ignorant and honestly offensive comment, but you’re either wearing blinders and need to further educate yourself or you breed overly patriotic sympathy for the Turkish side. (my assumption is that you’re Turkish but it makes no difference either way). If it’s the former then it’s not completely okay but not the worst thing you could do, if it’s the latter then people like you are the reason our small island is still occupied some forty-one years later, with your zealous attitude and fanatical views.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. effi · May 28, 2015

    No better way to put it!

    Like

  5. Dogukan Kansu · May 28, 2015

    Now, before I say anything I believe I should state that I am a Turkish speaking Cypriot who lives in Larnaca (a city not placed in the so called ‘Occupied Cyprus’) and I believe in peace and all that comes with it. I understand and respect the ideas you have tried to give in this article but most of your statements are somewhat vague and I found some of them very ignorant and humiliating …

    You have mentioned that both sides have faced difficulties yet throughout your article you focus on the tragedies of the Greek speaking Cypriots; gang-rapes, murders, losing their homes.

    Those things are not specific to the Greek speaking Cypriots, unlike what many might think many Turkish speaking Cypriots were raped, there were villages that were left without a single Turkish speaking Cypriot standing alive ( including newborns), my family members lost their houses, my own grandfather was hold captive which even forty-one years later haunts him and he can’t visit my house because of his fears.

    You mention the history of Cyprus yet you totally ignore the fact that when the Greeks came in, there was somewhat of a genocide as they slaughtered not only Turkish speaking Cypriots but also Greek speaking Cypriots. And although I do not agree with anything Turkey did, the main reason for their arrival was to protect the rights of the Cypriot community (mainly Turkish speaking Cypriots’) but due to their hunger for power, that turned into an invasion.

    With such a passionate article, you don’t help with bringing communities together, or help heal scars but you only feed off the patriot feelings that you have managed to boost by reminding them of the past. You may not respect Northern Cyprus, you may not agree with any decision taken by the citizens of it but when you are a part of a community that was slaughtered, tricked, humiliated by whoever was in power for years…. sometimes you need to catch a break, even if that means creating a republic that is not acknowledged/respected by anyone ( that ‘anyone’ also includes me)

    I just hope when people read your article, they won’t forget the progress we have made in the last few years since we are closer to a solution more than ever, and the last thing we need is some demonizing article reminding them that ‘they’ are different from ‘them’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rhiannoneva · May 28, 2015

      When I say that “North Cyprus girls” were exiled, raped, and killed, I by no means imply that this didn’t happen to Turkish Cypriot girls. Many North Cyprus girls were Turkish Cypriot, and they suffered a great deal as well. I don’t refer at that point only to Greek Cypriots. The reason I repeat ‘North Cyprus Girls’ specifically is that the British woman I’m writing to claims to be a north Cyprus girl because she loves north Cyprus so much, and I want to make her aware of what being a north Cyprus girl would really have meant for her 41 years ago. I don’t specify whether that means Greek or Turkish. The last thing I want to do is encourage the mindless patriotism of Greek Cypriots – I grew up with a lot of that at school (in Larnaca, where you live, by coincidence!) but I think you’re right, my article can be taken the wrong way by the wrong people. I’ve said in a previous comment that I want to edit it and include more about Turkish Cypriot suffering. I promise you that the only reason I didn’t do this to begin with is that the article’s purpose was to discuss the status of the land. Perhaps I’ll also write a separate piece, focusing on what actually happened. I know my piece was vague, and that’s because it was meant as a powerful letter to a world who doesn’t know much about Cyprus (which also makes me realise – I should represent Turkish Cypriots more because they’re rarely given a voice) if I’d written it as a history lesson, Ms Cole and all her fans would never have bothered reading. I’m so sorry you felt ignored and humiliated, I thought I’d been fair by writing that the atrocities took place on both sides, but I haven’t satisfied people, so I will do some research. You worry me when you say my article is demonizing. It contains Greek Cypriot indignance, yes, but I took care not to demonise Turks. My portrayal of them is factual: they invaded. I’ve used no cruel suggestions or language, and have stated how pointless it is to resent them today. I agree that we need to find a solution, and I say so near the end of my letter. If there’s anything further that is obviously mistaken in my writing, please do let me know. I want to be as accurate as possible with my writing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dogukan Kansu · June 4, 2015

        Thank you for your understanding reply. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness.

        Like

  6. Nikolas · May 28, 2015

    Thank you for the article!

    It is beautifully written and speaks from the heart!

    Lets not forget that turkish speaking cypriots were also displaced from their homes and forced to the north as well.

    You say ” I love the shape of the mosques, but when I see them I still see in architectural form the handprint of a thief,” but perhaps the magnificent mosques and churches can remind us of the cultural diversity of our island and how we could leave together in peace again.

    Again thank you for the article!

    Liked by 2 people

    • rhiannoneva · May 28, 2015

      Thank you. You’re right about Turkish Cypriots, and I feel I have under-represented them. I plan to edit my letter and change this, though the overall subject will still concern Martina Cole’s portrayal of the island. I’d also love to write something separate from this looking in more detail at what actually happened to the Turkish and greek Cypriots – it deserves an essay of its own!

      Like

  7. Marie Kaskanis Brogan · May 28, 2015

    My mother died not being able to return back to her home. Not beeing able to go back to the graveyard (with now desecrated head stones/crosses) of her ancestors. NOT to be able to lay flowers on the beloved graves of family. Those who helped to look after us when we where little. Or even see her grandads remains/bones lay to rest, who had been found down a well years on. BECAUSE SHE HAS PASTED AWAY. IMAGINE HOW HARD HER LIFE HAS BEEN LIVING HER HOME, BELONGINGS, PHOTOS (Of herself, wedding, us as babies) TO START ALL OVER AGAIN, HER POOR MIND (leaving the new house they had built)
    I agree with this letter.
    It’s heartful/upsetting when you see property for sale or holiday’s advertised. That end up being a lot cheaper to intise people who do not know the history. Maybe it would be different if they did.

    Like

  8. Peter Petrou · May 28, 2015

    Excellent response.
    This reminds me of a similar response i sent to a certain Ms Hilary Devey after reading her article (the excerpt from the original http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/fameandfortune/11392818/Hilary-Devey-Dragons-Den-paid-pittance-it-didnt-even-cover-my-expenses.html ) is below

    Do you own any other properties?
    As well as Rangemore Hall, I’ve got a house in London in St Katherine’s Dock. It’s not big: 4,000sq ft. It’s worth about £4.5m.
    I have another four properties around the world. I absolutely hate hotels, which is why I’ve got so many: I like to think I’m coming home. I’ve got a property in Boca Raton in Palm Beach, Florida, a villa in Altea, Spain, and a five-bedroom villa and an eight-bedroom villa in Marrakesh, plus I’m building another two there at the moment on some land I bought six years ago.

    Hilary Devey with the other Dragons; (from L-R) Duncan Bannatyne, Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones
    I bought my house in Florida for approximately $3.5m (£2.23m). I’m not sure how much exactly it’s worth now, but people have offered me substantially above the price I paid. I bought the villa in Spain for £1m, and it’s probably worth £2.5m now. I think the villas in Marrakesh are worth about £4m in total as well.
    I’ll buy another property if I see an upcoming market. Like for instance, now, I’m thinking of investing in Croatia and northern Cyprus. That’s the sort of area that I think will boom again.

    Like

    • Peter Petrou · May 28, 2015

      BTW I never did get a response

      Like

  9. Renos savvides · May 28, 2015

    Is about time that the political leaders of Britain speak out and tell the British people the truth !
    The North of cyprus is occupied illegally by the Turkish army and Britain is not recognised the North as a legal entity !!!!
    The British people who buy houses in the North are buying stolen property !!!!!!
    We are Cypriots and proud of it !!!!!!!!
    Turkish troops must leave the island and Britain should honour is signature as a quarantoor power !!!!!!
    Turkey is abusing its power and the international community is not doing anything !!!!
    Please search your conscious and don’t go to the North for holidays or stay !!!!!
    Thank you !!!!!!
    Renos savvides !!!

    Like

  10. Mark Smith · May 28, 2015

    When people talk about the history of the island you need to go back before 1974 and reveal all the killing and troubles that occurred then and explain why the Turkish had to “intervene ” to protect their own ! The island was never owned by just Greek Cypriots like everyone makes out and if it was an “invasion” why didn’t they take over the whole island like they could have done ! Explain that and you’re half way there to talking sense. No fighting happens without a reason so investigate and brush up on your history of the island and explain that rather than just “post 1974” !!!!!

    Like

    • rhiannoneva · May 28, 2015

      I’m quite aware of the history of Cyprus. I understand there was mistreatment of Turkish Cypriots at the hands of Greek Cypriots before 1974. Nothing, however, excuses Turkey’s invasion and possessing of the north of Cyprus. The reason the entirety of Cyprus wasn’t captured was because external forces stepped in to prevent them. My writing mentions victims Turkish, Greek-Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. I am talking sense. The purpose of my letter is not to provide a step-by-step guide to the invasion. It’s to prevent privileged outsiders to the island from thinking that north Cyprus is a settled republic that they can buy land on, because this is insulting to the people who used to own the land, as well as making things more complicated than they already are for people who currently live on the territory. The island was owned by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and this is how I have written it to be. What happened was an invasion. There’s no question of this.

      Liked by 1 person

    • L.Lazarou · May 29, 2015

      What do you know about the history of the Island, if you do know then tell us about the connection of MI5 with the Grey wolves before 1974. Next read so you dont embarrass yourself.

      Like

  11. votsis23 · May 28, 2015

    Congratulations on an amazing article. As a Greek-Cypriot myself with a refugee father I understand how sensitive the issue is and how hard it is to remain unbiased, therefore it is indeed quite admirable how you managed to create such a balanced article. I have read the original article by Ms. Cole and I still can’t believe how this person is trying to promote an artificial culture that has been enforced in order to overwrite the historical events that have lead to Cyprus being the only divided European member state. Keep up the good work and I hope I see more of these type of articles from you in the future 🙂

    Like

  12. Christina · May 28, 2015

    Excellent article. But I personally believe that is our fault that other countries at least in europe are not Aware of this situation. Schools never teached us anything and some of us hardly remember even when you asked them when the turkish invasion took place. If the young people of cuprus are not aware of their history why do we espect from other countries to know it? While i was studying in czeCh republic there were many people that keep asking me if i am from north (and sometimes the so called “turkish”) side or from the south! And that is outrageous too. Also many offices and websites are offering holiday packages to occupied cyprus and our republic here in cyprus does nothing for it.. Imagine that greek Cypriots are going to the occupied side every single day and they are giving their money to the casinos hotels shppping etc ! That is unacceptable! I am not taking Ms cole’s side(God no!) but I believe that most of the young people here jn Cyprus don’t care about their history or their country and this is a problem of the schools, society and goverment.

    Like

  13. Emsyjo · May 28, 2015

    Congratulations on a very well written and balanced piece on what is a very difficult and emotional subject. I have seen it shared in many places online today all with very positive comments. I live in Cyprus, in Deryneia and my apartment overlooks Varosha. I am sorry to say we knew nothing of the invasion before we considered moving here (or anything about Cyprus to be fair!) but when we started to look into the idea of moving I found out and got straight online to research it – then didn’t consider looking in the north at all.

    I can’t imagine what it must have been like, and must still be like for those who lived through it and continue to do so. I recently attended the gathering at the Deryneia Checkpoint to campaign for it’s opening (which has been announced today!!) and even as an outsider it all brings a tear to my eye.

    Like

  14. Dimitris Petrides · May 28, 2015

    To a lady of extraordinary talent manifested by her various brilliant accomplishments and rightful accolades, congratulations for such a well written reply to Martina Cole’s bogus article about the North. I appreciate everyone’s opinions , views and pains. In saying this I would like to just shed some light and state that there will never ever be a solution to the Cyprus problem. Turkish along with Israeli politicians are by far the most smartest and achievers in the history of the world of politics. They come to the table with nothing and end up taking the trousers of the opposition. I neither condone them or praise them.

    A few facts need to be noted :

    Firstly ,the hype about the current situation with the ” Solution” is a mere firecracker to deviate attention from the current economy in the South. As we all know it is in a daunting state and will not improve for some time . Foolish Cypriots now concentrate on the solution and do not bear in mind that they will be starving in the not too distant future.
    Secondly,it should be noted that this is the second time since 2004 that the Turks seem adamant they want a solution. If they manage to take to a referendum (more than likely ) and the Greek Cypriots vote NO and the Turkish Cypriots vote Yes again the international community will totally give up on the GC and then the TRNC will be official – VOILA as the French say.

    A wise merchant told me something when I was a teenager that I will never forget and it kind of fits appropriately to this saga , ” your first loss is your best loss ” . Eleven years later after the proposed Anan Plan we are now looking for a solution again after we so wrongly voted NO. Sadly the original plan can now only be seen with a binoculars.

    I once again repeat to you all , there will never be a solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jimmos · May 28, 2015

    I came across this interesting discussion which captured my attention. What a great response to Mrs Cole’s article.
    I feel like making an irrelevant note regarding the history of Cyprus. One has to go back over 11,000 BC when Phoenicians first inhabited the island followed by two large waves of Greek Mycenaean settlements around 1500 – 1000 BC; archaeological evidence exists all around the island. The Greco-Phoenicians formed the endemic population and despite all the conquerors the island has suffered over the years, owing largely to the island’s geographic location and resources, freedom always followed and the endemic population managed to remain Hellenic to this day. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are the same people, we carry the same genes which have been inherited by ancient Mediterranean tribes, exceptional navigators and pioneers who may have discovered the alphabet the whole world uses today. It is not hard to imagine endemic Cypriots converting to Islam just to reduce excruciating taxation to the Sultan and save their families from starvation.
    Just thinking broadly and over longer time scales. My apologies for the irrelevance, but I owed it to my ancestors to make this statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. afxentiouhelena · May 28, 2015

    Brilliant answer to Martina Cole’s article! By far the best, most extensive and accurate i have seen so far. Covering many different aspects and getting back at several statements of her. Really emotional also! I couldn’t said it better myself!!

    Like

  17. afxentiouhelena · May 28, 2015

    Reblogged this on afxentiouHelena and commented:
    I couldn’t said it better myself! An answer to Martina Cole’s article about “North Cyprus” and the truth hidden beyond this!

    Like

  18. Kayla · May 28, 2015

    Reblogged this on Kayla Baines.

    Like

  19. Kayla · May 28, 2015

    This is great. My BF is from Larnaca but lives in Aglantzia. We met in the U.S. because he studies here now. His parents are both from Nothern Cyprus and had to leave. The second time I visited with him his father took us up to Kyrenia and Bellapais. His family pushed him to study in the U.S. and live here because of the situation in Cyprus and being away from home and hearing about matters between Turkey and Cyprus affects him everyday.
    I just wanted to say how much I liked your post and writing. although I am not Greek, I care about Cyprus and hope to one day see more truth in the media about northern Cyprus and the problem resolved in the only way it can be.

    Like

  20. Neofytos · May 28, 2015

    As I was reading your text, I was under the impression that a Greek Cypriot lady was writing it.
    Obviously from the first comment I wasn’t the only one to make the mistake.
    I don’t usually say Bravo to Turkish Cypriots because the only ones I see are usually politicians and I believe they are idiots. Then again I believe that Greek Cypriot politicians are idiots too so there you go.
    Well done about your reply to that stupid Get-the-fuck-out-of-here girl … oh sorry was it North Cyprus girl?
    For someone who says she lives in “Turkish Cyprus” and as a writer she should pay attention to detail, she forgot to write that and only wrote North Cyprus girl. How clever was that?
    Anyway, gotta go. Take care.

    Like

  21. hoptu · May 28, 2015

    Great article and subsequent comments very interesting as well. I’m from the UK and met many Greeks and Greek Cypriots at university in London. From hearing their experiences and stories, as well as doing my own research the Cyprus situation is incredibly complex, and there is a lot of propaganda floating around.

    I found your article and comments above very balanced and unbiased, and feel that what needs to happen in Cyprus is reconciliation and healing on both sides… Articles like Cole’s do nothing to promote reconciliation or even discussion about the situation.

    In regards to Cole’s article (I’ve yet to read it because in general the daily mail is bad for the soul ;)) I would say she is completely ignorant to the situation and history, and just cares about having a beautiful second home, or whatever. Perhaps this article will slap her into her sense, but I would hazard a guess and say Cole is a complete airhead.

    Finally, send me an email if you would like to work together on a podcast, video or discussion panel (depending on where you live) about this subject, I’d love to help you raise the profile of this issue even further, and really admire your writing.

    Cheers,
    John

    Like

  22. andreastam · May 29, 2015

    Reblogged this on andreastam.

    Like

  23. Pavlitsa Pavlou · May 29, 2015

    Dear Ms Cole
    For the sake of the history in July 1974, the Turkish troops with the operation code “Attilas” invaded Cyprus and by all means, Turkey violated our principles, our justice and our human rights. People of different ages were forced to flee their homes, their villages, their inheritance but mostly innocent civilian people were murdered, people are still missing, young girls were raped, our Churches and monasteries have been converted to mosques and stables. Turkey deprived us to grow to our neighborhood among our friends and close members of our family. Sad figures are our parents & old age friends who are hoping that will have the opportunity to return home. Nobody can share their feelings and myself the feelings of my father when he is visiting his village. Pay a visit to our area “Karpasia” talk to the people and face the reality. It is the wish of all the citizens of Cyprus either Greek or Turkish to return to their homeland. It is our “fight” and wish to demand the end to the illegal occupation of our territory and the withdrawal of the Turkish armed forces from our island.

    Like

  24. Andreas Theo · May 31, 2015

    Beautifully written, truthful and non bias. I’m glad this article was written for the world to see the truth about an ongoing situation that seems to be irrelevant to most. A solution can only arise once people truly understand what occurred including those living on the island itself.

    Like

  25. Eve Makis · June 2, 2015

    You’re a more perceptive, sensitive and well-informed writer than the one who does it for a living and appears to have no sense. Well done

    Like

  26. tony · June 7, 2015

    Not knowing an awful lot about Cyprus can someone explain why Turkey ‘invaded’? I hear things about the ten years prior, plus something called ‘the Akritas plan’. Also, it strikes me as odd that if the Turkish army were such ‘pure evil’ why did they not take the whole island? It surely wouldn’t not of taken long given their army strength. Please enlighten me.

    Like

  27. Dina · June 8, 2015

    Well Written. Well Executed & You Covered All Angles. Love it

    Coming From a Cypriot Family That Lost Everything Its been the Bain of our lives since the day I was born. My grandfather is still missing. Both Turkish & Greek lost. This silly woman has no understanding of writing about these things as she has never witnessed them so the best thing we could all do is delete her words. Sadly this issue is much deeper than this woman’s words which naturally are a pile of crock.

    Just remember history that Cyprus has had so many people take their lands that you have to think that 100 years ago it was Ottoman land prior to that was ruled by the French!

    Well written though utterly superb x

    Like

  28. Frixos Psiloyenis · June 9, 2015

    Για τους Ελληνες που δεν γνωρίζουν τα Αγγλικα:
    http://frixospsiloyenis.blogspot.com/2015/06/blog-post.html

    Like

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