Cyprus Mail

Woman speaks out after 44 years about rape ordeal at age 12 during Turkish invasion

Turkish troops landing in Cyprus

By Peter Michael

A woman opened up for the first time in 44 years about her treatment at the hand of Turkish soldiers and the repeated rape she endured at just age 12, while her family were killed in the next room, during the invasion.

According to daily, Politis newspaper, the woman, who remained anonymous and spoke of her abuse for the first time, said that her house in the village of Sysklipos, Kyrenia, had become the gathering place for all the civilians that did not make it to the state-controlled areas during the invasion on July 20.

Sysklipos, according to the daily, was the scene of one of a number of humanitarian tragedies that occurred during the invasion.

The newspaper reported that witnesses told them that on July 26, 1974, people that remained in the village, were gathered into a home by the soldiers.  After a few days, on August 3, the soldiers, turned on the civilians and, according to a journal kept by colonel Salih Guleryuz, killed them.  Guleryuz described in his journal that during a visit to the house on August 4, they found the bodies covered in blood on chairs in the front of the house, while they also found one decapitated body, and a little girl, around 12.

The woman, who was then 12, told Politis that on the night her family and the others were killed, she was taken to another room by the soldiers.  “They took me first.  My father knew what was about to happen.  He was screaming, he fell to his knees and he begged them.”

She added that while she heard the gunshots, and screams of her father and brother, the soldiers took turns sexually assaulting her.

The next day, she said, she remembers being taken by a solider after being abandoned in the house for the night.  The soldier took her past the area with the bodies, and she recalled seeing them shot, and her brother’s body without a head.

The soldier, the woman told newspaper, took her to another home with two other soldiers, and proceeded to rape her again.  She said that after approximately an hour of continuous sexual assaults, suddenly al the soldiers disappeared in a hurry, and she remained alone on the bed.

According to what she told the newspaper, another Turkish soldier appeared, who spoke English.  The soldier took her from the room, lined up her attackers, and asked her to point out, which of them had assaulted her.  ‘Show me, who did this to you,’ she remembered the soldier saying.

She said that she just shrugged her shoulders, and the English-speaking soldier took her to the army’s camp.  At the camp she remembers seeing the soldiers going to collect the bodies from her home, and being examined by a doctor.

The woman told the daily that she was then transferred to Adana, Turkey after a few nights with two women officers.  At the hospital, she was cared for, and she remained there for approximately a month.

After a month, she was returned to the north of the island.  The woman said she stayed in the village of Trachona for approximately another month under guard.  In November she was turned over to the UN and crossed over at the Ledra Palace.

She was taken to meet the acting president of Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides.  The woman added that Clerides listened to her story for approximately two hours, and she said that he told her: “Listen my dear.  Just as they knocked you down, and you were able to stand up again – because you are now standing again – that is how you will stay.  You don’t have to answer to anyone, about what you went through.”

Her mother, who was already divorced from her father prior to the invasion and was remarried, was found during this time, and she was once again with family, the woman said.  She added that for two years , she was unable to see a man in uniform, and that loud noises made her hide under bed.

The bodies of the people that were killed in the village, have not been found, the daily reported, adding that teams of the missing persons committee have searched for their remains.

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