13 April 2007

1603) Social Life In Cyprus And Turko-Armenian Relations

INTRODUCTION

Cyprus is supposed to get its name originally from an endemic flower named “Kypros”, from Kiniros’ daughter in mythology, from Kipris, or from Cuprum that means copper in Latin. Another source for its name comes from the flora named Kypros mostly grown in Cyprus Some sources also indicate that the island get its name from the salted ox skin. The island, having lots of rumors to have its name such as “Yadana, Kittim, Cypr” and “zabar” that means copper, is a key point between Europe, Asia, and Africa depending on its geopolitical position. Regarding its geographical, physical, cultural, and folkloric aspects, the island is the piece of Anatolia. . . Cyprus is the biggest island of the East Mediterranean with its 9.251 km2 space, and the third island of the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia with its old and rich history.

Even if the Phoenicians, Aegeans, and the Europeans have sometimes dwelled in the island, the ethnical majority of the island is mostly composed of the people emigrated from Anatolia. On the other hand, Armenians are known to live since 6th Century on the island. Between 395-1191, 3.000 Armenian soldiers under the command of King Morris come to the island to get the origin of the above-mentioned Armenians. Ottoman annalist/historian Abdurrahman ?eref describes the general characteristics of the Armenians, not only in Cyprus but also in Anatolia as;
“...Since Armenians are friendly, out of the quarrels, and modest, they have dealt with the commerce, their works, and their craftsmanship. Paying their taxes in time, and obeying the rules completely, they have had no difficulty against the office. Due to their modest characteristics and life style, they have easily adapted the Turkish way of life. Just like bone and meat, they have turned to be the people, interest, and portion as well. So the government has believed and trusted on them...”

Although the Armenians, Greek Cypriots, and the Maronites lived in Kormakitis, Aromatos, and Karpazia villages after the Venetian occupation of the island in 14th March 1489, as Hellenic slaves under the pressure of Orthodox and Greek pressure, they are all given an exact freedom after 1571 Ottoman conquest, and the same situation continues up to the British period. During the conquest of Nicosia on 9th September 1570, The Armenians help the Turkish soldiers open the gate named Paphos Gate Armenian help and the interest for the Turkish soldiers landing on Cyprus is very remarkable. Subsequent to the conquest, census and the registration, except for the women and the children, the number of the people between 14-50 appears to be 85.000 Armenians, Greek Cypriots, Maronites, and the Gypsy. Turkish tolerance after the conquest appears to be a balanced and fair administration. Non-Muslim people living in Ottoman Empire are named to be “ehl-i zimmet”. This Ottoman Non-Muslim subject just after the conquest of the island start living in peace depending on the rights given. Ottoman period never turns to be a rough and tyrannical process with no pressure. With a balanced, tolerated and administration in harmony, Armenians and the Turkish Cypriots live in a super neighborhood atmosphere. The Armenians paying their taxes regularly, carrying out the obligations have the freedom to perform their own religious performances in their own temples, to use their own languages, to transfer their problems in Armenian language to the Ottoman administration. The people who react this situation are only the Greek Cypriots as follows;

“...Surprisingly, the Armenians in Lefka mostly used to prefer to be with Turks not with the Greek Cypriots. If not necessary, they never used to talk about the events occurred in Anatolia, and never used to have hatred behaviors against us. Or do I remember so? When my late father went to London one year before his death, Agop spending hours went to see my father, therefore what I remember is not wrong...”

British Colonial Minister Chamberlaine explains his opinions about the dwelling of the Armenians in Cyprus as follows; “...Armenians are not also loved by the Greek Cypriots living on the island. Therefore to get a colony composed of the Armenians immigrants here will not be welcomed by the society.” The Armenians being tortured and dominated by the Greek Cypriots throughout the years in varied aspects of the life prefer a life with the Turks, and establish good neighborhood. Some marriages are also seen in this period. Similarly, the divorce is also possible due to the mutual conditions. Those people living in the same residential area, and having shops in the same area also buy and sell the property as well. Ali A?a and Osman A?a in Nicosia sell a house to Armenian bellows maker Bogos and Bedros, and in Debba?hane District, Mehmed bin Mustafa sells his shop costing 800 kurush to bellows maker Aaci Gavriyel. On the other hand, between those people reflecting the art of living together well, some problems occur. For example, in 1800’s El hac Hasan and El hac Mehmed give a letter of complaint to Istanbul about two Armenian brothers named Serkiz and Artin in Nicosia accusing them of damaging their goods, and usurpation.

Professor Edward Daniel Clarke of Cambridge University visiting the island in 6-16 June 1801 expresses his opinions about the Armenians as follows; “…Being a rich Armenian merchant, Sarkis’ house carries the highest standard of the oriental magnificence. It is just like a palace at all. The rooms are not only large and spacious, but decorated with a well-thought kindness and grace. The floor is full of embroidered pillows.” Foreign explorers are influenced by the social life of the rich Armenians and the Greek Cypriots. Mariti, for example, says, “This is the market of the prominent Turkish, Greek Cypriots, and Armenian merchants.” about the Covered Bazaar/Bedesten. During the Ottoman period, the Armenian translators knowing Turkish, Greek Cypriot, and English start working in the Ottoman palace. These translators working till the 1821 Greek Revolt perform the official procedures between the Ottoman government and the Cyprus governor-general having various privileges and the rights. Then the translators do nothing but the translations, and are hindered to interfere with the official authority. Of these translators, H. A. Ütücüyan working as the Turkish translator of the British administration in 1900s is a well-known one. In the meantime, subsequent to the Gülhane Hatt- ? Hümayunu (Imperial decree) dated 1839, the Armenians firstly get the opportunity to represent themselves and the Armenians and the Maronites start sending a representative to the Board leaded by Kaymakam appointed from Istanbul. In 1841, there are 75-76.000 Greek Cypriots, 32-33.000 Turkish Cypriots, 1.200-1.300 Maronites, some 50 European Roman-Catholics and some 150-160 Armenians on the island. In 1881 census, the number of the Armenians is 154.

BRITISH ADMINISTRATION
Because the island belongs to the Ottoman Empire, the island having a great strategically importance for British interest in the East Mediterranean and the vicinity, the Middle East and India has only one negative aspect. After Ye?ilköy Agreement signed in 3rd March 1878 England so as to stop Russian advance gives an assistance offer to the Ottoman Empire and wants Cyprus to be taken over temporarily. Ottoman Foreign Minister Safvet Pasha and British Ambassador Ostan Henry Layard make an agreement and sign the two-article agreement on 4th June 1878 at the Y?ld?z Palace. Then the island costing 92.986 pounds annual rent is taken from “its motherland” and given to England. On the other hand, England gets the money from Cyprus, and pays the rent so.

FIRST WORLD WAR AND THE ARMENIANS IN CYPRUS
Subsequent to the 1909 Adana Events, some Armenians leaving Anatolia head for Cyprus and dwell in different areas. So the Armenians get a population of 8.000 people on the island and start living in Armenahor in Limassol, Armenu in Paphos, Spathariko in Famagusta, and Kornokepos in Kyrenia. The second Armenian rush to the island comes after so-called 1915 Events, and after the 1921 Ankara Agreement, some of the Armenians leaving Çukurova start coming to the island. Additionally, Turkish soldiers mostly captured at Çanakkale Front by the British Forces are taken to Cyprus to Karakol POW Camp after October 1916. The Armenians in the Armenian Camp provide the security of the camp. Although Syrian, Iraqi Arab and Armenian POWs fighting for Ottoman are also transferred to this camp, due to the hardships and the false propaganda, some POWs leave this camp and brought to the Armenian Camp. In this period, a group of Armenians also come to the island. Armenian Legion D’Orient established by France in 1916 in Egypt once more activate and the Armenian people of different areas so as to fight against Turkish people in Çukurova are at first collected in Port-Said, then transferred to Cyprus with their families. After English approval, an area 24-away from Famagusta, at the seaside with no residence, but water wells is chosen. The closeness of this camp to that of Turkish POW and that the area is used as a training area both by French and British forces show that both countries have a cooperation here as well. The single British objection is for the Armenian women and the children to be transferred to the island from Port Said. According to Legion D’Orient Regulation firstly six legion companies having 200 Armenians each come to the total presence of 5.000 with 160 Arabic legionnaires. But despite the fact that French officers behave the Armenians well, the tension due to the Armenian criminals ambushing a village named Trikomo, and killing a British soldier gets a higher level. Additionally, Armenian intelligence, and espionage activities make the life unbearable on the island. The last event caused by these Armenians is that Turkish POW camp is stoned by the Greek Cypriots helping the Armenians. So the English High Commissioner announcing itself the authority brings some restrictions. Some of these Armenian families then dwell in Cyprus.

The preferable places after Armenian immigration are mostly very close to the Turkish residential areas and the Turkish shops. Then the Turkish people and the Armenians start living together in Cyprus after Anatolia. The Armenians starting to live in Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta, Nicosia, and Paphos are not ordinary people, but as the doctor, dentist, veterinarian, banker, translator, civil service experts, they start to be dominant in British administration.

CYPRUS AFTER LAUSANNE AGREEMENT
The agreement itself is approved by England just after the signatures on 6th August 1924. Then Turkish Cypriots are demanded to accept one of the alternatives; to be a British subject and living so, or to leave the island being a Turkish subject. As a result, some 7-8.000 Turkish Cypriots immigrate to Turkey. In the same period, British administration bring some restrictions of the mosques, Turkish schools and Turkish flag, and forbids to hoist Turkish flag in national activities such as 19th May, 29th October, to celebrate the bairams, and to bring Turkish books from Turkey;

“... There were more than 23 secondary schools on the island. British administration permits only one secondary school and a high school in Nicosia and appoints someone named Mr. Wood as the school superintendent wounded at Çanakkale. On the other hand, Mr. Wood’s wife is also an Armenian.”

Behind this British plan is a well-organized plan to press particularly on the Turkish Cypriots. Turkish government is aware of what is happening in Cyprus, and detailed reports are taken by means of the consulate in Cyprus. On the other hand, some disqualified 1.300 Armenians from Turkey immigrate to Cyprus to fill out the gap caused by the immigrated Turkish Cypriots. This group is composed of shopkeepers, men of all-trade, and disqualified people in addition to the merchants. The silk weavers, tailors, carpenters, carpet makers, shoe makers, copper master, gold master, silver master, cotton master, silk manufacturers, fur maker, rifle workmen, wool workmen, tin maker, comb masters, furniture masters and the workmen are seen in all the markets. Turkish Cypriot on the island lose all the property due to the debt, lack of administration, waste, immigration and being unable to keep track of the daily conditions“ but the Armenians and the Greek Cypriots take over the fertile fields, farms, barns, dairy and the gardens. Besides, Armenians, and the Greek Cypriots start building houses and the shops next to the commercial areas and the city centers. Ismet Konur being a history teacher tells that period as follows;

“…The government without regarding the future and the past of the Turkish Cypriots commits some activities damaging Turkish people especially recently, and causes certain unjust. And disregarding 65.000 Turkish Cypriots lower than a group of a few thousand Armenians; the government regards Turkish people as if it is zero. That’s not all. The Armenians have also participated and the Turkish official posts have turned over to them. Now there are lots of Armenian officials in the administration. So we do naturally accept the presence of Armenian official in the committee of the classification of the workers. But this is not the problem; the problem is how they behave us. Nobody thinks that this commission is by chance established. Because the members of the commission are 1 Armenian, 1 Greek Cypriot, and 1 British...”

The commercial life is gradually in the hands of the Armenian merchants from then. There are also a few photographers, publishers, mechanics, furniture makers between the Armenians who immigrated the island later. Being bilingual, cunning intelligence in administrative works, lots of Armenians start getting works in so many different ways such as the banking, court, private companies, police department and the military. Then lots of doctors, journalists, engineers, architects, veterinarians, psychiatric start running their own enterprises, and they turn to be the employer. Because Turkish Cypriots disappear due to so many different reasons, British administration supply new work fields with the Armenians as teachers, military personnel, and more with the obligation of English language. What is more interesting here is that some political problems minor or not occur between the Armenians themselves The rich Armenians supported by the British administration do their best to discharge such people out of the island and supply even financial assistance for them.

Another Armenian that we see in this period in Nicosia is Baron Amerya who is a lawyer defending Sait Molla, the member of the Association of England Friends, against the journalist Mehmet Remzi Okan and his journal named Söz. Baron Amerya is also the neighbor the journalist. In the official case caused by Mehmet Remzi Okan’s article the British court sentences M. Remzi Okan to a two-month sentence. Söz has also to shut down for three months since M. Remzi Okan is sentenced at Kyrenia Castle after 4th July 1926. Additionally, Baron Amerya tries to sequestrate the journal, and demands a large amount of money. The debt is paid and the journal starts appearing again.
The first Armenian school in Nicosia opens in 1887 with the financial assistance of the Armenians from Egypt, England, and France. Later on, Krikor and Garabed Melkonyan brothers who were born in Turkey supply financial support and establish a center that is known as Melkonian Institute in 1924. There are more than 100 students in the school from twenty countries starting with Greece, Iran, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and the USA. And some 1.500 students make use of the school. The school closes down in 2005. Armenian Union known, as AYMA do the Armenians establish the school in 1934?

ARMENIANS IN CYPRUS AFTER WWII
Close and friendly relations of the Armenians AND Turkish Cypriots continue increasing in the light of good companionship. The Armenians who came to the island after 1915 speak perfect Turkish;
“...Turkish Cypriots have always respected the Armenians. In the Turkish sectors of Cyprus, there is always sympathy for the Armenians. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots from that generation have spent their childhood with their Armenian friends here. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots have been classmates with the Armenians at The British school, American College. Lots of Armenians have even today properties in Turkish sector of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots take care of all these properties...”

Another activity spread all over the island by means of The British school is the scouting. Turkish High School with its director ?smail Hikmet accelerates the activities everywhere. A group of 30-40 people start some different activities to get some money. What they do is the same with what the Armenians do; to sell minor items such as the socks, sockets, match etc on the street. Some competitions are arranged between the schools in Nicosia Atalasa.
Majority of the business is still run by the Armenian merchants. Armenians have typical commercial characteristics as the people from Kayseri do. They are very strict and miser, and they don’t enjoy spending much, do their best to increase the capital with no risk. They are never bored and not lazy to work. More important, they have a very strict relation between themselves;

“...Armenian horsemen would take a tour on the streets. They were loved a lot since they never wanted the payment in advance and cash. Armenian buys only from the Armenians, Turks both from the Armenians and the Turks. There was no Armenian beggar on Nicosia streets. They had schools in Nicosia and in Larnaca. Armenians were the agency of British cars and Riley cycles. Steam repairing and peddling then finalize to be Armenian rich merchants...”

Armenians attending Private Italian school, The British School, and American Academy in Larnaca prefer to make friends with the Turkish Cypriots, not with the Greek Cypriots. Even if they are good friends with the Turkish Cypriots, for shopping, their preference is the Armenian merchants and the sellers;

“...For example, there used to be a coffee house at Sarayönü near Şükrü Kaya’s barber shop once. The Armenian sitting by us used to stand up all of a sudden saying ‘Let me go and buy a pack of cigarette’ and used to buy it from the Armenian seller. Although the cigarette is sold in the coffee house, and he is said to buy it from the coffee house, he used to say ‘No.’ and used to go away from Sarayönü to Paphos Gate to buy. We of course used to talk about this situation there. We used to emphasize that Turkish Cypriots never supported each other. This is one of the messages I never forget from my childhood...”

Armenian shopping from the Armenian shops and backing each other is well known by the Turkish Cypriots as well;
“I know the Armenians shop from the Armenian sellers not from the Turkish shopkeepers even to buy a box of match away. Almost everybody in Cyprus knows that most of the shops at Arasta Nicosia belong to the Armenians. We also knew that most of the shops at ‘the longest road of Nicosia’ also belonged to the Armenians. It is also a fact that all the Armenians living in Cyprus speak Turkish better than the Turkish people do.”

As soon as the business is taken over by the Armenians, so many shops having the signs with the words ending ”-ian” start emerging all over the island. There are so many shops with the name of Garabian, Menokian, Damadian, and Malukian. The essential jeweler shops, the tailors, photographers, carpet dealers, street sellers are almost the Armenians, and they have the Turkish traditions to live with;

“...They used to speak Turkish better than the Turks did. The old ones didn’t know Armenian language. These Armenians who have lived with us adapted Turkish traditions, liked the Turkish foods, and eaten. They used to enjoy Turkish music. They have had famous composers and the musicians as well. When they first came to the island as the immigrants, the British authority rented them the empty houses, and dwelled a few families in one. When they got used to Cyprus, they started to try getting money and running their own works. They were all spread to Larnaca, Limassol, and Famagusta, but majority was in Nicosia. Then they got the agency of many items such as the car, bicycle, households, and cameras. Carpets, cotton, and more… They again started living Dolce Vita here...”

One of the well-known families in Nicosia is the Uzunyans. This family imports the first automobile and many households to the island. In addition to the newly appeared architectural situation of the island, talent young musicians start appearing especially in art and music, one of whom is the artist playing lute, named Ke?am Celalyan. The musicians playing Turkish music also take part in the chorus, and the groups as well. Ke?am Celalyan participates in lots of TV and radio programs with Zeki Taner, and Mustafa Kenan up to December 1963. Another Armenian musician named Vahan Bedelyan, his students Manuk Parikian, Levon Çilingiryan, and Hartun Bedelyan, as well as piano teacher Sirvart Çilingirian, cardiolog Vatçe Kalbiyan, author Ohannes ?öhmeliyan, very famous shirt maker Stefan Harutunyan from Larnaca, Vahe Nigogosiyan who firstly brought the cinema to the island, painter Vartan Ta?ç?yan are also remarkable people. Besides, the lawyer and the historian Nubar Maksutyan writes articles about Cyprus in Turkish journals and the magazines in 1940s.

TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND THE ARMENIANS IN NICOSIA
Majority of the Armenians living and working in Nicosia prefer to live at Arap Ahmet, Yediler, Korkut Efendi District and at Victoria Street. Some rich and wealthy Turkish officials, and families also live in the same area. Another area that the Armenians mostly prefer is Kö?klüçiftlik District. The Armenian houses here have typical Armenian style and all are built with the yellow stones. One of those Armenians having a good friendship with the Turkish Cypriots is Vahan Bedelyan who is the music teacher at Nicosia Turkish High School. On the other hand, Vahan Bedelyan who tries to do his best to train the Turkish students is discharged from the school with no reason; so Turkish people react against this situation;

“We have unfortunately heard of some teachers explaining why this dear music teacher of the school band, Bedelyan Efendi was all of a sudden discharged from the school. Those teachers seeming to be the mouth of the school director left us in pain...”

Bedelyan Efendi nevertheless doesn’t leave the music and continues to teach the students. There are also some water ewer makers in Arasta and Bandabuliya of Nicosia. Additionally, the most interesting work carried out by the Armenians is about the ‘lokmac?l?k’. The round-like dessert named lokma is mostly known and given away particularly during the holy bairams in the Aegean area. The small lokmac? shop run by an Armenian family goes on working till December 1963. Due to the blockade and the restrictions at Ledra Avenue, then the area is now known as Lokmac? Barikat? in Cyprus dividing Nicosia into two parts;

“...At Lokmac? Barikat?, in Arasta, there were Armenians selling wools and cotton. They would trust us a lot, and we would go shopping there. I have worked in Greek Cypriot sector in the British canteens for more than 18 months. I have had some Armenian friends working together. I have had Armenian friends in Turkish sector as well. I have also had friends working in Greek Cypriot sector. Her mother was a teacher. They were very good people. They were also frightened so we would go to work getting frightened. There were lots of Armenian sellers in the market. We would buy everything we needed from them. Our yogurt seller was also an Armenian.

Our neighbor Mrs. Sirvat was a good lady. She would visit us in our holy bairams; bring some gifts. My mother worked for them for years. Mrs. Sirvat would send some packs of cigarette for my father too. They were just Turkish friends. My mother worked for them till 1960s. Then this family went to London.”

Since they were exported from Tripoli, so the soap known as the soap of Tripoli is mostly used to wash the death, and accepted to be something holy. A clever Armenian master named Kasparian firstly produces the soap in Cyprus, and then the Turks also start producing the same soap;

“The only item to clean the body once was the soap. As well as the Turkish and Greek Cypriot soap makers, there used to be an Armenian soap maker whose soap would sell like hot cakes in Cyprus. What I remember from my childhood is Ali Efendi and Kasparian. Kaspariyan’s house and his shop was at Avni Efendi Street near Karaka? Garden in Nicosia, belonging to Memduh Fuat Bey... Two-story house positioned between the east and the west. Entering from the main gate at Avni Efendi Street, the floor and some part of the first floor were the workshop. His widow sister and her two daughters lived in the rest of the second floor. The main entrance for the house with a big garden was at Laleli Camii Street. Who was Kaspariyan? Kaspariyan, who was born and bred in Anatolia, lived with Turkish bread, is an Armenian...The Armenians leaving Turkey spread over many countries... As far as my father told, some Armenians have covered the oil tins filling with the gold... Kasparian was one of those Armenians running from Turkey... Kaspariyan would produce soap using primitive methods with mineral water and the olive oil. He would sell it by decorating with the picture of Aphrodite... I would go to Kaspariyan workshop in my childhood, and get the soap deposits. While producing the soap, some deposits would appear aside. The women would use this item in addition to the soap since it was very economical. Kaspariyan would fill the containers cheaply. Kaspariyan left us after the inter-communal dispute in 1963. He moved to the other sector of Nicosia with his family. He gave the house and the workshop to a Turkish family to care of for himself. He was already very rich, and then he built houses there, made her sister’s daughters marry. His two-story house turned to be ruins, and demolished by the municipality. Now there is no evidence from Kasparyan house and the workshop... ”

There is always no snow in Cyprus except the Trodos Mountains, but an Armenian introduces the icy slush composed of grape heavy syrup named “kar ho?af?” to Turkish Cypriots Another food imported by Armenian is worldwide famous ‘past?rma’ of Kayseri and produced from the meat of the calves. Past?rma is very popular for the Armenians and the Greek Cypriotsin Cyprus;

“...The Armenians have first time produced the past?rma in Cyprus. When I attended the secondary school, there was a well-known past?rma producer working at the old Kad?nlar (Women) Street, near ?ükrü Veysi’s shop. I also remember another producer from Larnaca very well. I used to pass by that house smelling the taste of sucuk and past?rma...”

In addition to the commercial and cultural life, the social life reflects itself as mutual neighborhood, funeral, wedding, marriage, engagement, circumcision, bairams, and mutual visit are performed, and good wishes are expressed. The neighbors help and support each other;

“...Our Armenian neighbors were very good people. We would visit each other. Our neighbor Victoria’s mother was very ill, and her father was a barber. She was my friend from the same district, and had presented me a wrist chain in addition to a montgomery in 50s. Mrs. Sirvak and her family was also very rich people. They were friendly people. We were like sisters. They used to employ Turkish people in their houses. When the inter-communal dispute appeared in 1963, the Greek Cypriots threatened them to get money, and they were given threat letters, and then they were killed by EOKA members...”


TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND THE ARMENIANS IN FAMAGUSTA
Armenians mostly live in Famagusta as well as Nicosia, and they are mostly the shopkeepers and deal with the commerce;

“There was an Armenian photographer named Agopyan in Famagusta. There were some Armenians selling the cotton by meter, and known as ‘okkac?’. They would speak perfect Turkish. Garabet was also a tailor and a master. There were Armenian tailors. We would get our school hats from them. We as the Turkish Cypriots would prefer to shop from them. There was a very lovely and friendly Armenian in Upper Marash (Varosha), and he would enjoy playing dice with the Turkish people. Having lined the items, he would enjoy grasping one o the. When asked why he did so, he would say ‘If an earthquake happened to occur.’ He never wanted the game to be spoilt. He had no negative opinions against Turkey and Turkish people, but the turmoil started, and he went to other side of Nicosia.”

Turkish public opinion about the Armenians is that they lived in peace with them having no problem no hardship, no prejudice, and no negative aspects;

“...Two of the three bakery belonged to them. There was almost no problem between Turkish and Armenian people. When we attended the primary school, those were the Armenian masters who produced those little candies. They also had football clubs having matches against the Turkish football clubs.”

ARMENIANS AND TURKISH CYPRIOTS IN OTHER PARTS OF CYPRUS
There are less Armenians living in other towns out of Famagusta and Nicosia. They have almost no interest in the agriculture, but the business and the commerce. One of these towns is Lefke being a very abundant source of water;
“...Out of the Greek Cypriots, the town also had a small Armenian colony. Agop who is the most popular Armenian of the town and his brother Tomas’ shop was in the same place of Hüseyin Uskuri’s shop. Their mother, Mrs. Varteni was a white-haired, golden teethed woman in black. She would every afternoon make up, dress, and take a tour in the neighborhood with her purse. Using a nasal Eastern Anatolian accent, she would speak perfect Turkish. Regarding Turkish language, there was no difference between Agop and us. But I remember that Tomas’ wife and his children who lived in Nicosia spoke a different language when they came to Lefka. I don’t know it was Armenian or Greek. I also remember Mrs. Atnis and Ni?an as well. Ni?an had a very big scarf at his nose, so he was named ‘Nose-Eaten Armenian’ here. Were they two different persons or not? I think they were the unfortunate people who left Anatolia after 1915. They were in a way the people of Lefka...”


There are some Turkish and Armenian people working for CMC (Cyprus Mining Cooperation). Armenians have the same work in Lefka as well;

“...The most famous shop of that time was Himonidis’. Agop and Tomas’ shop was also very popular. Tomas was not so lovely, but Agop brother was the soul of the party in Lefka. He would enjoy joking, and smiling. He was a man with no hair. I don’t remember their father. Their mother, Aunt Arteni was also as lovely as Agop and was always available in the afternoon meetings of the women. I don’t know Tomas, but Agop was unable to live here, and immigrated to London. I am hearing that he still has relations with the people from Lefka there.”

There are so many examples in Lefka folkloric life as in the poem named Lefka Murmurings” since they have close relations with the Turkish Cypriots in Lefka;

“3- The palm heats the stokeholes in the houses
Takuyi would have henna at the bath day.
12- Father Ermen would ignore the empty shelves
He would light his cigarette with fago.
29- Lüccan was also teher, the master of the iron maker
He spent all he had in the taverns.
32- Gololambi Garden was famous with its figs
The insects would light the area.
33- Who dared to say anything to Driver Başi Yanni
He would get a cigarette while driving.
34- Butcher Yango was the best
He would scorn everybody except Salih Hafiz
38- Musician Bedros was the must for the weddings
He would start composing after a few drinks.
43- The blind Armenian never forgot the Turks
He would get angry when said Atatürk.
54- Eva was Doctor Kontarini’s daughter as a fairy girl.
She would sell the rolls of the wool looking lovely.
59- Ahilli was the house for the Armenians
The humble would get jealous with them.

In Lefkara, which is in Greek Cypriot sector, Ottoman treasury official Yahya Efendi and his family lived with two daughters named Nevard and Azadui, and a son named Agop. They dealt with the stationery and the photography in the village. Garabet family was also in Lefkara dealing with the tin making and the copper process. Father Garabet has also had some Turkish errand boys to teach them the craftsmanship after himself.

The most composite and the multinational town of the island before 1963 is Kyrenia with Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Armenians, and the Maronites. Limassol is the second city of the island but there are almost no Armenians here. The number of the Armenians here is now about 250. There is a school here belonging to Sourp Kevork Church founded in 1939. Sourp Stephanos Church in Larnaca was also in use after 1909.

The situation for the Turkish people is the same in Larnaca. Hotel management, printing woks, and business are for the Armenians, while the agriculture, container making, fishing belong to the Turkish people. The biggest company of the town is a button factory belonging to an Armenian family. American Academy is a bridge to make the Turkish and Armenians students closer;

“I had very sincere twins friends in 1936-37 term in the academy. We used to play tennis, take a tour together. We had a very sincere teacher of Turkish named Gasuni. We also had a sincere neighbor named the Onnik family. We used to visit each other. I had a very close schoolmate and friend named Antin. Most of the shops we purchased something were in Nicosia. Because my father was a police officer, the sellers used to give me advance to buy what I needed. Armenians had a university in Nicosia, and when I went there, my friends used to care of me.”

SPORTS ACTIVITIES, TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND THE ARMENIANS
Lefko?a Türk Futbol Oca?? founded in 1910 plays the first match against a composite team of Greek Cypriots, Armenians, and the British players in 1916. Cyprus Football Federation founded in 1934 is composed of Apoel, Trust, Olimpiakos ve Nicosia Turkish Sports club from Nicosia, Ael and Aris from Limassol, Epa of Famagusta, and Anorthosis from Famagusta. Then Turkish and Armenian players start playing together in Ael and Epa football clubs. In a tournament arranged in 1938, for example, Turkish High School, Larnaca Greek Cypriot High School, American Academy take part in addition to Melkonian and Samuel Armenian Schools. The Greek Cypriots who always react to the sincere relations between the Armenians and the Turkish people start a commercial sanction against the Armenian business soon after an Armenian team named Kayzak happens to be champion. Unfortunately Kayzak football team stops all its functions then. Starting from 1946-1947 season, the first Armenian football team founded in 1934 named Ayma is taken to the league. Armenians generally are in favor of Turkish teams such as Çetinkaya and Yenicami, and similarly, the Turkish people support the Armenian teams.

The most significant event of this period for both Armenians and Turkish people is that Nicosia composite football team goes to Beirut to have matches in May 1950, and gets two matches resulting (2-2) and (1-1) draw. The team has five Turkish footballers. The first and the last international match performed by the composite team of Cyprus is in Israel. Çetinkaya also has a match against the composite team resulting (4-1) on 3rd March 1954. Israel national team coming to the island on 7th March 1954 defeats the composite team of Cyprus (5-1). The referee of the match is Faik Gökay from Turkey. The second match on 10th March 1954 is also got by Israel (3-2). Cyprus team going to Israel in 4-9th May 1954 has five Turkish footballers in addition to ?andri, Lello, Anastasiades, and Nikui from Apoel, Aram from Epa, Psillo from Omonia Daki from Pezoporikos, Mancallo, Koço, ?aylo from Anorthosis Sarkiz from Ayma. The match between Cyprus and Israel B national team results (2-2) draw on 6th May 1954. Two days later, Israel gets the match (2-1).

CYPRUS REPUBLIC, ARMENIANS AND TURKISH CYPRIOTS
Just after the proclamation of Republic of Cyprus, the number of the Armenians is 3.628. 2.500 Armenians are in Nicosia, 800 in Larnaca, 250 Famagusta, and the rest is in the small villages. The Maronites, Latin, and Armenians are supposed to be religious groups officially, and a referendum is arranged. 1.077 Armenians vote to be Greek subject, and 5 to be Turkish subject. Naturally, Armenian society makes use of the rights granted by the law and annex to the Greek Cypriot society. Because most of the Armenians are merchants, and craftsmen, and have property, workshops, and estates in the Greek Cypriot sector, the immigration accelerates towards there. The main reason for the immigration is the Greek Cypriots’ attacks on the Turkish people, indeed. Nevertheless, some seven families prefer to live in the Turkish sector. On the other hand, Turkish Cypriots are not disappointed with the last result of the referendum and the relation continues as it was before. EOKA increases the pressure upon the people, and the Armenian families who are unable to pay money are forced to leave the island. The first group to leave the island contains some 200 families. The women of the Petrosyan and the Chakarian families trying to resist against the threats are beaten, raped and killed by EOKA members. Luiza Bedrosyan and her mother Samandciyan Bedrosyan living in Greek Cypriot sector of Nicosia are killed at home brutally since they refused to pay the money demanded by EOKA on 26th February 1964. In addition, an old Armenian woman named Yebruhi Lusarriyan’s home is broken into. The EOKA members being unable to kidnap her gets a fire, steals everything at home, and disappears then. The only negative Armenian person against the Turkish Cypriots is an employee working at Beli?pa?a and Zafer cinemas. When he is known to be a messenger to the Greek Cypriots during 1963 events, he is discharged out of the area.

As soon as the Greek Cypriots start the attacks in the light of Akritas Plan against the Turkish people after 20 December 1963, not only Turkish people but also Armenians are also influenced negatively. Most Armenians who refuses the EOKA demands, who don’t obey EOKA rules are killed; their houses and shops are ambushed, bombed, threatened to death. That Archbishop Makarios starts enlisting the Armenian young people causes the reactions and Armenian people wants Makarios to stop this decision at once.

Greek Cypriots’ and Greek provocative politics increasingly continues. Especially after 21st December 1963, Greek Cypriot and Greek journals on purpose go on provoking Armenians against Turkish Cypriots publishing prejudiced articles and the news on 1915 events. Since the provocations continue, Turkish Cypriots start a counter movement so as to stop the degeneration of a national case on purpose. Special hearings are arranged in Cyprus assembly in which there is no Turkish representative after 21st December 1963 due to the 50th year of 1915 events, and special delegations get communication with the Armenian authorities. Because the provocations increase negatively against the Armenians in Cyprus, Armenian leaders come together, and giving good examples of the people living together in peace for years in Turkey, and moderation is advised. Because an Armenian named Berch Tilbian makes an explanation accusing Turkey, an Armenian lady named Nurshak Nalbantyan expresses her own ideas as follows; Turks have always shared their food with me. Is it of use to irritate the events occurred fifty years ago? The only reason against the Turks is the Greek threats.” Meanwhile another Armenian woman named Victoria Kamyan says “...we had better not talk about the events happened fifty years before. Berch Tilbian was born in Cyprus. How can he know these events? How can he forget the brutal death of the Armenian women living in the Greek Cypriot sector? Greek Cypriots are free to force the people to talk as they want, but to talk about fifty years before is not so good. Artin Idoyan and his wife making an explanation in the same day says that Turkish language is their own language, they live together in peace, despite the hardship, Turkish people help them. Makar Cherchadian threatened by EOKA loses his spare parts shop due to the arson and explosion in Famagusta on 14th August 1965. Armenians are in dilemma not knowing what to do against EOKA attacks;

“Armenians who have never expected such pressure and terror reluctantly turn to be a means of Greek Cypriots’ political propaganda, and some have had to make explanations, and arranged meetings against Turkish people on TV or in the newspapers. Although this is known that Armenians are forced to do so, the other Armenians in Turkish sector of Nicosia accept to protest such behaviors as a humanistic attitude, and has explained their feelings giving advertisements in the newspapers on 25th April 1965.Some Armenians have collaborated with the Greek Cypriots in the very first days of the events, and informed them using the wireless systems and the radios they had to kill Turkish people... On the other hand, Turkish people have never shown hatred against Armenians, because Turks and Armenians have lived together brotherly in peace. Turkish people have again behaved brotherly Armenians who went on living in Turkish sector after December 1963 events, helped them in all manners... ”

Leaving their all the property in Turkish sector, and leaving themselves in the mercy of EOKA members, Armenians establish a board of nine people named “Armenian Property Owners Who Immigrated”. Armenians can’t resist against the EOKA threats more and start moving to Greek sector first, and the United Kingdom, the USA, France, and Canada then.

RESULT
After 1915 in which Armenians start coming to the island mostly, there almost occurs no problem between Turks and Armenians. Turkish Cypriots and Armenians have had no name solidarity against Greek Cypriots on the island, showing good examples of good friendship, brotherhood, peace, and harmony. The total population of the Armenian society in Cyprus throughout the history has varied between 150-3.000. The only exception of the population increasing up to 8.000 is after the foundation of Legion D’Orient in Cyprus again in 1916. Because most of these Armenian families have gone abroad later, the population comes down to the average level of 3.000 or so.

During the violation caused by EOKA attacks after 21st December 1963, the protection of Armenian property left in Turkish sector is given granted by Cyprus Turkish Forces Regiment as well as Turkish Cypriots. Some 2.000 Armenians have been living completely in Greek Cypriot sector of the island trying to exist their ethnical identity. Both Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey always show good will for the Armenians. The last example of such good will is that the old Armenian property left in Turkish sector after 20th July peace Operation, and Melikian Ouzounian primary school as well as Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church will be delivered to the Armenian authorities after the restoration.


Dr. Ulvi Keser
Source: © Erciyes University 2006




Turkish-Armenian Social Life And Relations In Cyprus
Assoc Prof Dr. Ulvi KESER
Maltepe Askeri Lisesi Komutanlıgı 35310 Güzelbahçe Izmir

INTRODUCTION
Cyprus, being a very rich and old island throughout the history1, is the biggest island of the Eastern Mediterranean with 9,251 km2 in area, and the third in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia.2 Cyprus is thought to have originally gotten its name from a common and indigenous flower called Kypros3, named after Kiniros’ daughter in mythology, Kipris, or from “cuprum” which means copper in Latin, since the island had rich deposits of copper. Some sources also indicate that the island got

1 Gülay Öğün, “Kıbrıs’ta İslam Hakimiyeti ve Selçuklular Zamanında Kıbrıs İle Ticaret İlişkileri”, Eastern Mediterranean University, Kıbrıs’ın Dünü Bugünü Uluslararası Sempozyumu, Nicosia, 1991, p. 29.
2 Atilla Atan, ”Kıbrıs-Yeni Bir Türk Devletinin Doğuşu”, Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi, No. 14, Ankara, April 1986, p.56.
3 Sir George Hill, A History Of Cyprus, Volume I, Cambridge University Press, 1949, p. 1. Halil Fikret Alasya, Kıbrıs Tarihi Ve Kıbrıs’ta Türk Eserleri, Ankara, 1964, p.13. Robin Parker, Aphrodite’s Realm, Zavallis Press, Nicosia, 1962, p. 9.


its name from salted ox skin.4 The island, being called by many names throughout the ages, such as Yadana, Kittim, Cypr, and Zubar,5 is a key point between Europe, Asia, and Africa, depending on its geopolitical position.6 Regarding its geographical, physical, cultural, and folkloric aspects, the island is a part of Anatolia.7

Even if the Phoenicians, Aegeans, and the Europeans had sometimes dwelled on the island, the ethnic majority of the island is mostly composed of the people who emigrated from the region of Anatolia.8 Armenians are also known to have lived on the island since the 6th century.9 In addition, between 395-1191, 3,000 Armenian soldiers under the command of Armenian King Morris came to the island.

The island named Cyprus has been the craddle of a variety of civilizations throughout the history. Despite the fact that the island got conqured by the Ottomans in 1571, Turks, Armenians, Maronites, Greek Cypriots, and Jews have all lived together for years and in peace. The purpose of this article to show the relation between Turkish and Armenian people up to, in particular, 1963.

It is said that the Armenians, Greek Cypriots, and the Maronites10 lived as if they were Venetian slaves after the Venetian after the Venetian occupation of the island in March 1489 due to the social, cultural, and economical unjustice. After the 1571 Ottoman conquest, under Orthodox

4 Lawrence Durrel, Acı Limonlar; Kıbrıs-1956, İstanbul, Belge Pub. September 1992, p. 27.
5 Ahmet Özyurt, ”Hep Sıcak Bir Ada; Kıbrıs”, Atlas Dergisi, No. 15, İstanbul, June 1994, p. 32.
6 Pierre Oberling, The Cyprus Tragedy, Rüstem and Brothers Press Pub., Nicosia, 1989, p. 3.
7 BA. 030.01.64.394.7.
8 Afif Erzen, “Kıbrıs Tarihine Bir Bakış”, Türk Kültürünü Araştırma Enstitüsü, Milletlerarası Birinci Kıbrıs Tetkikleri Kongresi, Ankara, 1971, p. 82.
9 www.http.cyprup.gov.cy/cyphome.
10 Arif Alagöz, ”Kıbrıs Tarihine Coğrafi Giriş”, Milletlerarası Birinci Kıbrıs Tetkikleri Kongresi Türk Heyeti Tebliğleri, Türk Kültürünü Araştırma Enstitüsü, Ankara, 1971, p. 25.


and Greek pressure,11 they were all given freedom. During the conquest of Nicosia on September 9, 1570, the Armenians helped the Turkish soldiers open the Paphos Gate.12 Armenian help and their interest for the Turkish soldiers landing on Cyprus are very remarkable.13

Subsequent to the conquest, according to the census and registration, except for women and children, the number of the people between 14 and 50 appears to be 85,000 Armenians, Greek Cypriots, Maronites, and Gypsies.14 Turkish tolerance after the conquest appears to be a balanced and fair administration.15 These Ottoman non-Muslim subjects started living in peace, depending on the rights given. The Ottoman period never became oppressive or tyrannical. With balance, toleration and harmony, Armenians and Turkish Cypriots lived in a peaceful and secure atmosphere. The Armenians who paid their taxes regularly and carried out their obligations had the freedom to perform their religious rites in their own churches, to use their own languages and to take their problems to the Ottoman administration. The people who reacted to Ottoman administration were only the Greek Cypriots.16

11 Hilmi Kılgın, ”Tarihsel Perspektif İçinde Enosis Hareketine Bir Bakış”, Güvenlik Kuvvetleri Dergisi, Nicosia, July 1987, No. 2, p. 25.
12 Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church near Paphos Gate is an ancient site today.. It is a very historical site in Nicosia belonging to Signor Hayrabed Melikian is family, has more than 40 rooms and beautiful arches, but unfortunately has been left to be demolished today. Strategical situation of the church turns it to be an important military base for the Grek Cypriots especially after to 1963 events. The report dated 30 January 1964. Turkish Cypriot National Archive (KTMA), File (K) No.61, 1970-E. Papouran, Kipros Gueghzi, 1903, p.63 ve 68 by Sir George Hill, A History Of Cyprus, Volume I, Cambridge University Press, 1949, p. 3.
13 Robert Stephens, Cyprus-A Place Of Arms, Pall Mall Press Pub.,Londra, 1966, p.36
14 Arhimandrit Kiprianos, Excerpta Cypria: Istria Hronoloiki Tis Nisu Kibro, Venedik, 1788,.345.
15 Armenian lawyer and poet Nubar Maksutyan also explains the good examples of such toleration in Cyprus and emphasizes that Turks never used the holy places as barn, store, or the depots before 1570. Soup Megar monastery is a good example for this situation. Used as the salt depot for years, it was turned over again to the Armeniaans, some privileges were given with no tax payment. Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Kıbrıs’ta Türkler 1570-1878, Cyrep Pub., December 2000, Nicosia, p. 398-399.
16 Nazım Beratlı, Lefke Sevgilim, Işık Kitabevi Pub., April 2002, Nicosia, p. 25.


In 1873, Ottoman annalist and historian Abdurrahman Şeref described the general characteristics of the Armenians, not only in Cyprus but also in Anatolia as follows:

Since Armenians are friendly, not quarrelsome and modest, they have dealt with commerce, works, and craftsmanship. Paying their taxes on time and obeying the rules completely, they have had no difficulty against the government. Due to their modest characteristics and life-style, they have easily adapted to the Turkish way of life. Just like bone and meat, they have turned out to be the people sharing the same interest as well. So, the government has believed and trusted in them.17

Although the Armenians, Greek Cypriots, and the Maronites18 lived in Kormakitis, Aromatos, and Karpazia villages after the Venetian occupation of the island in 14th March 1489, as Hellenic slaves under the pressure of Orthodox and Greek pressure,19 they are all given an exact freedom after 1571 Ottoman conquest, and the same situation continues up to the British period. During the conquest of Nicosia on 9th September 1570, The Armenians help the Turkish soldiers open the gate named Paphos Gate20 Armenian help and the interest for the Turkish soldiers landing on Cyprus is very remarkable.21 Subsequent to

17 Bayram Kodaman, “Üç Ermeni Şarkısı ve Ermenilerin Türklere Bakışı 1891-1990”, Eastern Mediterranean University, Kıbrıs’ın Dünü Bugünü Uluslararası Sempozyumu, Eastern Mediterranean University Pub., Nicosia, 1991, p. 107.
18 Arif Alagöz, ”Kıbrıs Tarihine Coğrafi Giriş”, Milletlerarası Birinci Kıbrıs Tetkikleri Kongresi Türk Heyeti Tebliğleri, Türk Kültürünü Araştırma Enstitüsü, Ankara, 1971, p. 25.

19 Hilmi Kılgın, ”Tarihsel Perspektif İçinde Enosis Hareketine Bir Bakış”, Güvenlik Kuvvetleri Dergisi, Nicosia, July 1987, No. 2, p. 25.
20 Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church near Paphos Gate is an ancient site today.. It is a very historical site in Nicosia belonging to Signor Hayrabed Melikian family has more than 40 rooms and beautiful arches, but unfortunately left to be demolished today. Strategical situation of the church turns it to be an important military base for the Grek Cypriots especially after 1963 events. The report dated 30 January 1964. Turkish Cypriot National Archive (KTMA), File (K) No.61, 1970-E. Papouran, Kipros Gueghzi, 1903, p.63 ve 68 by Sir George Hill, A History Of Cyprus, Volume I, Cambridge University Press, 1949, p. 3.
21 Robert Stephens, Cyprus-A Place Of Arms, Pall Mall Press Pub.,Londra, 1966, p.36


the conquest, census and the registration, except for the women and the children, the number of the people between 14-50 appears to be 85.000 Armenians, Greek Cypriots, Maronites, and the Gypsy.22 Turkish tolerance after the conquest appears to be a balanced and fair administration.23 Non-Muslim people living in Ottoman Empire are named to be “ehl-i zimmet”. This Ottoman Non-Muslim subject just after the conquest of the island start living in peace depending on the rights given. Ottoman period never turns to be a rough and tyrannical process with no pressure.

With a balanced, tolerated administration in harmony, Armenians and the Turkish Cypriots live in a super neighborhood atmosphere. The Armenians paying their taxes regularly, carrying out the obligations have the freedom to perform their own religious performances in their own temples, to use their own languages, to transfer their problems in Armenian language to the Ottoman administration. The people who react this situation are only the Greek Cypriots as follows; Surprisingly, the Armenians in Lefka used to prefer to be mostly with Turks not with the Greek Cypriots. If not necessary, they never talked about the events which occurred in Anatolia, and never used to have hatred toward us. Or do I remember so? When my late father went to London one year before his death, Agop went to see my father, spending hours with him; therefore, what I remember is not wrong. 24

Further, Professor Edward Daniel Clarke of Cambridge University, visiting the island in June 1801, expressed his opinions about the Armenians as follows:25 “…Being a rich Armenian merchant, Sarkis’

22 Arhimandrit Kiprianos, Excerpta Cypria: Istria Hronoloiki Tis Nisu Kibro, Venedik, 1788,.345.
23 Armenian lawyer and poet Nubar Maksutyan also explains the good examples of such toleration in Cyprus and emphasizes that Turks never used the holy places as the barn, store, or the depots as used before 1570. Soup Megar Monastery is a good ezample for this situation. Used as the salt depot for years, it is turned over again to the Armeniaans, some privileges are given with no tax payment. Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Kıbrıs’ta Türkler 1570-1878, Cyrep Pub., December 2000, Nicosia, p. 398-399.
24 Nazım Beratlı, Lefke Sevgilim, Işık Kitabevi Yay., Nisan 2002, Lefkoşa, s. 25.
25 Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Kıbrıs’ta Türkler 1570-1878, Cyrep Pub., December 2000, Nicosia, p. 399.


house carries the highest standard of the oriental magnificence. It is just like a palace. The rooms are not only large and spacious, but decorated with a well-thought kindness and grace. The floor is full of embroidered pillows.” Foreign explorers were influenced by the social life of the rich Armenians and the Greek Cypriots. Mariti, for example, says, about the Covered Bazaar/Bedesten, “This is the market of the prominent Turkish, Greek Cypriots, and Armenian merchants.”26

British Colonial Minister Chamberlain also explaines his opinions about the dwelling of the Armenians in Cyprus: “Armenians are not loved by the Greek Cypriots living on the island. Therefore, to get a colony composed of Armenians immigrants here will not be welcomed by the society.”27

The Armenians, having been tortured and dominated by the Greek Cypriots throughout the years, preferred living with the Turks and establishing good relations. The people living and having shops in the same areas bought and sold property to each other. Ali Ağa and Osman Ağa in Nicosia sold a house to Armenian bellows-maker brothers named Bogos and Bedros, and in Debbağhane District, Mehmed bin Mustafa sold his shop, costing 800 kurush, to bellows-maker Aaci Gavriyel.28

Although this is an example reflecting “the art of living together well,” some problems did occur. For example, in the 1800’s El hac Hasan and El hac Mehmed sent a letter of complaint to Istanbul about two Armenian brothers named Serkiz and Artin in Nicosia, accusing them of seizing their goods without the right to do so, and damaging the goods.29 During the Ottoman period, Armenian translators, knowing Turkish, Greek Cypriot, and English, started working not only in the Ottoman palace in Istanbul, but also in Cyprus. These translators, working till the 1821 Greek Revolt, performed official business between the Ottoman

26 Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Ibid, p. 400.
27 CO.67/101/21466’dan Salahi R. Sonyel’s article in New Cyprus Magazine (November 1986) transferred by Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Kıbrıs’ta Türkler 1570-1878, Cyrep Pub., December 2000, Nicosia, p. 399.
28 Nuri Çevikel, Kıbrıs’ta Osmanlı Mirası, 47 Numara Pub., April 2006, İstanbul, p. 198.
29 Nuri Çevikel, Ibid, p. 198.


government and the Cyprus Governor-General, and had special privileges and the rights. Then, the translators did nothing but translations, and were hindered from interfering with the official authority.30 H. A. Ütücüyan, working as a Turkish translator for the British administration in 1900s on the island, is a well-known one.31

In the meantime, subsequent to the Gülhane Hatt-ı Hümayunu (Imperial Decree) dated 1839, the Armenians received the opportunity to represent themselves, and the Armenians and the Maronites started sending a representative to the Board (that is to say; Divan) led by Kaymakam who was appointed from Istanbul.32

In 1841, there were 75-76,000 Greek Cypriots, 32-33,000 Turkish Cypriots, 1,200-1,300 Maronites, about 50 European Roman-Catholics, and about 150-160 Armenians on the island. In the 1881 census, the number of the Armenians was 154.33

ARMENIANS DURING BRITISH ADMINISTRATION

Because the island belonged to the Ottoman Empire, the island had a great strategic importance for British interest in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and India. There was only one negative aspect.

After the Yeşilköy Agreement signed on March 3, 1878,34 England, so as to stop Russian advance, gave an offer of assistance to the Ottoman Empire35 and wanted to take over Cyprus temporarily.36 The Ottoman Foreign Minister Safvet Pasha and British Ambassador Ostan Henry

30 Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Kıbrıs’ta Türkler 1570-1878, Cyrep Pub., December 2000, Nicosia, p. 330 ve 358.
31 Ahmet An, “Kıbrıs Ermenileri” Tarih ve Toplum, October 2000, No. 202, p.30.
32 Ahmet An, Kıbrıs Türk Kültürü Üzerine Yazılar, Kıvılcım Pub., No.5, August 1999, Nicosia, p.24.
33 The number of the Armenian population is as follows; Nicosia 88, Orini 5, Değirmenlik 2, Famagusta 1, Limassol 6, Larnaca 14, Paphos 1,Kyrenia 37, totally
154. The population in 1921 is 1.197, 3.337 in 1931. Haşmet Muzaffer Gürkan, Galeri Kültür Pub., 1996, Nicosia, p.33-34 and 91.
34 Mufassal Osmanlı Tarihi, 6.Cilt, İstanbul, 1963, p.3224-3227.
35 Colin Thubron, Journey Into Cyprus, Middlesex, 1986, p.217
36 Uluslararası İlişkiler Ajansı, Kıbrıs Gerçeğinin Bilinmeyen Yönleri, Pub.,İstanbul, 1992, p.24.


Layard make an agreement and sign the two-article agreement on June
4, 187837 at the Yıldız Palace.38 Then, the island, costing 92,986 pounds
annual rent, was taken from “its motherland”39 and given to England.
In other words, England collected the money from Cyprus to pay the
rent.40

The First World War

Subsequent to the 1909 Adana events, some Armenians left Anatolia and came to Cyprus, so the Armenian population grew to 8,000. They started living in Armenahor village in Limassol, Armenu village in Paphos, Spathariko village in Famagusta, and Kornokepos village in Kyrenia.41 The second Armenian rush to the island came after the 1915 events42 in Istanbul; and after the 1921 Ankara Agreement with French

37 İbrahim Artuç, Kıbrıs’ta Savaş ve Barış, Kastaş Pub., İstanbul, 1989, p.31.
38 Achille Emilianides, Histoire De Cyprus, Paris, 1963, p.90.
39 Fedai Harid, Müsevvid-zade Avukat Osman Cemal, Adsız Kitap, KKTC Milli Eğitim, Kültür, Gençlik Ve Spor Bakanlığı Pub.,, 35.
40 Salahi R.Sonyel, ”İngiltere Dışişleri Bakanlığı Belgelerine Göre: Osmanlı Padişahı Abdülhamit 48 Saat İçinde Kıbrıs’ı İngilizlere Nasıl Kiraladı?”,Belleten, Cilt XLII, No. 165-168, Ankara, 1978, p.741.
41 Ahmet An, Kıbrıs Türk Kültürü Üzerine Yazılar, Kıvılcım Pub., No.5, August 1999, Nicosia, p.14.
42 The Armenians living in peace in Otttoman Empire more than 700 years have started to be the pain in the neck especially after 1890s, and some imperialistic countries such as Russia, England, and France have continued itching this issue continuously. As soon as the First World War broke out, lots of turmoil have also started to come to the surface in Anatolia. The measures adopted by the Ottoman Empire during this period to stop this violence were presented to the rest of the world under a completely different light and the Armenians, misguided by the promises and instigation of the Western Powers started to undermine the country where they had led a privileged life more than almost a thousand years.

The Hinchak, Tashnak, Toward Armenia, Young Armenians, Union and Salvation, Ramgavar, Paramilitaries, Black Cross societies and Hinchak Revolutionary Committee, which were established out of Anatolia, formed organisations urging the people for an armed revolt. These activities were the bloody uprisings that cost thousands of Turkish and Armenian lives. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire was fighting against Russian armies in Eastern Anatolia, where the Armenian revolt was at its peak; and also against Armenian forces which supported the Russians. On the other hand, behind the lines it had to continue to fight against Armenian guerrillas that were burning Turkish villages and towns


government, some of the Armenians leaving Çukurova started coming to the island. Additionally, Turkish soldiers mostly captured at the Çanakkale Front by the British Forces were taken to Cyprus to Karakol POW Camp after October 1916.43 In addition to the POW camp established by the British military forces on the island, Frech authority established another camp named Armenian Legion D’Orient Camp to train the Armenians collected not only from Anatolia, Cyprus, European countries but also from the USA, Argentina, and some more countries. The Armenians in this Armenian camp provided the security of the camp. Although Syrian, Iraqi Arab and Armenian POWs fighting for the Ottoman State were also transferred to this camp, due to the hardships and false propaganda, some POWs left this camp and were brought to the Armenian Camp.44

The Armenian Legion d’Orient established by France in 1916 in Egypt was once more activated, and Armenian people from different areas, so as to fight against Turkish people in Çukurova, were at first and attacking military convoys and reinforcements. In spite of this violence, the Ottoman Empire tried to solve the Armenian problem for months by taking local measures. Meanwhile, an operation was made against the Armenian guerillas and 2345 rebels were arrested for high treason. When it became evident that the Armenian community was also in rebellion against the state, the Ottoman Empire proceeded with the last resort of replacing only those Armenians in the region who actively participated in the rebellion. With this measure, the Ottoman Empire also intended to save the lives of the Armenians who were living in a medium of civil war because Turks started to counter-attack the Armenians who had performed bloody atrocities against Turkish communities.Some Armenians have refused to pay the taxes, some refused to enlist, some riots, caos, and the unavoidable end came closer. The Ottoman Empire being on the brink of being ground zero tried to defend the borders, and some territories ouf of Ottoman Empire together with Germany. The country was lack of military personnel, ammo, logistics, and internal security., therefore the government regarding the situation in Anatolia have taken radical precautions exiling some Armenians. The the tragedy occurred for those exiled Armenian people, some killed, some raped, some lost their lives due to the cold and the hunger, and some robbed on the way. This is a doubledimension issue named “Armenian Issue” nowadays against Turkey.

43 For detailed information, see Ulvi Keser, Ibid, Nicosia,2000.
44 ATASE, K. 2680, D. 210, F. 1-31.



collected in Port-Said, then transferred to Cyprus with their families.45 They were all trained by French officers, and subseqeunt to the training, they were all deployed to Anatolia. After English approval, an area 24 kilometers away from Famagusta, at the seaside with no residences but having water wells, was chosen.46 The closeness of the French Armenian camp to that of the Turkish POWs47 and that the area was used as a training area both by French and British forces, show that both countries had cooperated here as well. British forces, giving at first the approval to open a French camp in Cyprus, supplied the French military personnel with the logistics, helped them build the infrastructure, and helped them about the intelligence and counter-intelligence upon the camp activities.

The single British objection was for the Armenian women and children to be transferred to the island from Port Said.48 According to Legion D’Orient Regulations,49 six legion companies,50 having 200 Armenians each, with a total presence of 5,000??? and 160 Arabic legionnaires.51

Despite the fact that French officers behaved well towards the Armenians52, the tension due to the Armenian criminals ambushing a village called Trikomo and killing a British soldier, raises the tension.53 Additionally, Armenian intelligence and espionage activities made life unbearable on the island.54 The last event caused by the Armenians was that the Turkish POW camp was stoned by the Greek Cypriots helping the Armenians.55 So, the English High Commissioner announced itself

45 See for more information; Ulvi Keser, Kıbrıs 1914-1923 Fransız Ermeni Kampları, İngiliz Esir Kampları ve Atatürkçü Kıbrıs Türkü, Akdeniz Haber Ajansı Pub. No.17, Nicosia, 2000.
46 ATASE, K.2680, D.210, F.1-37, 1-59, 1-60, 1-61, 1-62, 1-63, 1-64, 1-65.
47 ATASE, K.2680, D.210, F.1-37, F.1-59, 1-60, 1-61, 1-62, 1-63, 1-64, 1-65.
48 Can Kapyalı, İbid, p. 108.
49 Ömer Sami Coşar, ”Musa Dağı’nın Öteki Yüzü”, Milliyet, 21 Haziran 1992.
50 Şerafettin Turan, Türk Devrim Tarihi-1, Ankara, November 1991, p. 99.
51 ATASE, K.2680, D.210, F.1-24 ve ATASE, K.2680, D.210, F.1-3.
52 ATASE, K.2680, D.210, F.1-4.
53 Altay No.l, Kıbrıs Polis Tarihi, Nicosia, 1985, p. 258.
54 ATASE, K. 2680, D. 210, F. 1-24.
55 Ali Nesim, ”Mustafa Nuri Efendi”, Yeni Kıbrıs, Nicosia, April 1990, p. 28.


the authority and brought some restrictions.56 Some of these Armenian families living within the French camp don’t leave the island, and continue living in Cyprus.

The preferable places after Armenian immigration were mostly very close to the Turkish residential areas and the Turkish shops. The Turkish people and the Armenians start living close together in Cyprus. The Armenians starting to live in Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta, Nicosia, and Paphos were not ordinary people, but doctors, dentists, veterinarians, bankers, translators, and civil servants. They start to be dominant in the British administration.

Cyprus after the Lausanne Agreement

The Lausanne Agreement was approved by England just after the signing on August 6, 1924.57 The Turkish Cypriots were then required to accept one of the alternatives: to be a British subject and stay on the island, or to leave the island and be a Turkish subject. As a result, some 7-8,000 Turkish Cypriots immigrated to Turkey.58At same time, the British administration put some restrictions on mosques, Turkish schools and the Turkish flag. They forbade the raising of the Turkish flag at national activities, such as May 19 and October 29, to celebrate the holidays.

They also forbade bringing Turkish books from Turkey:59

There were more than 23 secondary schools on the island. British administration permits only one secondary school and a high school in Nicosia and appoints someone named Mr. Wood as the school superintendent who was wounded at çanakkale. On the other hand, Mr. Wood’s wife is also an Armenian.60

56 The Cyprus Gazette, 4 July 1915, No. 9020, Karar No 13067, The Cyprus Gazette, 3 September 1920, Nicosia
57 Murat Sarıca, Erdoğan Teziç, Kıbrıs Sorunu, İstanbul University Faculty of Law Pub.,İstanbul, 1975, p.7.
58 Haşmet Muzaffer Gürkan, Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs’ta, Galeri Kültür Pub.,Nicosia, 1996, p. 91.
59 Interview with the late member of Turkish Resistance Organization (Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı) Limassol staff late Mehmet Y. Manavoğlu on 25th August 2004 in Kyrenia.
60 The above-mentioned lady is the only Armenian person who behaves wildly against Turkish people on the island.


Behind these restrictions was a well-organized plan to put pressure particularly on the Turkish Cypriots.61 The Turkish government was aware of what was happening in Cyprus, and detailed reports were received by means of the consulate in Cyprus.62 Some 1,300 ordinary Armenians from Turkey immigrated to Cyprus to fill the gap caused by the Turkish Cypriots who emigrated. This group was composed of shopkeepers, men of all trades, and ordinary people in addition to the merchants.

Silk weavers, tailors, carpenters, carpet-makers, shoe-makers, coppermasters, gold-masters, silver-masters, cotton-masters, silk manufacturers, fur-makers, rifle workmen, wool workmen, tin-makers, comb-masters, furniture masters, and other workmen were seen in all the markets. Turkish Cypriots on the island lost their property due to debt, lack of administration, waste, immigration and being unable to keep up with the daily conditions,”63 and the Armenians and the Greek Cypriots took over the fertile fields, farms, barns, dairies and gardens. Also, Armenians, and the Greek Cypriots started building houses and shops next to the commercial areas and the city centers. Ismet Konur, a history teacher, explains that period as follows:

The government, without regarding the future and the past of the Turkish Cypriots, commits some activities damaging Turkish people, especially recently, and causes certain unjust acts. And regarding 65,000 Turkish Cypriots lower than a group of a few thousand Armenians, the government regards Turkish people as if it is zero.

That’s not all. The Armenians have also participated and the Turkish official posts have been turned over to them. Now there are many Armenian officials in the administration. So, we do naturally accept the presence of Armenian officials in the committee of the classification of the workers. But this is not the problem; the problem is how they behave toward us. Nobody thinks that this commission is

61 Interview with TMT Limasol staff late Macit Aydınova on 13rd July 2003 in Kyrenia.
62 The Report by Cyprus Consulate of Turkish Republic dated 14th September 1938. BA.030.10.124.887.3.
63 Haşmet Muzaffer Gürkan, Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs’ta, Galeri Kültür Pub., 1996, Nicosia, p.96.


established by chance because the members of the commission are one Armenian, one Greek Cypriot and one British.64

Commercial life was gradually put in the hands of the Armenian merchants. There were also a few photographers, publishers, mechanics and furniture-makers among the Armenians who immigrated to the island later. Being bilingual and clever at administrative work, many Armenians started getting jobs in many different ways, such as in banks, courts, private companies, the police department and the military. Many doctors, journalists, engineers, architects, veterinarians and psychiatrists started running their own enterprises and become employers. Because Turkish Cypriots disappeared for many different reasons, the British administration supplied new fields of work in which the English language was required with Armenians, such as teachers, military personnel and more. What is interesting here is that some political problems occurred between the Armenians themselves. The rich Armenians supported by the British administration did their best to expel the other poor Armenians that seemed to be the problem for the social life off of the island and even supply financial assistance for them to leave.65

An Armenian in Nicosia during this period was Baron Amerya, who was a lawyer defending Sait Molla, a member of the Association of Friends in England, against the journalist Mehmet Remzi Okan and his journal called Söz.66 Baron Amerya was also the neighbor of the journalist. In the official case caused by Mehmet Remzi Okan’s an article insulting the Armenians67, the British court sentenced M. Remzi Okan to a two-month sentence. Söz was also shut down for three months since M. Remzi Okan was sentenced to Kyrenia Castle in July 4, 1926. Additionally, Baron Amerya tried to sequestrate the journal and demanded

64 İsmet Konur, Kıbrıs Türkleri, Remzi Kitabevi, 1938, p.90.
65 The report prepared by Osman Uzunoğlu for Turkish Information Office dated 17th September 1965 named “A Report About Armenians in Cyprus/Kıbrıs Ermenileri Hakkında Bir Rapor”. KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.
66 Ali Nesim, Batmayan Eğitim Güneşlerimiz, KKTC Milli Eğitim ve Kültür Bakanlığı, Nicosia, 1987, p. 82.
67 Ali Nesim, İbid., p. 82.


a large amount of money.68 However, the debt was paid and the journal started appearing again.

The first Armenian school in Nicosia opened in 1887 with the financial assistance of Armenians from Egypt, England and France. Later, Krikor and Garabed Melkonyan, brothers who were born in Turkey, supplied financial support and established a center that was known as the Melkonian Institute in 1924.69 There were more than 100 students in the school from twenty countries, including Greece, Iran, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and the United States.70 Some 1,500 students attended the school. The school closed down in 2005.71

ARMENIANS IN CYPRUS AFTER WWII

Close and friendly relations of the Armenians and Turkish Cypriots continued increasing after World War II. The Armenians who came to the island after 1915 spoke perfect Turkish:

Turkish Cypriots have always respected the Armenians. In the Turkish sectors of Cyprus, there is always sympathy for the Armenians. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots from this generation have spent their childhood with their Armenian friends here. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots have been classmates with the Armenians at the British School and the American College. Many Armenians even today have properties in the Turkish sector of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots take care of all these properties.72

An activity which spread all over the island by means of the British School was scouting. The Turkish High School with its director İsmail Hikmet accelerated the activities everywhere. A group of 30-40 people started different activities to get some money. What they did was the same with what the Armenians did: sell minor items such as socks, sockets,

68 Ali Nesim, İbid., p. 82.
69 www.hayem.org/indekp.htm.
70 Linguist Pars Tuğlacı is also the graduate of this school.
71 www.hayem.org/indekp.htm.
72 Special News Bulletin, 24 April 1965, 2 June 1964 and 5 June 1964, Nicosia. KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.



matches, and other things in the street markets.73 Some competitions
were arranged between the schools in Nicosia Atalasa.

The majority of the businesses were still run by Armenian merchants.

Armenians had typical commercial characteristics as the people from Kayseri did. They were very careful and thrifty; they didn’t enjoy spending much and did their best to increase capital with no risk. They were never bored and not lazy to work. More importantly, they had relations strictly with each other:

Armenian horsemen would take a tour on the streets. They were loved a lot since they never wanted payment in advance and in cash. Armenians buy only from Armenians, Turks both from the Armenians and the Turks. There was no Armenian beggar on the Nicosia streets. They had schools in Nicosia and in Larnaca. The Armenians were the agency of British cars and Riley cycles, steam repairing and peddling, and then, finally, there are rich Armenian merchants.74

Armenians attended the private Italian School, the British School, and the American Academy in Larnaca and preferred to make friends with the Turkish Cypriots, not with the Greek Cypriots.75 Even if they were good friends with the Turkish Cypriots, for shopping76, their preference was the Armenian merchants and sellers:

For example, there used to be a coffee house at Sarayönü near Şükrü Kaya’s barber shop once. The Armenian sitting by us used to stand up all of a sudden saying, “Let me go and buy a pack of cigarette,” and used to buy it from the Armenian seller. Although cigarettes are sold in the coffee house, and he is asked to buy it from the coffee house, he used to say “No.” and used to go away from Sarayönü to Paphos Gate to buy. We of course used to talk about this situation there. We

73 Fazıl Plümer, Anılar, Cyrep Pub., 2001, Nicosia, p.16-17.

74 Hüseyin Özdemir, Kıbrıs’ta 60 Yıl, Volkan Pub., February 1997, İzmir, p.10.
75 Rauf Özhun ile 29 January 2006 tarihinde Ankara’da yapılan görüşme.
76 The poorest Armenian living in Nicosia has very close and sincere relations with Turkish people and keeps his identity secret till his death.. He marries a Turkish Cypriot and dies in Nicosia years later. Interview with Rauf Özhun on 29th January 2006 in Ankara.



used to emphasize that Turkish Cypriots never supported each other. This is one of the messages I never forget from my childhood.77 Armenians shopping from the Armenian shops and backing each other was well known by the Turkish Cypriots as well:

I know the Armenians shop from the Armenian sellers, not from the Turkish shopkeepers, even to buy a box of matches. Almost everybody in Cyprus knew that most of the shops at Arasta Nicosia belong to the Armenians. We also knew that most of the shops at ‘the longest road of Nicosia’ also belonged to the Armenians. It is also a fact that all the Armenians living in Cyprus speak Turkish better than the Turkish people do.78

As soon as the businesses were taken over by the Armenians, many shops having signs with words ending -ian started emerging all over the island. There were so many shops with the name of Garabian, Menokian, Damadian and Malukian. The jeweler shops, the tailors, photographers, carpet dealers, and street sellers were almost all Armenians, but they lived with Turkish traditions:

They used to speak Turkish better than the Turks did. The old ones didn’t know the Armenian language. These Armenians who have lived with us adapted Turkish traditions and liked Turkish food. They used to enjoy Turkish music. They have had famous composers and the musicians as well. When they first came to the island as immigrants, the British authority rented them empty houses and settled a few families in one. When they got used to Cyprus, they started to try to get money and to run their own businesses. They were spread to Larnaca, Limassol and Famagusta, but the majority was in Nicosia. Then they got the agency to sell many items, such as cars, bicycle, household goods, and cameras, carpets, cotton, and more… They again started living the Dolce Vita here.79

77 Transferred by Erten Kasımoğlu from Rauf R. Denktaş, Eski Günler Eski Defterler,1986, İzmir, p. 13.
78 The same interview with Rauf Özhun.
79 Turhan Zihni, “Anılarla Sabuncu Kaspariyan”, Kıbrıs Mektubu Dergisi, Kıbrıs Türk Kültür Derneği Pub., September-October 2004, Cilt 17, No.5, Ankara,
p.42-44.


One of the well-known families in Nicosia was the Uzunyans. This family imported the first automobile and many household goods to the island. In addition to the newly appeared architectural designs and the styles of the island, talented young musicians started appearing, especially in art and music. One of whom was the lute-playing artist, Keğam Celalyan. The musicians playing Turkish music also took part in the chorus and organized groups as well. Keğam Celalyan participated in many TV and radio programs with Zeki Taner, and Mustafa Kenan up to December 1963.80 Another Armenian musician Vahan Bedelyan; his students Manuk Parikian, Levon Çilingiryan and Hartun Bedelyan; as well as piano teacher Sirvart Çilingirian; cardiologist Vatçe Kalbiyan; author Ohannes Şöhmeliyan; the famous shirt-maker Stefan Harutunyan from Larnaca; Vahe Nigogosiyan, who first brought the cinema to the island; and the painter Vartan Taşçıyan were other Armenians who were remarkable people. Finally, the lawyer and historian, Nubar Maksutyan, wrote articles about Cyprus in Turkish journals and magazines in the 1940s.

TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND THE ARMENIANS IN NICOSIA

The majority of the Armenians living and working in Nicosia preferred to live at Arap Ahmet, Yediler and Korkut Efendi Districts, and on Victoria Street. Some rich and wealthy Turkish officials and families also lived in the same area.81 Another area that the Armenians mostly preferred was Köşklüçiftlik District. The Armenian houses there had a typical Armenian style and all were built with yellow stones. One of those Armenians having good friendships with the Turkish Cypriots was Vahan Bedelyan, who was the music teacher at Nicosia Turkish High School.82. Vahan Bedelyan, who tried to do his best to train

80 Ahmet An, “Kıbrıs Ermenileri” Tarih ve Toplum, October 2000, No. 202, p.30.
81 Ahmet C. Gazioğlu, Kıbrıs’ta Türkler 1570-1878, Cyrep Pub., December 2000, Nicosia, p. 400-401.
82 Kıbrıs Erkek Lisesi, “1933-1934 Yıllığı”, Kıbrıs Erkek Lisesi Mecmuası, Birlik Matbaası, 1934, Nicosia.


the Turkish students, was discharged from the school for no reason,83 and the Turkish people reacted against this situation.84 Bedelyan Efendi nevertheless didn’t leave music and continued to teach students.

We have unfortunately heard of some teachers explaining why this dear music teacher of the school band, Bedelyan Efendi, was all of a sudden discharged from the school. Those teachers seeming to be the voice of the school director left us in pain.85

Bedelyan Efendi nevertheless doesn’t leave the music and continues to teach the students.86 There were also some water-ewer makers in Arasta and Bandabuliya of Nicosia.87 Additionally, the most interesting work carried out by Armenians was as the lokmacı. The round-like dessert called lokma was mostly known and given away particularly during the holy days in the Aegean area. The small lokmacı shop run by an Armenian family was open until December 1963.88 Due to the blockade and the restrictions at Ledra Avenue, the area is now known as Lokmacı Barikatı and divides Nicosia into two parts:

At Lokmacı Barikatı, in Arasta, there were Armenians selling wool and cotton. They would trust us a lot, and we would go shopping there. I have worked in the Greek Cypriot sector in the British canteens for more than 18 months. I have had some Armenian friends working together. I have had Armenian friends in the Turkish sector as well. I have also had a friend working in the Greek Cypriot sector. Her mother was a teacher. They were very good people…There were many Armenian sellers in the market. We would buy everything we needed from them. Our yogurt seller was also an Armenian.

83 Hüseyin Özdemir, Kıbrıs’ta 60 Yıl, Volkan Pub., February 1997, İzmir,p.18-19.
84 Hakkı Süha, “Lisenin Atletizm Müsabakaları Bize Neyi Hatırlattı?” Halkın Sesi,6 May 1949, Nicosia.
85 Ahmet An, “Kıbrıs Ermenileri” Tarih ve Toplum, October 2000, No. 202,p. 30.
86 Ahmet An, Ibid, p. 30.
87 Tuncer Bağışkan, Kıbrıs Türk Halkbiliminde Ölüm, KKTC Millî Eğitim Kültür Gençlik ve Spor Bakanlığı Pub. No.36, Ankara, 1997, p. 11.
88 Interview with Gülten Tuncel Keser on 10th January 2006 in Anamur.


Our neighbor Mrs. Sirvat was a good lady. She would visit us in our holy holidays and bring some gifts. My mother worked for them for years. Mrs. Sirvat would send some packs of cigarettes for my father, too. They were just Turkish friends. My mother worked for them till the 1960s. Then this family went to London.89

The soap known as the soap of Tripoli, since it was exported from Tripoli, was mostly used to wash the dead and was accepted to be something holy. A clever Armenian master named Kaspariyan first produced soap in Cyprus, and then the Turks also started producing the same soap.

The only item to clean the body once was the soap. As well as the Turkish and Greek Cypriot soap-makers, there used to be an Armenian soap-maker whose soap would sell like hot cakes in Cyprus.

What I remember from my childhood is Ali Efendi and Kaspariyan.

Kaspariyan’s house and shop, belonging to Memduh Fuat Bey, was at Avni Efendi Street near Karakaş Garden in Nicosia. It was a twostory house positioned between the east and the west. Entering from the main gate at Avni Efendi Street, the bottom floor and a part of the first floor were the workshop. His widow sister and her two daughters lived in the rest of the first floor. The main entrance for the house with a big garden was at Laleli Camii Street.

Who was Kaspariyan? Kaspariyan, who was born and bred in Anatolia, fed with Turkish bread, was an Armenian... The Armenians leaving Turkey spread over many countries... As far as my father said, ‘Some Armenians have covered the oil tins filling them with gold.’...Kaspariyan was one of those Armenians running from Turkey... Kaspariyan would produce soap using primitive methods with mineral water and olive oil. He would sell it by decorating with the picture of Aphrodite... I would go to Kaspariyan workshop in my childhood and get the soap deposits. While producing the soap, some deposits would appear. The women would use this item in addition to the soap since it was very economical. Kaspariyan would fill containers cheaply. Kaspariyan left us after the inter-communal dispute in 1963. He moved to the other sector of Nicosia with his family. He gave the house and the workshop to a Turkish family to care for him. He was already very rich. Then he built houses there

89 The same interview with Gülten Tuncel Keser.

and made his sister’s daughters marry. His two-story house turned to ruins and was demolished by the municipality. Now there is no evidence of the Kaspariyan house and the workshop.90

There is never any snow in Cyprus except for the Trodos Mountains, but an Armenian91 introduced an icy slush composed of grape syrup called kar hoşafı to Turkish Cypriots92 Another food imported by Armenians was the worldwide famous pastırma93 of Kayseri and produced from the meat of calves. Pastırma was very popular with Armenians and the Greek Cypriots.

The Armenians have for the first time produced pastırma in Cyprus. When I attended the secondary school, there was a well-known pastırma producer working at the old Kadınlar (Women’s) Street near Şükrü Veysi’s shop. I also remember another producer from Larnaca very well. I used to pass by that house smelling the taste of sucuk and pastırma.94

In addition to commercial and cultural life, social life reflected itself in the neighborhoods, funerals, weddings, marriages, engagements, circumcisions, holidays, and visits where good wishes were expressed. The neighbors helped and supported each other.

Our Armenian neighbors were very good people. We would visit each other. Our neighbor Victoria’s mother was very ill, and her father was a barber. She was my friend from the same district, and had presented me with a wrist chain in addition to a summer jacket in the 50s. Mrs. Sirvak and her family were also very rich people.

90 Turhan Zihni, “Anılarla Sabuncu Kaspariyan”, Kıbrıs Mektubu Dergisi, Kıbrıs Türk Kültür Derneği Pub., September-October 2004, Volume 17, No.5, Ankara, p.42-44.

91 Interview with Kemal Altınkaya on 20th February 2006 in İzmir.
92 Kar hoşafı is a kind of juicy slush eaten even today in different parts of Turkey mostly by the nomads. It is supposed to be a refreshing juice especially in summer. The ice is cut from the special ice wells in the high mountains and transported by the mules, covered by the pine leaves, and sold in the bazaars as a mixture with pekmez.

93 There is a great similarity between the Armenian and Cypriot kitchens such as shish(kebhaps) kokoreç, pastırma, spicy appetizers and so on.
94 Turhan Zihni, Ibid, p. 43.


They were friendly people. We were like sisters. They used to employ Turkish people in their houses. When the inter-communal dispute appeared in 1963, the Greek Cypriots threatened them to get money, and they were given threatening letters, and then they were killed by EOKA95 members.96

TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND ARMENIANS IN FAMAGUSTA

Armenians mostly lived in Famagusta as well as Nicosia and were mostly shopkeepers and dealt with the commerce.

There was an Armenian photographer named Agopyan in Famagusta. There were some Armenians selling cotton by the meter and known as okkacı. They would speak perfect Turkish. Garabet was also a tailor and a master. There were Armenian tailors. We would get our school hats from them. We as the Turkish Cypriots would prefer to shop from them. There was a very lovely and friendly Armenian in Upper Marash (Varosha), and he would enjoy playing dice with the Turkish people. Having lined the items, he would enjoy grasping one of the dice. When asked why he did so, he would say “If an earthquake happened to occur…” He never wanted the game to be spoilt. He had no negative opinions against Turkey and Turkish people, but when the turmoil started, he went to other side of Nicosia.97

95 EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kibriyon Agoniston) is an illegal armed organization founded in 1950s, and directed by ex-officer (retired lieutenant colonel) Georgios Grivas.The first illegal activities carried out by EOKA fighters first appeared against the British facilities, HQs, official buildings in 1st April 1955, and continued for years against not only Turkish Cypriots but also the Greek Cypriots, and the British subjects. The Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus have then firstly established Karaçete, Dokuz Eylül, and Volkan organizations to resist against EOKA, then starting from 1958, August, a well-trained, well-equipped personnel came together and established a relatively professional organization named TMT (Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı/Turkish Resistance Organization) against EOKA assaults.

For more information about TMT, see Ulvi Keser, Kıbrıs’ta Yeraltı Faaliyetleri ve Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı, IQ Publications, İstanbul, 2007.

96 The same interview with Gülten Tuncel Keser on 10th January 2006 in Anamur.
97 Interview with Kemal Altınkaya on 20th February 2006 in İzmir.


Turkish public opinion about the Armenians was that they lived in peace with them, having no problems, no hardships, no prejudice, and no negative aspects.

Two of the three bakeries belonged to them. There was almost no problem between Turkish and Armenian people. When we attended the primary school, there were Armenian masters who produced those little candies. They also had football clubs having matches against the Turkish football clubs.98

ARMENIANS AND TURKISH CYPRIOTS IN OTHER PARTS OF CYPRUS

There were fewer Armenians living in other towns outside of Famagusta and Nicosia. They had almost no interest in agriculture, but rather in business and commerce. One of these towns was Lefka where there is a very abundant source of water.

Apart from the Greek Cypriots, the town also had a small Armenian colony. Agop who is the most popular Armenian of the town and his brother Tomas’ shop was in the same place as Hüseyin Uskuri’s shop. Their mother, Mrs. Varteni, was a white-haired, golden-toothed woman in black. She would every afternoon make up, dress and take a tour in the neighborhood with her purse. Using a nasal Eastern Anatolian accent, she would speak perfect Turkish. Regarding the Turkish language, there was no difference between Agop and us. But I remember that Tomas’ wife and his children who lived in Nicosia spoke a different language when they came to Lefka. I don’t know it was Armenian or Greek. I also remember Mrs. Atnis and Nişan as well. Nişan had a very big scar on his nose, so he was named ‘Nose-Eaten Armenian’ here. Were they two different persons or not? I think they were the unfortunate people who left Anatolia after 1915. They were in a way the people of Lefka.99

There were some Turkish and Armenian people working for CMC (Cyprus Mining Cooperation). Armenians had the same work in Lefka as well.

98 Interview with late Mustafa Başer on 20th February 2006 in İzmir.
99 Nazım Beratlı, Lefke Sevgilim, Işık Kitabevi Pub.,April 2002, Nicosia, p. 24.



The most famous shop of that time was Himonidis’. Agop and Tomas’ shop was also very popular. Tomas was not so lovely, but Agop’s brother was the soul of the party in Lefka. He would enjoy joking and smiling. He was a man with no hair. I don’t remember their father. Their mother, Aunt Arteni, was also as lovely as Agop and was always available for the afternoon meetings of women. I don’t know Tomas, but Agop was unable to live here, and emigrated to London. I have heard that he still has relations with the people from Lefka there.100

Turkish and Armenian people living on the island are so close and so interwoven that their social, traditional and cultural characteristics are surprisingly similar. These similarity reflect on the culture, and the literature as well, thus there are so many examples showing such characteristics of the life in Lefka folkloric life, as in the poem “Lefka Murmurings”, since the Armenians had close relations with the Turkish Cypriots in Lefka:

3- The palm heats the stokeholes in the houses
Takuyi would have henna on the bath day.
12- Father Ermen would ignore the empty shelves
He would light his cigarette with fago.
29- Lüccan was also teher, the master of the iron maker
He spent all he had in the taverns.
32- Gololambi Garden was famous with its figs
The insects would light the area.
33- Who dared to say anything to Driver Başi Yanni
He would get a cigarette while driving.
34- Butcher Yango was the best
He would scorn everybody except Salih Hafız
100 Nazım Beratlı, Ibid, p. 217.

38- Musician Bedros was the must for the weddings
He would start composing after a few drinks.
43- The blind Armenian never forgot the Turks
He would get angry when someone said “Atatürk”.
54- Eva, Doctor Kontarini’s daughter, as a fairy girl.
She would sell rolls of wool, looking lovely.
59- Ahilli was the house for the Armenians
The humble would get jealous of them.101

In Lefkara, which is in the Greek Cypriot sector, Ottoman treasury official Yahya Efendi and his family lived with two daughters named Nevard and Azadui, and a son named Agop. They dealt with stationery and photography in the village. The Garabet family was also in Lefkara dealing with tin-making and the copper process. Father Garabet also had some Turkish errand boys to teach them the craft.102

The most multinational town of the island before 1963 was Kyrenia with Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Armenians and Maronites.103 Limassol was the second city of the island but there were almost no Armenians here. The number of the Armenians there is now about 250.

There is a school there belonging to the Sourp Kevork Church founded in 1939. The Sourp Stephanos Church in Larnaca was in use after 1909. The situation for the Turkish people was the same in Larnaca. Hotel management, printing and business were for the Armenians, while agriculture, container-making and fishing belonged to the Turkish people.104

The biggest company of the town was a button factory belonging to an

101 The poem itself is originally composed of 136 lines, and here only the related lines are given. Harid Fedai, Kıbrıs Türk Kültürü Bildiriler I, Özyurt Basımevi, Mayıs 2002, Nicosia, p. 499.
102 Mehmet Ali İzmen, Lefkara ve Lefkaralılar, Özyurt Matbaacılık, 2005, Girne, p. 10.
103 Haşmet Muzaffer Gürkan, Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs’ta, Galeri Kültür Pub., 1996, Nicosia, p.27.
104 Hüseyin Özdemir, Kıbrıs’ta 60 Yıl, Volkan Pub., February 1997, İzmir, p.39.



Armenian family.105The American Academy was a bridge to bring the Turkish and Armenian students closer:

I had very sincere twin friends in the 1936-37 term at the academy. We used to play tennis and take tours together. We had a very sincere teacher of Turkish named Gasuni. We also had neighbors called the Onnik family. We used to visit each other. I had a very close schoolmate and friend named Antin. Most of the shops where we purchased something were in Nicosia. Because my father was a police officer, the sellers used to give me an advance to buy what I needed. Armenians had a university in Nicosia, and when I went there, my friends used to take care of me.106

SPORTS ACTIVITIES, TURKISH CYPRIOTS AND THE ARMENIANS

Lefkoşa Türk Futbol Ocağı founded in 1910 played the first match against a mixed team of Greek Cypriots, Armenians and British players in 1916. The Cyprus Football Federation founded in 1934 was composed of Apoel107, Trust, Olimpiakos and Nicosia Turkish Sports Clubs from Nicosia, Ael and Aris from Limassol, Epa of Famagusta, and Anorthosis from Famagusta. Then Turkish and Armenian players started playing together in Ael and Epa Football Clubs. In a tournament arranged in 1938, for example, the Turkish High School, Larnaca Greek Cypriot High School and American Academy took part in addition to the Melkonian and Samuel Armenian Schools.108 The Greek Cypriots who always reacted to the close relations between the Armenians and the Turkish people started a commercial sanction against the Armenian businesses soon after an Armenian team called Kayzak became champion. Unfortunately, the Kayzak football team stopped all its functions then.109 Starting with the 1946-1947 season, the first Armenian football team, founded in 1934

105 Hüseyin Özdemir, Ibid, p. 39.
106 Interview with Feyyaz Hamidoğlu on 12nd December 2005 in İzmir.
107 Turkish and Armenian players are supposed to play football together in Apoel and Omonia football teams but these teams are Grek Cypriot teams. Interview with the late Mustafa Başer on 20nd February 2006 in İzmir.
108 KTMA, Ses, 14 December 1938, No. 128.
109 A detailed reseaarch on sports history of Cyprus is published in 6-9 July 1989 on Halkın Sesi with the signature of A. Sami Topçam.


and called Ayma,110 was taken into the league.111 Armenians generally were in favor of Turkish teams, such as Çetinkaya and Yenicami, and similarly, the Turkish people supported the Armenian teams.112

The most significant event of this period for both Armenians and Turks was that the Nicosia composite football team went to Beirut for matches in May 1950, and two matches result resulted in a draw (2-2) and (1-1). The team had five Turkish footballers.113 The first and the last international matches performed by the composite team of Cyprus were in Israel. Çetinkaya also had a match against the team on March 3, 1954 resulting in a win (4-1).114 The Israel national team which came to the island on March 7, 1954 defeated the composite team of Cyprus (5-1). The referee of the match was Faik Gökay from Turkey. The second match on March 10, 1954 was also with Israel (3-2).115 The Cyprus team which went to Israel May 4-9, 1954 had five Turkish footballers in addition to Şandri, Lello, Anastasiades, and Nikui from Apoel, Aram from Epa, Psillo from Omonia,116 Daki from Pezoporikos, Mancallo, Koço and Şaylo from Anorthosis117 and Sarkiz from Ayma. The match on May 6, 1954 between Cyprus and the Israel B national team resulted in a draw (2-2). Two days later, Israel won the match (2-1).118

THE CYPRUS REPUBLIC, ARMENIANS AND TURKISH CYPRIOTS

Just after the Proclamation of the Republic of Cyprus, the number of the Armenians was 3,628.119 Of those, 2,500 Armenians were in Nico-

110 AYMA stands for Armenian Young Men Association.
111 Interview with Rauf Özhun on 29th January 2006 in Ankara.
112 The same interview.
113 Yücel Hatay, Futbolda Türk-Rum (1934-1955), Mavi Basın Pub., Nicosia, 2000, p. 65.
114 Yücel Hatay, ibid, p. 80.
115 Yücel Hatay, ibid, p. 80.
116 While preparing this article, some Turkish Cypriots have talked about a football team named Ohamya, but this is something wrong because that team is actually named OMONİA, and a Greek Cypriot team.
117 This football team has eliminated Trabzonspor recently, beating 3-1.
118 Yücel Hatay, Ibid, p. 80.
119 KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.


sia, 800 in Larnaca, 250 Famagusta, and the rest in small villages. The Maronites, Armenians, French and other subjects were officially supposed to be religious groups, and a referendum was held. In the results, 1,077 Armenians voted to be Greek subjects, and 5 to be Turkish subjects.120 Naturally, the Armenian society made use of the rights granted by the law and annexed to the Greek Cypriot sector. Because most of the Armenians were merchants and craftsmen, and had property, workshops and estates in the Greek Cypriot sector, immigration accelerated in that direction. The main reason for the immigration was the Greek Cypriots’ attacks on the Turkish people. Nevertheless, some seven families preferred to live in the Turkish sector.121 Turkish Cypriots were not disappointed with the result of the referendum and the relations with the Armenians continued as it was before.

However, the EOKA increased the pressure upon the people, and the Armenian families who were unable to pay money were forced to leave the island. The first group to leave the island contained some 200 families. The women of the Petrosyan and the Chakarian families, trying to resist against the threats, were beaten, raped and killed by EOKA members.122 Luiza Bedrosyan and her mother, Samandciyan Bedrosyan, living in Greek Cypriot sector of Nicosia were killed at home on February 26, 1964 since they refused to pay the money demanded by EOKA.

In addition, an old Armenian woman, Yebruhi Lusarriyan’s home was broken into. The EOKA members, being unable to kidnap her, set a fire, stole everything in her home and then disappeared. The only Armenian person against the Turkish Cypriots was an employee working at Beliğpaşa and Zafer cinemas. When he was known to be a messenger of the Greek Cypriots during the 1963 events, he left the Turkish area.123

120 In Nicosia, 737 Armenians, 281 Maronites and 1870 Latin, in Limassol, 69 Armenians, 35 Maronites, 59 Latin, in Famagusta, 64 Armenians, 18 Maronites, 15 Latin, in Larnaca, 203 Armenians, 8 Maronites and 57 Latin, in Kyrenia, 4 Armenians, 704 Maronites and 12 Latin vote for the Grek Cypriots, 4 Armenians and 1 Latin in Nicosia, 1 Armenian in Larnaca vote for Turkish Cypriots. www. http/hayem.org/indekp.htm.

121 KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.
122 Special News Bulletin, 22 Mayıs 1964, Nicosia.
123 Interview with Rauf Özhun on 29th January 2006 in Ankara.


As soon as the Greek Cypriots started the attacks in the light of Akritas Plan against the Turkish people after December 20, 1963, not only Turkish people but also Armenians were influenced negatively. Most Armenians who refused EOKA demands, who didn’t obey EOKA rules were killed; their houses and shops were ambushed, bombed, and they were threatened to death.124 That Archbishop Makarios started enlisting Armenian young people caused reactions and the Armenian people wanted Makarios to stop this decision at once.125

Greek Cypriot and Greek provocative politics continued to increase. Especially after December 21, 1963, Greek Cypriot and Greek journals purposely provoked Armenians against Turkish Cypriots by publishing prejudiced articles and news on the 1915 events.126 Since the provocations continued, Turkish Cypriots started a counter-movement so as to stop the intentional disintegration of a national case.127 Special hearings were arranged after December 21, 1963 in the Cyprus assembly in which there was no Turkish representative due to the 50th year after the 1915 events, and special delegations got in communication with the Armenian authorities.

Because the provocations increased against the Armenians in Cyprus, Armenian leaders came together and provided examples of people living together in peace for years in Turkey, and moderation was advised.128 Because an Armenian named Berch Tilbian gave an explanation accusing Turkey, an Armenian lady named Nurshak Nalbantyan expressed her own ideas as follows: “Turks have always shared their food with me. Is it of use to irritate the events that occurred fifty years ago? The only reason for being against the Turks is the Greek threats.”129 Meanwhile, another Armenian woman named Victoria Kamyan said, “We had better not talk about the events that happened fifty years before. Berch Tilbian 130

124 KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.
125 Special News Bulletin, 3 January 1965, Nicosia.
126 Special News Bulletin, 30 April 1965, Nicosia.
127 KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.
128 Special News Bulletin, 28 April 1965, Nicosia.
129 Special News Bulletin, 27 April 1965, Nicosia.
130 The above-mentioned person then works as a deputy at Greek Cypriot Assembly, and known as Berj as well.


was born in Cyprus. How can he know these events? How can he forget the brutal death of the Armenian women living in the Greek Cypriot sector? Greek Cypriots are free to force the people to talk as they want, but to talk about fifty years before is not so good.”131 Artin Idoyan and his wife making an explanation on the same day said that the Turkish language was their own language, they lived together in peace, and, despite hardship, Turkish people helped them.132 Makar Cherchadian, threatened by EOKA, lost his spare parts shop due to arson and explosion in Famagusta on August 14, 1965.133 Armenians were in dilemma not knowing what to do against EOKA attacks:

Armenians who have never expected such pressure and terror reluctantly turn to be a means of Greek Cypriots’ political propaganda, and some have had to make explanations, and arranged meetings against Turkish people on TV or in the newspapers. Although it is known that some Armenians are forced to do so, the other Armenians in Turkish sector of Nicosia protest those Armenians acting against the TurkishCypriots, and have explained their feelings by giving advertisements in the newspapers on 25th April 1965. Some Armenians have collaborated with the Greek Cypriots in the very first days of the events, and informed them using the wireless systems and the radios that they had to kill Turkish people... Turkish people have never shown hatred against Armenians, because Turks and Armenians have lived together brotherly, in peace. Turkish people have again behaved brotherly towards Armenians who went on living in the Turkish sector after the December 1963 events and helped them in all manners.134

Leaving all their property in the Turkish sector and leaving themselves at the mercy of EOKA members, Armenians established a board of nine people called the “Armenian Property Owners Who Immigrated”.

Armenians couldn’t resist against the EOKA threats and start moving first to the Greek sector, and then to the United Kingdom, the USA, France and Canada.

131 Special News Bulletin, 27 April 1965, Nicosia.
132 KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.
133 Special News Bulletin, 17 August 1965, Nicosia.
134 The report titled “Kıbrıs’taki Ermeni Cemaati” KTMA, File No.61, 1970-E.


CONCLUSION
After 1915, in which Armenians started coming to the island, there occurred almost no problem between Turks and Armenians. Turkish Cypriots and Armenians had anonymous solidarity against Greek Cypriots on the island, showing examples of good friendship, brotherhood, peace and harmony. The total population of the Armenian society in Cyprus throughout history has varied between 150 and 3,000. The only exception of the population increasing up to 8,000 was after the foundation of Legion D’Orient in Cyprus again in 1916. Because most of these Armenian families had later gone abroad, the population decreased to an average level of 3,000 or so.

During the violence caused by EOKA attacks after December 21, 1963, the protection of Armenian property left in the Turkish sector was granted by Cyprus Turkish Forces Regiment as well as Turkish Cypriots. Some 2,000 Armenians had been living completely in the Greek Cypriot sector of the island, trying to keep their ethnic identity. Both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkey will always show good-will toward the Armenians. The last example of such good-will is that the old Armenian property left in the Turkish sector after the July 20th Peace Operation, Melikian Ouzounian Primary School as well as Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church will be delivered to the Armenian authorities after restoration.

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