I don’t remember the last time I went out and bought a newspaper, but today [29 July] I did just that. It was my small way of saying thanks for the article [Don McCullin’s prize photo of Cypriot misused for propaganda, The Times, 29 July 2020], which tells the truth about this picture.
The picture shows a Turkish Cypriot woman, Nevcihan Oluşum, distraught at the loss of her husband at the hands of Greek Cypriot soldiers in 1964. But the picture has been used recently as part of Greek propaganda to show the grief of Greek Cypriots at the hands of Turkish soldiers in 1974.
I want to thank everyone involved in both tracking down the boy in the picture to verify the identity of the people involved and also persuading a major national newspaper to tell the truth about this picture.
I’ve generally avoided talking about Cyprus; I don’t know whether it’s because there’s a sadness that we’re always seen as the ‘bad guys’ because Turkey ‘invaded’ in 1974.
As a community, we’ve not been good at telling our side of the story and sticking up for ourselves. But today is a step forward and I, for one, will not keep quiet anymore, but do what I can to work with others in my community to help tell our story and ensure that the people of Northern Cyprus are not treated like second class citizens – or worse still simply forgotten.
While it’s a shame The Times article uses the language of “invasion”, I want to leave everyone with the words of the final paragraph:
“The island exploded in full-blown civil war in 1974 after the Greek army launched a coup and the Turkish army invaded in response. Cyprus remains divided.”
The history of Cyprus did not begin with the action carried out by Turkey in 1974. Slowly, but surely we will tell our side of the story and the truth will come out.
Jansev Jemal, London
(picture at top of Jansev Jemal with a copy of The Times from 29 July 2020, on page with the article ‘Don McCullin’s prize photo of Cypriot misused for propaganda’. Photo © Jansev Jemal)