A loving encounter in Northern Cyprus

A loving encounter in Northern Cyprus “This is how we used to live”, my Pappou (grandfather) said to me, wiping tears from his eyes, “Greeks and Turks together”. We had just eaten some freshly-made haloumi cheese, standing outside Pappou’s old house in Agia Irini, Cyprus. Pappou (Costas) migrated to Australia in 1947 as a 21-year old and had not visited his village in the north of Cyprus since 1972. His two brothers, who remained in Cyprus, both live in the south since the Turkish military intervention in 1974 displaced them and, although the border between the Turkish Cypriot north and Greek Cypriot south was opened in 2003, neither had visited their village since the day they fled from the Turkish military in 1974. It was very significant that Costas was in Cyprus in July 2013. It had been twenty years since he last visited and he had not expected that he would return to his homeland in his old age. At 87, Costas wanted to make the most of his visit. He was determined to make the journey to visit his old village. Much to our surprise, Costas’s brother Andreas decided to come, too. Their younger brother Iordanis was adamant that he would not travel north, as, like many Cypriots, he feels that the experience would be too traumatic and heartbreaking; we understood and respected his decision. Two of his children, however, decided to join us. Costas made the trip […]

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