TRT World to screen new 6-part documentary series for 40th anniversary of the TRNC

International broadcaster TRT World will be televising a new six-part documentary called The Forefront: Cyprus covering the Mediterranean island’s recent tragic past.

The first episode will be screened on Wednesday 15 November 2023, a date which marks the fortieth anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.

Describing its new series, TRT World writes: “Cyprus, a pivotal island in the Mediterranean, has remained a focal point of political power struggles throughout its history. The Forefront: Cyprus documentary series embarks on a journey through the decades – from the Bloody Christmas of 1963 to the Turkish operation and the Annan Plan, uncovering the little-known chapters of this island’s enduring conflict. Within six episodes, we explore the hardships, divisions and the quest for reconciliation on this historic island.”

The Forefront: Cyprus includes interviews with some 50 people, including politicians, former heads of state, ministers, diplomats, officials from the United Nations and the European Union, historians, Turkish Cypriot veterans, and many eyewitnesses.

Among those sharing their views for the series are former United Nations Special Representative for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, former TRNC Presidents Mehmet Ali Talat and Derviş Eroğlu, and Keti Klerides, a peace activist and daughter of the late Greek Cypriot president Glafcos Clerides.

The documentary series, which is in English, explores lesser known aspects of the 60-year Cyprus conflict, such as the crucial Battle of Erenköy in 1964, as well as filming in the island-wide buffer zone, which remains under the control of the United Nations.

The six episodes

Episode 1 – Seeds of Hate: From the Greek Cypriot dreams of Enosis (Union with Greece) to the massacres known as ‘Bloody Christmas’ in December 63, this episode charts the roots of the Cyprus conflict.

Episode 2 – Resistance: The incredible Turkish Cypriot resistance in the small port village of Erenköy, which was besieged by the Greek Cypriots and blockaded for days in 1964, is told through the eyes of eyewitnesses and Turkish Cypriot mujahideen (resistance fighters).

Episode 3 – Operation Atilla: this episode delves into the events of the summer of 1974, when the Greek military junta in Athens backed a coup in Cyprus that toppled Archbishop Makarios, setting off an internecine war among Greek Cypriots, as well as massacres of Turkish Cypriots, prompting the Turkish Armed Forces’s military intervention, called the Peace Operation by Turks.

Episode 4 – Diplomatic War: After the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, Turkish Cypriots declared their independence in 1983 and a great diplomatic struggle began. The subject of this episode is the long-running Cyprus Negotiations.

Episode 5 – Annan Plan: The internationally backed plan, first put forward by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2002 for the unification of the island, explores the political events that developed around it resulting in the 2004 referendum.

Episode 6  – One Island, Two States: Bringing the Cyprus dispute to the present day, this episode looks at why the TRNC, backed by Turkiye, is now advocating for a two station solution.

Catch the first episode of The Forefront Cyprus on TRT World this Wednesday, 15 November, at 14:30 GMT. TRT World is available on the Sky, Virgin Media, and Turksat platforms.

With thanks to Issy Atahasan of North Cyprus Heartbeat for the above story.