The Cypriot town in a tug-of-war

Sinasi Ozdes is supposed to be retired. But it doesn’t really seem like he is. He’s still a local political activist, sports writer and commentator, and general secretary of the trade and craftsmen association. And that’s how we met him.

Photo by: TRT WORLD
Photo by: TRT WORLD

Updated Mar 5, 2016

We arrived in Guzelyurt and went to find the mayor, hoping that he would give us an interview about the town. Unfortunately the mayor was in Germany, but staff at his office were still helpful in trying to find community leaders for us.

When Sinasi came to the office as secretary of the trade association, we weren’t sure about what he had to say. But his background proved to be even more interesting.

Sinasi also coached football teams

He’d been a commander in the Turkish Cypriot Resistance in 1974 – and said he knew that war was coming.

He and his family had been living in a village called Kandu Canakkale, just outside Limassol, when fighting escalated.

A wounded Turkish Cypriot fighter came to warn his family about the upturn in violence. And they ended up going to live as refugees in the British Military Base next to Limassol.

Following the refugee swap, he’s been living north of the border in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. His own house in what is now Greek Cyprus, has long since been demolished – and a road has been built in its place.

Now he’s living in property where a Greek Cypriot used to live – and this was something that shocked him back in 2004.

The original inhabitant of the house, a Greek Cypriot, turned up and knocked on his door.

He invited him in and they sat down for a chat. The Greek Cypriot told him that if there was a deal, he would want his house back.

That was 12 years ago. There still hasn’t been a deal – and Sinasi has no intention of moving out. And he thinks the other Turkish Cypriots and Turks shouldn’t either.

“There are about 28,000 people in this town and all of them will become migrants. Where do they plan to put 28,000 migrants?

“The thought of this has me worried. We speak of 28,000 people. Where will they live or work? All of these people have in their possession their homes and land. Their schools and hospitals are here.

“Until the Greeks come up with a solution to the issue of where they plan to put us I will not be a part of this process; I will say no to such an agreement.'' 

Author: Andrew Hopkins