By Heidi Trautmann
On April 4, 2012, I entered the court in Nicosia and found the inner courtyard, a most beautiful and peaceful place with the colonial-style buildings all around, following the invitation by Mr. Harid Fedai, literary researcher and writer. It was the proper place for the presentation of three most important volumes containing the ‘Judgements of Justice Mehmet Zekia’, I thought.
According to the importance of the occasion many interesting people of society, politics, universities and jurisprudence took part in the presentation of the three volumes containing the judgements of a most respected man in Cyprus, Mehmet Zekia. The three volumes in dark blue and gold letters will become a very important reference source for Cyprus law, its history and culture. The volumes were edited and collated by Erdem Erginel, the grandson of Zekia Bey’s sister and member of the cabinet of Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, European Commission. The project was published by “Kibris Türk Hukukunu Araştima ve Geliştirme Enstitüsü” which I was told means Institute for Research and Development of Cyprus Turkish Jurisprudence.
Mr. Nazif Bozatli, a friend of Mr. Harid Fedai and my never ending source of information, enlightened me on Zekia Bey’s background story: He was born in Balalan in 1903, a village in the Karpaz area; he became a most respected judge, known for his wisdom and was highly respected by the Greek Cypriots too. When Greeks originating from Balalan were asked where they came from, they answered …’from Zekia effendi’s village’. In 1961 he was elected member of the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg and was a member of this court until his death in 1984.
There is a book about Mehmet Zekia "Bashakim Zekia Bey" 2002 Lefkosa, written by Mr. Harid Fedai, who is a member of the Institute and also acts there as a consultant in matters of literary research. He is a man I highly respect and on the occasion of the book launch I met many members of his family who are today distributed over many countries but always come home for holidays.
The opening of the launch ceremony was announced by Mr. Oktay Çinar who is a young lawyer and the grandson of Mr. Oktay Feridun, retired judge and former minister, who started the round of speakers; he is married to Zekia Bey’s daughter. (It was very interesting for me to learn the fine woven net of relationships.) He was followed by Mr. Erdem Erginel, the editor of the volumes. As next we heard Mr. Nevvor Nolan, who is the chief judge of the supreme court of the TRNC and finally Mr. Irsen Küçük, Prime Minister of the TRNC and the nephew of Dr. Fazil Küçük, former Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus.
It was late afternoon when I left and entered the busy city life again, and I had the feeling of leaving behind me an island of peace, law and order.
The three volumes will be available shortly in all bookstores at the price of TL 300.