28 Portraits

Christina Koutsavaki • Niki Tsianakka / Androulla Tsianakka / Nikolas Krstic • Mustafa Keleşzade • Panagiotis Ecosaris and his wife Elli • Anna Marangou •   Müge Şevketoğlu • Andreas Triantafillis • Ceren Ataker Etçi / Constantinos Hadjichristofi • Katie Clerides • Maro Emmanuel • Şener Levent • Ibrahim Aziz • Savvas Christofides • Soti Christodoulou / Kyriakos Kyriakou • Ergün Pektaş • Alexis Sofocleous • Committee on Missing Persons / Alexandra Mouski • Arianna Economou • Fatma Özok • Nora Nadjarian • Akis Lordos • Özkan Tekman / Ahmet Tekman • Magda Zenon • Evren Inançoğlu

Selected quotes from six interviews of 28 in total.


We are Cypriots. Katie Clerides

Katie Clerides

Pioneer of the peace talks, daughter of Glafcos Clerides, former president of the Republic of Cyprus, *1949
Interview 29 May 2016, Nicosia

... For me, the reunification is the only thing that I really want from life. I’m 67 years old and I’ve achieved many things. I’m very happy with my life. The only thing I would really like to see is the unification of Cyprus. It would give me great happiness. I’d dance in the streets with my Turkish-Cypriot friends and celebrate. And I really think that this time it might happen because I trust both of them, Akıncı and Anastasiades. ...

Nora Nadjarian

Nora Nadjarian

Author and poet, *1966
Interview 3 June 2016, Nicosia

... My work is minimalist – all of it is condensed, intense and compressed ... By “minimalist”, I also mean: Some things can be left unsaid. I don’t want to preach, don’t want to spread any hidden or political messages. As a Cypriot author, however, it’s barely possible to avoid a political touch. … In Ledra Street there is a story entitled The Cyprus Problem. Two politicians are discussing the Cyprus problem on television. They keep saying the same thing, over and over again, the same sentences: “…there is no solution to the Cyprus problem. Because there is no solution to the Cyprus problem …” And that’s exactly the way it is. For years I have heard these debates, and still nothing seems to change. ...

We are Cypriots. Mustafa Keleşzade

Mustafa Keleşzade

Director of Khora Book Café, Activist with Baraka Culture Centre, *1990
Interview 7 June 2016, Nicosia

... We cannot see an agreement just as a first step and think the rest will surely follow. No, the reconciliation has to take place simultaneously at all levels. The war crimes on both sides, all the rapes and injustice, have to be dealt with at a judicial level. Only then will people be ready to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others. Our goal must be to eventually feel sincere empathy for one another. This is the only way to create trust. If we don’t manage to do that, an agreement, a ‘solution’ could spell new potential for conflict in the long term. ...

We are Cypriots. Arianna Economou

Arianna Economou

Dance activist, choreographer, dancer and dance teacher
Interview 9 June 2016, Nicosia

... Many people say that such a fundamental change will bring not only advantages, but also entail drawbacks. We will need a lot of discipline, a cool head and maturity. But I’m afraid nationalism is growing here too – just like everywhere else. … … Europe can protect us and I believe in Europe. We don’t need guarantees from any other states. We have to become more self-reliant. I can understand that change brings fear, but fear looms larger than the actual change. That’s why my latest piece, Far Off Lands, ends with the song Mme foase – Don’t be afraid – Korkma. 1 ...
1 in Greek Cypriot, English and Turkish, respectively.

We are Cypriots. Familie Tekman

Özkan Tekman

Former social worker, owner of Kyrenia Tavern, *1935
Interview 25 October 2016, Kyrenia

... How would it actually look if Greek Cypriots came back from the South and wanted to live here? What would happen to the people who now live in houses that once belonged to the Greek Cypriots? We will never be able to live together like it used to be. People have little faith that the transition would be peaceful. That’s why we need a state guarantee. That’s the only way we would agree. ...

Ahmet Tekman

Son of Özkan Tekman, owner of Kyrenia Tavern, *1959
Interview 25 October 2016, Kyrenia

... We‘re living here in an open-air prison. We’re trapped – for instance, in terms of a passport. ... Cypriots that only have a Northern Cypriot passport can only travel to Turkey. In order to travel to any other country they need permission to leave and have to apply for a visa, etc. People who don’t have the money or a foreign passport, even if they’re intelligent, are stuck here and don’t have any career opportunities. The government doesn’t care at all. But the younger generation wants to open up and be more European. A degree here in the North isn’t recognised anywhere – it’s a waste of time. If you want to study abroad, you’re thrown back two years because you have to first get other qualifications. That’s why young people try to escape this. The older generation, like my father, has gone through so much that they know enough to appreciate a modest future here in comparison. ...

We are Cypriots. Savvas Christofides

Savvas Christofides

Architect, *1956
Interview 7 July 2017, the day after the peace talks broke down, Nicosia

... When the events were announced today my reaction was total disappointment. The Cypriot people are going to suffer from this decision. I’m not blaming anybody specifically - neither Turkey nor Greece, Britain nor whomever. It’s sad. It’s sad for the younger generations. My only comment is: We were fighting for a "United Cyprus Now". My question now is: Unite Cyprus – how? ...



We are Cypriots. Cyprus now We are Cypriots. border We are Cypriots. cyprus project north We are Cypriots. Simit Dünjasy We are Cypriots. CVAR Abend We are Cypriots. Nikosia Schaufesterpuppen