Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Teachers union calendar in the north causes outrage over ‘unofficial’ historical content

Sener Elcil head of KTOS union

By Tahsin Eroglu

THE 2017 calendar prepared by the Cyprus Turkish Teacher’s Union (KTOS) to be distributed to its members had sparked controversy in the north due to its content.

The calendar, issued annually, this time contained information on certain historical events which contradicted the ‘official history’ taught in Turkish Cypriot schools.

It mentions an incident where Turkish Cypriots were murdered by the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT) on April 22, 1962. Turkish Cypriot lawyers Ayhan Hikmet and Muzaffer Gurkan were assassinated by the TMT on that date.

It also refers to November 15 – the date the breakaway state unilaterally declared independence in 1983 –  as: “the date when the common existence of the Turkish Cypriots was put in jeopardy and the date Turkish Cypriot international relations with the rest of the world came to an end after Rauf  Denktash struck a deal with the generals of the coup in Turkey to establish the TRNC.”

Criticisms were also rife over the fact that Archbishop Makarios was presented as the “President of the Republic of Cyprus” – Turkey and the ‘TRNC’ do not recognise the Republic. June 12, 1958 was marked as the date when Turkish Cypriots “brutally murdered” nine Greek Cypriots in Gonyeli after being provoked by the British. The latter was taken from Niyazi Kızılyurek’s book “Hidden History of the Season of Violence”.

Many Turkish Cypriots, including Denktash’s son Serdar, circulated photos of the pages of the calendar, and numerous NGOs with nationalist views issued statements condemning KTOS.

Party of Rebirth (YDP), known to be the political movement of Turkish immigrants in the north laid a “black wreath” in front of KTOS’ headquarters on Thursday.

Kudret Özersay’s People’s Party (HP) also issued a statement condemning the calendar and appealed to the public not to put all teachers in the same basket as those who had been involved in producing it.

Threats were sent to KTOS and its members but the general secretary of the union Sener Elcil said the calendar did not contain any false information. Elcil said he was ready to discuss the content with anyone from any platform.

Organisational Secretary of KTOS Besim Baysal wrote in his Facebook account that the union, as it had been doing for many years, was trying to create an alternative to calendars brought from Turkey and that only presented the ‘official view’. Baysal also said they ran out of the calendars due to the high demand and were considering of printing a second issue.

In the meantime Turkish Cypriot education ‘officials’ asked the authorities to launch an investigation against KTOS, hoping that it would lead to a court case.

The Denktash Foundation said it also had called for a criminal  investigation and would organise a protest against KTOS. No date was provided.

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