Heidi Trautmann

385 - Kenan Atakol’s Book “Turkish & Greek Cypriots – Is their Separation Permanent?”

The fully revised and updated edition now available to the public


By Heidi Trautmann


Kenan Atakol's first edition was published in March 2003. I read it twice. The first time I was really moved by the simple, open and honest presentation; the sadness that goes with his experience; the disappointment and hurt. The second time I was looking for clues for our interview and my interest became more fact-orientated, facts to touch, documents in their actual phrasing, to all of which he had access in his former position as TRNC Foreign Affairs and Defence Minister. Then I felt not only touched but ashamed of how the international community - the whole world, with some countries in the first row - had handled the Cyprus issue from 1963 onwards. Indifference? Individual political interests? Yes, and it has been a continuous attack against the dignity of a people.

I knew about Kenan Atakol’s intention of updating the first edition and was eagerly waiting to read his view on the time elapsed between 2003 and 2011. He had completed the updated version some time ago, but he waited on with the amendments of 130 pages to his book ready in his drawer, to see if there was a slight chance of adding something more positive hoping with every ongoing talk that he would be able to add a tiny view of a possible solution.

“According to my observations, I have to declare today that nothing has changed, nothing is solved, my final assessment in my amendment was correct and I gave my consent to have the second edition of my book finally printed.”

The updated version gives us a clear picture of the political situation and the state of negotiations with all material of data until 2011, listing the missed occasions when a solution was possible – a comment made by Nicos A. Rolandis, former Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister (1978-1983): ‘The mere recording of the proposals we had over the years for the solution of our problem (we rejected all of them) causes sheer awe.’ There were 15 occasions starting in 1948 with the Consultative Assembly and ending in 2004 with the rejection of the Annan Plan, listing the many promises made by Europe, United Nations and USA, etc.

It is a hair-raising read. I want to add here Kenan Atakol’s last words in his updated version:

The separation of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots for now is irreversible. It took over 100 years and many incidents to force the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots in Cyprus to separate. Maybe it should never have happened, but it did and the reality now is different to what it used to be. The clock cannot be turned back. As for now, what the Turkish and Greek Cypriots need to do is to find ways and means of cooperating and living side by side as friends and good neighbors. This will not only be to the benefit of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots but to the benefit of the two motherlands - Turkey and Greece - and the whole region in general.”

The book written in English is available - for the moment being - at Bestsellers Bookstore in Kyrenia and Alsancak, and at all Deniz Plaza branches.


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