By Heidi Trautmann
For a couple of days only, January 6 – 11, we had the
chance to visit an extraordinary exhibition at the Atatürk Cultural Centre. “50
Years Cyprus Turkish Post Stamps”, a reflection on the history of North Cyprus.
I was there for the opening on January 6 and President Dr. Derviş Eroğlu opened
the exhibition in the presence of Doğan Emiroğullari, the Post Minister, Dr.
Ahmet Kaşif, Minister of Public Roads and Transport, Sedat Çomunoğlu, President
and Bünyamin Altinok Vice President of the Philatelic Association and many more
officials and philatelists. The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of
seminars and Jury meetings, the latter to determine the winners out of the 141
collections by 34 private collectors including the Association itself, the Post
Ministry and the Ankara Stamp Museum. The collectors are specializing on
themes, many on the history of Cyprus, then of North Cyprus, one on the Cypriot
Railroads, another on the Victorian
Period, historic buildings collections and so forth; also young girls have
participated with their collections on flora and fauna. Most interesting. Also
Mehmet Şik, our 90 year old photographer had a panel with his
collection on Red Cross and Red Crescent. I asked one collector, he is a
policeman and specializes on Cyprus Railways, where he gets the missing parts
from and he answered, from the internet and at auctions. In the entrance hall there were animated
discussions and exchanges going on as I could observe and many memory sheets
were on sale.
Only recently I had spoken to Mehmet Ertuğ, the author
of the book ‘Postal History of the Turkish Cypriot Posts’. On the occasion of my
interview with him in his function as the last puppeteer in North Cyprus, the
Master of the Shadow Theatre ‘Karagöz and Hacivat’he gave me this book on the
postal history of Cyprus. Mehmet Ertuğ is the founder member of Cyprus Turkish
Philatelic Society (1979) and Cyprus Turkish Philatelic Federation (1984) and
the first president of both. One of his main ambitions was to make philately a
popular hobby in Cyprus. Mr. Mehmet Ertuğ participated in many national and
international stamp exhibitions and won many prizes.
It is the third edition (2001) I am holding in my
hand, the first was in 1979 and second in 1985. In his foreword, Mehmet Ertuğ
says: …Everything in this book is based on documents and great care has been
taken not to include anything which is not based on supporting documentation.
This book attempts to explain the realities reflected in philatelic events
which are analogous with political events.
The words of a German educator, who after examining
the previous edition carefully, stressed the realistic and documentary nature
of this book, are quite interesting: ‘If I were your Minister of Culture and
Education, I would utilize this book in schools….’.
I can only confirm this after I had read the book and
even for an amateur such as I, the reading is interesting.
There is another book on the same subject I have in my
possession, it is ‘Cachets and Special Date Stamps 1972-2008’ by Gülter Kuran. I have written about it in 2009 and you can
read the full text in my review No 32 on my website. Gülter Kuran was
the Director of Postal Services from 1998 – 2001 and had started her research while
still in service. Her first book covering the period 1970-1998 on Postage
Stamps and First Day Covers came out in 1999. Now she has finalized her
research work to collect the information and is now happy to present her work
to the public. The book is both in English and Turkish.
The exhibition organised to celebrate 50 years of
Cyprus Turkish Postal Services is a huge history book, to which so many have
contributed to. The valuable collections are witnesses of historical events in
Cyprus, however, also tell of Cyprus’ historical riches and beauty, images of
personalities and local artists. Many of my artist friends have contributed to
special memory sets with their works.
I am impressed; unfortunately the collections will
all go back to their owners as from January 11 so it is good that we have books
that we can go back to.