GOOD OLD DAYS OF COOPERATION WITHIN THE WORKING CLASS OF CYPRUS Ahmet Djavit An

When the Communist Party of Cyprus was established officially on 14 August 1926, there was no Turkish Cypriots among its founders. Although one of its aims was "to form a united anti-British front of Greeks and Turks", its contact with the Turkish Cypriot community was very limited. The party supported at first the independence and later the autonomy of the island. The difference of ideas between the Communist Party of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot nationalists who were advocating the union of the island with Greece (Enosis) obstructed the formation of the "anti-imperialist unity front" which was the aim of the communists. On the other hand, Kemalism was the only valid ideology in Turkey and among Turkish Cypriots. The socialist literature published in Turkish language was almost non-existent in Cyprus. Because the influence of the Communist Party of Turkey, which was prohibited in Turkey in 1923, was negligible even in Turkey. Turkish Cypriot workers were organized in the common Trade Union of Construction Workers, established in April 1919. Turkish Cypriot workers took part in the activities of the Limassol Labor Centre, which united all the workers under one organization in 1924. The constitution of the Limassol Labor Centre was translated into Turkish language, so that the Turkish Cypriots could learn the aims and the purpose of the Centre. Mr.Yiannis Lefkis, who was one of the founders of the CPC wrote in his memoirs that the Constitution of the Labor Centre was translated into Turkish by a Turkish Cypriot called Mustafa who

had a good knowledge of Greek who later emigrated to Turkey and worked for a while at the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriot participated at the opening ceremony of the centre and the constitution was adopted unanimously. We can also see from a Turkish Cypriot newspaper called "Birlik" (Unity) that it had a good relationship with one of the first communist publications in Cyprus "Neos Antropos". “Birlik” in its issue of 30 January 1925 (No.53) reproduced a letter written by Mr. H.Solomonides, written in the name of the writers of the “Neos Antropos” newspaper, published in Limassol. Mr.Solomonides thanked “Birlik” for the letter it sent on the occasion of the publication of the first issue of "Neos Antropos". Mr Solomonides said that his colleagues and he followed the “Birlik” newspaper with great interest and that they were sorry for not being able to publish half of their own newspaper in Turkish, although they decided to do so since there was no Turkish printing house in Limassol. “Birlik”, in its next issue, reproduced an article of “Neos Antropos” in Turkish, arguing that the people of Cyprus did not want to get rid of British administration for the sake of living under the Greek administration. In April 1924, there were 250 Greek Cypriot and 65 Turkish Cypriot representatives at the first meeting of the agricultural workers which was organized by advocate Kyriakos Rossides in Lefkoniko. Two Turkish Cypriots were elected as delegates. The second

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under the title "The one who left the flock behind will be eaten by the wolf!" which gives us an idea about the political activities of the Turkish Cypriot left-wingers in those days. the communists issued statements in Nicosia and in other district centers.doc . this party did not come into effect." The Communist Party of Cyprus and eight affiliated organizations were outlawed in August 1933 after some amendments were made to the existing laws. When the British colonial regime allowed the activities of political parties in 1941. If one or two illiterate Turkish Cypriots who are not aware of themselves had gone under the influence of the communists and left us. At the end of 1920's and at the beginning of 1930's. The leaders of the Cypriot Communist Party were sent abroad.. The article read as follows: "In the last weeks. /opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2589/43762255. On the other hand. This constitution belonged to the "Nicosia Labor Club" (Lefkoşa Amele Kulübü Nizamname-i Esasisi) which had 16 pages.meeting was held in Nicosia in July 1925 where it was decided to form a common "Rural Greek-Turkish Party". Owing to personal dissensions. This is a good sign for us and this is a clear evidence that the Turkish Cypriot community has no relationship whatsoever with the Bolshevik movement. the British Colonial Constitution and the Legislative Council were abolished. Again there were no Turkish Cypriots among its founders. because they left the flock behind. We shall not analyze or support their statements. we are offended with this act and they put themselves in a very dangerous position. we want to deal with them and explain our views… We do not know which Turkish Cypriot approached and met the Bolsheviks. the British colonial administration tried to block the development of the working class movement by changing the penal code and prohibiting left wing literature. dated 13 August 1931. it is of those who deviated to dark roads and we are sure that they will be eaten by the wolf. After the rebellion in October 1931. We also know that there was another constitution translated and published in Turkish in Nicosia on 20th October 1931.. We understand from the complaints in the Greek Cypriot newspapers that there are some 60 Greek Cypriot teachers who cooperate with the communists. Since we have seen some Turkish Cypriot names among those who signed these statements. But there is none from the Turkish Cypriot teachers. we read an article in the “Soz” newspaper. there were drought and poverty in Cyprus and economic crisis in the US and elsewhere in the capitalist world. The Greek Cypriot newspaper "Chronos" reported in its issue of 4th October 1933 that a Turkish Cypriot called Hasan Hilmi of Gilani was among those who were arrested for making propaganda of communism. and started organizing themselves in trade unions. this is not due to the failure of our community. The people of Cyprus began leaning toward the ideals of socialism. and they invited the artisans to Bolshevism. the AKEL was formed as the legal organ of the Communist Party of Cyprus. Before this event happened. If there is any fault. but whoever they are. 500 copies were printed and sold for one piaster (Cyprus currency of the time).

so that at the end of the war." I quote another passage from the open letter of Nicosia secretary of the Turkish Cypriot TU.429) of the “Halkin Sesi” newspaper. The pro-Enosis leanings of the PEK prevented the further participation of the Turkish Cypriots. (. we have to continue our struggle and organize ourselves. D. the Turkish Cypriot villagers formed their own "Turkish Cypriot Union of Farmers".. dated 28 May 1944: "(. no one spoke Turkish and suddenly when this was told to you after the Greek Cypriot workers /opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2589/43762255.doc . In 1945. The division of the working class movement on ethnic basis deepened when on 13 August 1944. you shouted in some of the general meetings "Brothers! Because we are Greeks. Although hundreds of Turkish and Armenians were members of your Union.) You decorated your union's building on 25th March with your own flags and made various speeches..A. to the Nicosia District Workers Union. The First Turkish Cypriot Trade Union was formed on 27 December 1942 under the name "Nicosia Turkish Carpenters' Union" with the departure of 12 Turkish Cypriot carpenters from the common Trade Union under the leadership of Niyazi Dagli. Mehmet Niyazi. 843 Turkish Cypriot workers were organized in the separate Turkish Cypriot trade unions.When AKEL adopted the policy of union with Greece (Enosis) at its second congress at the beginning of 1943. you did not give us the opportunity to listen to Ankara radio during the greatest sports bairam. why is there not a single Turk in the district board of the Union which is recognized by the government (. who was Dervish Ali Kavazoglu's pseudonym.Ziartides sent a pompous telegram to the British Prime Minister for the union of Cyprus with Greece.Alkan. He was answering the article of Mr.Yakovides. we could develop our nation.. both in the trade union movement and in the political activities We observe here for the first time a division of the working class movement on the ethnic basis. The propaganda for Enosis was again the reason why the Turkish Cypriot agricultural workers left the newly formed Pan Cyprian Agrarian Union in 1943. The worst of it. there started some problems for the Turkish Cypriots in their cooperation with the Greek Cypriots. wrote the following in his article titled "Why the Turkish Workers' Union separated from the Greek-Cypriots?" on 13 June 1944 (No." If you do not make discrimination between the racial and religious differences. On 1 May 1943...) Your secretary-general Mr. but you never let us raise the Turkish flag on our national days and we did not say any word about the celebration of our national days.). the District Secretary of the Nicosia Workers Union. published on 22 June 1944 in Halkin Sesi: "How many Turkish placards were among the hundreds of the Greek ones during the celebrations of 1 May 1943? None were present. During the meeting where the decision was taken for the general strike in 1943. hundreds of Turkish Cypriot workers left the PEO building in order to establish new Turkish Cypriot trade unions. published in “Anexartitos” newspaper.. under the name "Turkish Cypriot Union of Workers".

This was possible only on 19 May 1948. It had to stop its publication because of a libel case from Dr.. so that they would develop and have success.. But later they withdrew their support.. published in “Yanki”. they want to see efforts for our future participation at this cause.Ezekias Papaioannou was elected as the new secretary-general of the AKEL at its 6th Congress in August 1949... The Turkish Cypriots and their schools should be called not as Islamic. His slogan was "Enosis and only Enosis" and he had the support of Nicos Zahariades. the Turkish national days should be accepted and celebrated officially. published an article under the title "Greek Cypriot parties and us". Did you try to employ Turkish Cypriot workers at least according to the population quota? Was there any research that the wages of the Turkish Cypriot would be equal or near to the Greek Cypriot workers? In short. Here are some excerpts: "Although the Limassol Municipality accepted the fact that we don't support Enosis. Besides 1st May. Turkish Cypriot leader and owner of the Halkin Sesi daily. /opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2589/43762255. But we see with sorrow that the love we see from the Greek Cypriot friends is not more than a political respect. two days after the end of the strike. The street labels which are put on the walls of every street should be written also in Turkish. Every document to be sent from the colonial offices to any Turk should be written in Turkish.dispersed. with the pretext that the contents were "too ideological". the Turkish Cypriot newspapers “Halkin Sesi” and “Hursoz” which were close to the Turkish Cypriot leadership supported the strike. was saying this: "Don't allow the oppression of the Turkish Cypriot civil servants or workers under the Greek Cypriots. did you care for the rights of the Turks? No! No! No!" The Turkish Cypriot newspaper “Yanki”. This newspaper stopped its daily publication for a while in 1949 and restarted as a weekly.. the first Turkish Cypriot left wing publication was issued under the name of "Iscinin Yolu SASMAZ" (which means in English. In the beginning. The Great Miners' Strike which continued for 125 days from 13 January to 17 May 1948 is a good example of cooperation between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot trade unions.." In another excerpt from the letter of the "Turkish Labor Union" sent to the British Secretary of the Ministry of the Colonies. on its issue of 26 February 1945 No..doc . Mr.9." In October 1947. We believe in the true friendship between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot.... It was referring to another article published in the journal of the Limassol Municipality under the title "The position of the Turks". "the path of the worker does not deviate").. dated 6 May 1945. you wanted to keep the workers under the rain. but as Turkish. But this monthly journal stopped its publication after the second issue. Because they still insist not to give the post of second presidency in the municipalities to us and they neglect the Turkish language in municipal matters. The name of this newspaper was "Emekci" (Laborer). not in Greek or English. leader of the Communist Party of Greece.. There was a need to publish a daily newspaper of the workers for the first time..Kucuk.

the illegal organ of the Communist Party of Greece wrote in its issue of November 1951 that the Enosis slogan permitted the strongest antiimperialist mobilization under the then existing conditions.Koliannis and P..Ioannidis. PEO started to publish statements frequently in Turkish language and a monthly organ called "Isci Bulteni" (Workers Bulletin). The Turkish-Cypriots do not believe in the Greek-Cypriots and they don't trust the Akelists. This can be the National Turkish Branch of this single party (AKEL). who was the owner and the editor of the "Emekci" newspaper and since 1952 a member of the Central Council of PEO. An interesting article was published in the Greek-Cypriot daily “Neos Anthropos” which was reproduced a few days later. Here are some excerpts: "The problem of Turkish minority is the main problem in the anti-imperialist struggle. This first historical statement included the wellknown Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet's message to the Turkish Cypriots.. AKEL. There has to be a single party of the working people. It was even planned to publish a weekly trade union newspaper called "Iscinin Sesi" (Worker's Voice). If the AKEL does not have a complete national policy for the Turkish minority. on 19 March 1952 by the Turkish-Cypriot daily “Halkin Sesi”.. too.” The Turkish problem in Cyprus is a special national question within the whole National Question. who asked them to cooperate with their Greek Cypriot brothers in their struggle for peace and freedom in Cyprus which should stop being a colony and a military base. it will not be able to deal both with the Enosis cause and the Greek National Cause.500 Turkish Cypriot workers were organized in PEO. but when "Inkilapci" (Revolutionary) weekly newspaper was /opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2589/43762255. At the 7th Congress of the AKEL in December 1951. Because they don't trust the chauvinism of Great Greece. a resolution was adopted which pledged for the party "to pay greater attention to those in the Turkish Cypriot minority who were still under the influence of the chauvinist (mainland-oriented) Turkish bourgeoisie and landlords.doc .." The Association of left wing trade unions (PEO) started to cooperate from the summer of 1948 onwards with the Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions." The nationalist policy of AKEL alienated the Turkish Cypriot community more and more. we see that 1.The Turkish Minority". And AKEL has `to put its policy on these problems with seriousness and certainty.. It is obvious that the Turkish-Cypriot worker will not believe in the slogan of Enosis with Greece. The article was written by G.“Neos Cosmos”. was appointed to the head of this Turkish Cypriot Bureau of PEO.Roussou and its title was “Liberation Struggle of the People of Cyprus . In March 1954.. serving for imperialism.Ahmet Sadi Erkurt. K. At the end of 1954. published the first Turkish language statement of the "Turkish Branch of the Party" in October 1954 which was widely distributed up to Galatia village in Karpasia. Mr... In November 1952 it decided to open a central bureau for its Turkish Cypriot members.

the head of the Turkish section of PEO. they did not realize this plan. given to Prof. Later on 24 May. AKEL. They had lived together on this soil since centuries and they still live. As a result. History has taught us to whose interests such events can serve. Turkish Cypriot leftists came under threat from their own community leadership. Simultaneously. you will be killed. The Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot left-wingers who were against the partition of the island were raising their voices and making opposition. Other progressive Turkish Cypriots were either killed or wounded in Nicosia and Limassol. Fazil Onder. It published articles and news about all the important social and economical subjects of those days." The idea of partitioning the island is both not possible to implement and cannot be a form of final solution to the Cyprus question. the editor of the "Inkilapci" newspaper was killed.doc . Because the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot people do not live in separate areas. this newspaper was closed down together with "Neos Democratis". in a letter dated 19 January 1957. has been de-facto partitioned. youth and womens organisations and many leftists were arrested and put into prison. the TMT (Turkish Resistance Organization) published a statement and asked the resignation of the Turkish Cypriot workers from the Greek Cypriot tradeunion PEO and warned those who collaborate with the Greek Cypriots that they would be punished. Unfortunately after 1974. the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. stated that "the Cyprus people. which is supposed to be the party of the whole working people of Cyprus. the then Turkish Cypriot leadership and its underground organization sent letters of threat to the publisher team of the "Inkilapci". It will end up with a problem of displacement of people. In addition to being subject to Colonial legal suppression. the prediction of the AKEL Turkish Branch has proven right and Cyprus. For example. Turkish Cypriot newspapers of those days were full of resignations from PEO. published in the last issue of "Inkilapci" on 12 December 1955.published on 13 September 1955. the daily newspaper of AKEL. One could argue that is it not because of this vital failure to form a common anti- /opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2589/43762255. AXEL itself was outlawed together with all its subsidiary village. After the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot workers marched together on the 1 May 1958 and stated their decisiveness to wage a common struggle against imperialism and colonialism. your head will be crushed". As it can be understood from the article under the title "Threat". were a non-divisible whole. But after the British colonial administration declared the emergency situation on 14 December 1955. as Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership continued their policy that the partition would be the only solution to the Cyprus question. And the first terror action started on 22 May 1958 with the murder attempt to Ahmet Sadi. decided to close its so-called "Minorities Department"." *** After almost 50 years. Nihat Erim who was in Cyprus during that time. the Turkish Cypriot branch of AKEL. bearing sentences like "Stop the publication of Inkilapci. The "Inkilapci" newspaper was published only for 14 weeks and it became the voice of the workers.

30 January 1925. 8 July 2002) 6. 6 May 2002) 5. important for Cypriots. Irmenians and Latins to understand that long-term unity of their land can only be based on a common concept of Cypriot national identity with a shared culture and common political and economic goals. why are we still not in a position to form a united front of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot working masses? It is.53 (quoted by Harid Fedai. 6-13 November 1987 7. Ahmet An.3357 9. Ahmet An. in 5 parts starting from No. From Our Old Press. An Overview Of The Past And Present Of The Turkish Cypriot Left. Cyprus as I have known and seen. Resources: 1.Ahmet An. Ex Ibarhi (in Greek). 6 February 1925. Ankara 1975. pp. Nihat Erim.doc . Birlik. Fall 1993. 15-22 May 2005 2. No. Michalis Michaelides.55-57 (Presented at the seminar organized by the INEK-PEO and DEV-IS on 13 October 2005 in Nicosia) /opt/scribd/conversion/tmp/scratch2589/43762255. therefore. Koylu newspaper. The Influence of the October revolution on the political organisation of the Working Class of Cyprus.54 (quoted by Harid Fedai. Turks.51 (March 2004) 3. Kıbrıs. Kıbrıs. From Our Old Press.47 (November 2003) to No. pp. No. Birlik. Greeks. Nicosia 1997 4. Anything short of that will inevitably lead in the best of circumstances to an uneasy Apartheid with the ever-present spectre of violence looming overhead. The Cyprus Review. Afrika newspaper. Thoughts on the thesis of the 80th anniversary of KKK/AKEL (8 parts). 20 October 1954 (No: 3528) 8. The Turkish Cypriot Working Class and the Cyprus Labor Movement. List of Turkish Books printed in Cyprus 1878-1997. Soz newspaper. Since our struggle is common. 8 November 1954 and Halkin Sesi newspaper.imperialist front was the first of a series of failures that ultimately led to the physical division of Cyprus. Kemal Cankat.

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