Rose's Story

Q. Please, can you explain how Greek and Turks began to fight in 1974?
On 15 July 1974, the Greek army wanted to destroy Makarios and they wanted to bind Cyprus to the Greek side, because they believed that Cyprus was Greek. But Makarios learned about this situation. For this reason, he went to Paffos and from there he escaped to the United Nations and from there he escaped to England and he saved his life. The Greek army made Nikos Sampson the Prime Minister. He was a ferocious EOKA member. He killed so many people -- even babies and old people. Because of this, Turkiye used its authority on 20 July 1974, which was allowed by Cyprus legislation. It landed troops on the island of Cyprus.

Then the Greek army made Clerides the Prime Minister. Mr. Denktas and Mr. Clerides had many meetings in order to find a good solution to the Cyprus problem but they never came to an agreement. For this reason, Turkiye started the Second Peace Operation in 14 August 1974 and now Turkiye dominates all the places from east (Famagusta) to west (Guzelyurt). Later, Mr. Denktas and Mr. Clerides made an agreement about the people who were living on the Greek side and the Turkish side. According to this, the Turkish people who lived in the South part went to the North part, and the Greek people who lived in the North part went to the South part.

Greek people say that they have land in the Northern part of Cyprus. Because of this, today they still try to break our borders.

Q. What was your function in this war?
I was a United Nations' Liaison Officer. I would get the messages from the Standard Bearer and I was to convey them to the United Nations. I would get the important information from them and convey it to the Standard Bearer again, but my basic duty was Finance Officer. Where the Standard Bearer was I was there, but I never had an active duty. If I had an active duty I would sacrifice myself for my country.

Q. Do you have any bad memories of this time?
Yes. I had to go away from my village and I went to Gonendere. Gonendere is the village near Serdarli. I walked all night and when I arrived to Gonendere I didn't believe that I had gone away from my village. In the past, I was a teacher in Amelioration School in Lapta. I was always with the Greeks and for this reason, I thought I had a dream like this bad event. So I thought that it was a dream and I would wake up, but it wasn't. In order to understand if I was in a dream or in real life, I picked up a stone and hit my head, and then I understood that it wasn't a dream and I believed that I would never come to my village again.

Q. Did you have any memory that you have feel yourself very bad until today?
Yes. As you know, during Second Peace Operation the area of Serdarli around the school was under military occupation. When we went to Gonendere, two days later, the Standard Bearer wanted us to go to Serdarli to learn the Greek situation and also enemy locations. In this situation, I called the United Nations officer and I said to him we want to move all the foods from Serdarli to Gonendere and to collect our dead. I also said to him to convey my messages to a Greek officer that we want them to give necessary permission for us to come to Serdarli again. We got the permission and we came to Serdarli and we got the foods.

In the meantime, near the telephone central, I had to get my relative. His name was Mehmet Ahmet Kucuk, and he was dead. When I saw him, I did not recognize him and I called to my other friend -- his name was Mustafa Haciarif -- and I asked who he was, because the shape of his body was very different and his face was jet-black. He said to me, he was your cousin Mehmet. He recognized him because my cousin always carried a white knife.

I did not forget this event for a long time and still remember it today. It was the worst event that I have experienced throughout my life. Even today from time to time I wake up screaming, because I had a dream where I was an officer, and later I saw my death.

Q. Did you have any thoughts about war at that time?
Yes. I understood that war is a very bad and terrible thing. It damages families; it makes so many people homeless and orphaned. Furthermore, I thought that Mehmet did not deserve to die and also I thought that God punished the wrong person. He was so brave, he stole from the rich and he gave to the poor. He always wanted to be with poor people. He sacrificed himself for his village. As time passed, I noticed that if you want to achieve happiness you must know that you may lose many good things, but you must understand that many good and happy days will await you.

Q. Is there anything in your experience during this time that you would say was a "lesson for life?"
Yes. If there is any conflict, we can not solve it by fighting with each other. We must do it by making agreements with both sides. The best solution is to talk about the problem and I believe that after time passes, they will find a common point. Life is so short and nobody knows what will happen a minute later. Everybody must get on well with other people, they must not make them disappointed, or worry. They must try to make their life happy.

[When I talked to Rose sometimes I looked at his face and I saw that he was crying and his eyes were wide. When he explained this war he was excited. I think the basic reason of this was that he felt that he was not in his home, but that he was in the war again. I think I am very lucky because I did not live during this war. Before the interview I didn't know all of these terrible events but now I know and I think we are a very lucky younger generation.]

Occupation: Retired Teacher
Age: 67
Sex: Male
Nationality: TRNC
Where now lives (country and city/town/village): Serdarli village, near Nicosia.
Where lived during the events described during the interview: Serdarli village.
Occupation or life's work of main income earner when growing up: Teacher.

This interview was conducted by Damla
1 May 1996

For the previous page. "1974: The War."