Cyprus Mail

Turkish-made TV drama set in Cyprus to air on April 1

Depictions of Makarios III and General Grivas from the TV series

The Turkish-made TV drama called ‘Once Upon a Time in Cyprus’, set to focus on the events of 1963, is to air on April 1.

The series, which will depict events from 1963-1974, a period when intercommunal strife intensified, has been welcomed by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar who described it as “extraordinary”.

It is understood that the series will follow the lives of a Turkish Cypriot family, headed by a gum merchant, as they are engulfed in the violent period marked by the events following December 21, 1963, the outbreak of intercommunal troubles.

Thursday’s launch date is also symbolic as it coincides with Eoka’s campaign to end British colonial rule over the island, which began on April 1, 1955.

Recent trailers released for the TV series – Bir Zamanlar Kibris – by Turkish state broadcaster TRT1 show depictions of Makarios III, General Grivas and long-term former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

Previous trailers also portray the murders of women and children along with bodies dumped in a mass grave.

A person who has seen the script previously told the Cyprus Mail that the series is scheduled for 26 episodes – spread across three seasons – and will feature the events of 1967, ending with the Turkish invasion in 1974.

It is not immediately clear as to whether translations or subtitles will be made available, but Turkish TV series have recently enjoyed a widespread international following – with other productions by TRT having been picked up by Netflix.


From the Cyprus Mail’s ‘The Divided Island’:

 1963 – In November, Makarios proposes major amendments to the power-sharing constitution, which he argues are necessary to make the state more functional after repeated deadlock in government. Turkey rejects the proposed changes, as do the Turkish Cypriots who see them as an attempt to undermine their political power in the Republic.

There is an outbreak of inter-communal fighting on December 21, 1963. A precarious ceasefire is agreed on Christmas Day. A “green line” is drawn through Nicosia on 30 December to mark ceasefire lines. The Turkish Cypriots withdraw from the Cyprus Republic.

1964 – Thousands of Turkish Cypriots start moving into defended enclaves and establish their own. autonomous administration. The Greek Cypriots alone are now represented in the government, which is recognised internationally as the island’s only legitimate authority. Turkish Cypriots say they were forced out; Greek Cypriots say they left to set up their own administration. The Greek Cypriots re-introduce the demand for Enosis.

(A more detailed chronology of events can be found at:

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