Is it all the fault of the British?

bad-appleHaving just read two articles in the London Turkish Gazette (Londra Gazete) and having recently talked to Turks in mainland Turkey I was beginning to get the impression that Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus had a bad image. The Londra Gazete articles written by London Turkish Cypriot Suzan Nuri were rather scathing of not only the north Cyprus construction industry, legal profession and government but was generally angry about being ripped off for being ‘londrali’ (from London). The case of London Turkish Cypriot Mr Dizliklioglu is just one of many examples showing why you must be “mad to buy TRNC property” as Suzan’s article is entitled.

Mr Dizliklioglu paid for reports from the Union of the Chambers of Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects (UCCTEA) showing that poor materials caused walls to collapse and despite this he is being sued by the builder for non-payment. The Eastern Mediterranean University identified a huge number of failings within the building project and Mr Dizliklioglu even managed to get a documentary made  although only one episode of the programme was aired and the other two segments were shelved with no explanation.

“Everyone is too afraid to act out there,” Mr Dizliklioglu said. “The architect is married to the chief justice so even when I tried to get legal action, no lawyer wanted to deal with this case.

Then there was the attitude of some of the Turks living on the mainland. They were angry because they were paying extra tax in order to finance Turkish Cypriot civil servants whose levels of salaries and bonuses they could only dream of. On top of all this, some Greek Cypriots in the south seem to be equally unscrupulous as far as the construction industry is concerned. In the south about 130,000 foreigners are still waiting for title deeds and there are reports of double selling on a large scale.

Is this a Cypriot thing and if so where could this attitude come from? Could it have anything to do with what some Cypriots learnt from the pre-1960 British? I can remember in the UK all the scandals and corruption of that era and how gradually government and businesses were cleaned up, or perhaps the corruption was better concealed. Could it be that some Cypriots have not moved on from the dark legacy those British exploiters left behind? These were people who saw the Empire crumble and were out to make a quick buck before being sent back home possibly for early retirement. These people were not the British you usually see now in Cyprus but somehow I keep getting the feeling that I’m always being blamed by Turkish Cypriots for what they did.

Corruption is the abuse of power and history shows us that some British officials responsible for governing the Empire were especially good at that. Then checks and balances came into play because it is human nature for some to abuse power. These laws meant for example that a policeman in the UK could no longer expect to avoid a drink driving charge by flashing a warrant card. It is the forceful application of fair rules and regulations which cleans up a society. Perhaps the Turkish Cypriots who have been abusing power need to look around at how north Cyprus is being perceived and start to do something to change its image? Perhaps the developer who places a mortgage on a property they have just sold should reconsider the suffering they cause when they default on the loan even though they have other assets which could clear it. Better still perhaps it is time for this current government to forcefully remove these “bad apples” in order to “save the barrel”? If not, like the previous government, before too long they will become associated with these abuses of power merely because they allowed them to go unchecked.

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