Lale's Story

Q. Please can you explain, what happened in 1974 in your village?
When the Greek army attacked the Turkish village, all other villages took shelter in our village. After that the Turkish commander who was called Mehmet Osman said that "You must leave your village, because the Greeks are coming to your village." So we left our village, and we went to Gonendere. Gonendere is the village which is near Serdarli. In order to get to Gonendere we walked all night and sometimes we stayed in valleys and shelters. When we arrived at this village, we felt very sad, because we thought that "We would never return to our village again."

We stayed 13 days in these shelters. After these days we went back to our village, but Greek soldiers had begun to stay in our houses, and they always said to us "tomorrow morning we will cut your head." For this reason, we were on duty without sleep until the morning.

Q. Did you have any bad memories?
Yes of course. When we went to Gonendere two days later, I learned that my husband, Mehmet Ahmet Kucuk, had died while serving the Turkish State. He was a brave, strong and healthy man. He was not afraid of anything, so when we left our village he stayed alone in his village and so he died. When I learned this I felt very bad, and I was afraid of loneliness and I also could not live without him, because of this I begged my God "You must kill me" because I could not live without him.

Q. What were your thoughts at that time?
I thought so many things. For example, I was alone and I didn't know what I was going to do. I was afraid because I have 5 children and I really don't know how I would feed them, how I would raise them, and the most important thing is how could I tell them that their father died. I really felt very sad and I didn't want to believe that he was dead. And in this war I lost not only my husband but also I lost my cousin and my son-in-law.

Q. Did this thought help you in any way?
Yes. I understood that to forget the bad memories and bad days to me is the best therapy. And I learned that if you want to arrive at the good and happy days you would not be afraid of the loneliness and you would be strong and also you will fight with bad people.

Q. What do you think of when I say the word "war"?
War is a very bad thing. It causes damage to families, it makes so many people homeless and orphaned. I hope it does not happen again. Everybody must live in peace and nobody should make the others worry or be disappointed -- instead of this everybody must love each other.

Q. What was the function of Turkey in that war?
Turkey is our hero. If Turkey had not been there we would not be here now. There would not be the TRNC. The friends of Turks are again Turks, other countries are a friend in good days.

Q. Did you learn something during this war?
Yes. I believed that Turks and Greeks can never be friends. They can live in the same territories but this must be under the control of the military. Greeks are very bad people, they have bad characters, because they killed our husbands, cousins, and children and also they attacked our women. So we can not forget these events so they can never be a friend. I believe that if there is any conflict we can not solve it by fighting with each other. We must do it by making agreements with both side. The best solution is to talk about the problem and I think that when time passes, they will find a common point.

[When I spoke with Lale, she was always crying and she said that God was protecting us.]

Occupation: Housewife
Age: 68
Sex: Female
She now lives in Serdarli near Nicosia and during the war she lived in the same village.
What was the occupation (or life's work) of the main income earner in the household when growing up: Farmer.

This interview was conducted by Damla
24 April 1996

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