North Cyprus Property Victims | Silent Peaceful Candlelit Vigil

North Cyprus Property Victims – Silent Peaceful Candlelit Vigil

You will all recall the runaround the ‘powers that be’ gave me when I tried to get permission to hold the Silent Peaceful Candlelit Vigil:

At this stage you have to understand, I still believed in the Government doing the right thing, how wrong I was.

So, Ismet grasped the mettle and achieved what I was not allowed to, and in doing so found out just how they do all in the their power to silence critics. He experienced the ‘phone’ calls which I was receiving too, a daily event at that stage. On the run up to the day Ismet and I were in constant contact and jointly organising the event.

You all read what happened on the day. I was flanked on either side and had to be content with watching from the sidelines. The very real threat of arrest was made clear to me by the two plain clothes policemen who acted as my ‘bodyguards’ not quite Harrison Ford, but then I cannot sing like Whitney Houston.

Read Ismet’s account of what happened at the Silent Peaceful Candlelit Vigil on the 15th November 2010

“Silent Vigil by the British
Postby elko » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:12 am

I have just finished translating chapter 53 of my book. I think this part may interest many of you. Here it is:

53. How We Dented the Protest Ban on the British

The British Community in TRNC wanted to air their grievances with respect to frauds regarding immovable properties by holding a silent vigil with candles in front of the Turkish Embassy in Nicosia and sought the Ambassador’s consent. The ambassador was very sympathetic to their sufferings and advised them to seek permission from the District Officer. According to the constitution of TRNC the citizens can hold protests without prior permission from the authorities but foreigners are subject to consent.

The District Officer refused the request on the grounds that our statutes did not regulate protests by foreigners. However, according to our constitution such permission could be given. I thought that it was extremely unfair that the British Community who suffered so many injustices were not given a chance to protest peacefully in a silent vigil with candles. It was not befitting on TRNC.

I have been closely involved with the problems of this community for a long time and it was against my character to remain aloof and not rebel. I spent fifteen years in England and I was always met with sympathy and fairness. For example when I enrolled with London University in the year 1962, the annual tuition fee was 65 pounds. The next year they began to differentiate between local and foreign students and the fee for foreigners was raised to two thousand pounds annually but it did not apply to students like me who had enrolled earlier. Thus I paid the much lover fee until I graduated.

I was in constant contact with the British Community through the various Forms on the internet and I decided to break this ban on their protest. My plan was very simple. If necessary I would protest on my own quietly with a handle in my hand and the foreigners could gather to observe me from a suitable distance. I fixed the date, time and place and I informed the police for security reasons. Soon after the police from political Branch phoned me ans asked my intention. I explained that I would carry out a silent protest with a few friends who are citizens and the foreigners would observe us from a suitable distant. The foreigners would not be protesting, only observing and observing was not subject to consent. The reaction of the police was simple: “It does not wash”. I retorted back by saying “It can wash or it cannot wash, it was not my concern”. I heard a big laughter in the background. Obviously the bosses were listening. A little later the Assistant Chief of Police Mrs Pervin Gürler called me and explained that the next day was a national holiday and there would be many official visitors to the Turkish Embassy, thus they had to do security clearance and then cordon off the area for the day. Thus would we please hold the protest somewhere else? I agreed to hold a little farther up on the next roundabout in front of the Central Bank. Indeed there was a car park opposite and it would be a convenient place for the so called observers.

On the appointed day and time me, my wife, a few Turkish Cypriot families, the head of the Ambargoed organisation at the time Hüseyin Fevzi Galatyalı and a few British with TRNC citizenship gathered at the roundabout with candles. We had no banners, just candles. The foreigners gathered at the car park opposite but I must say it was a poor turnout. People were afraid of being marked. The local newspapers and television stations showed good interest and they carried a few interviews with us. Haberdar Newspaper carried the best caption “Adaleti mumla aradılar” meaning they searched for justice with candles. This is a very popular Turkish saying. If you are looking for something that is very hard to find, you search for it with candles.” [

I am sure we all wish Ismet success with his book from which this is taken.

Pauline Read

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