Cyprus Mail

Neophytou pledges support to Androlykou farmers

Averof Neophytou with members of the Androlykou community

DISY President Averof Neophytou met with the only Turkish Cypriot community leader in the government controlled areas, Androlykou mukhtar Ezgur Hassan Moustafa on Friday, and pledged to help resolve the problems that the small farming community faces.

Neophytou listened to the villagers’ problems and said every effort would be made to solve them. “They have our support with some problems which are important to them,” he said.

As an example he pointed out that the community, located in the middle of Pahos district, pays €30,000 for electricity to secure water supply, while extending the pipeline from the Evretou dam could save them tens of thousands of euros each year.

Ezgur Hassan’s father, Hassan Moustafa, fell in love with Hambou Pournoxouzi from the neighbouring Greek Cypriot village of Droushia in the late 1950s. Overcoming convention, community, family and religion, they were to become the first mixed couple to be married in the newly independent Republic of Cyprus, although at the time the law did not provide for an Orthodox Christian to marry a Muslim. Their story inspired a Cyprus-made Romeo and Juliet film that was screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2006.

When in 1975, over 600 of the Turkish Cypriot villagers left for the north under the terms of the post-war population exchange, Hassan and Hambou opted to remain in Androlykou, hopeful that the Cyprus problem would be solved soon. He died in 2014, having lived in the village his entire life.

Today, six Turkish families with mixed marriages live in the village, among them the mukhtar, one of Moustafa’s four children.

During his visit, Neophytou, himself a former mayor of nearby Polis Chrysochous, said that the fact that Greek and Turkish Cypriots can live together and have mixed marriages is the best news in a country struggling for reunification, sending the message that multiculturalism and different religions were never barriers to the peaceful coexistence between us.

Androlykou is a village in the Akamas region where the locals, who own more than 3,000 goats, are mainly engaged in farming, and milk and meat production.

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