I lived in Nicosia during my secondary school years. Our house was located in Kuchuk Kaimakli, right on the bypass. It was a typical one storey Cypriot House with a verandah at the front, erected on a almost half a donum, ie 7200 sq. ft. soil.
The secondary school I use to go with my bike every day was located near the Selimie mosque in the heart of the Nicosia old town. The building now is hosting the Ministry of Tourism. A beautiful, two storey building, walls made of sand stone with no gothic arches and the floors made of timber.
I knew by heart all the streets, short cuts, sandwich huts, shops selling cheap chocolates and play grounds in the area stretching from my home up to the secondary school. Half of this vast area was within the walls and the remaining half, outside of the town. Adjacent to it were the Bouyuk Kaimaklai, rather a larger quarter compared to Kuchuk Kaimakli, inhabited by the Greek Cypriots mainly. Actually “Kuchuk” means “small or minor” and “Bouyuk” means “Big or large” in Turkish.
On the eve of December 21, 1963 the organized armed Greek Cypriot militia as per the notorious Akritas Organisation, set up by the than EOKA leaders like Tassos Papadopulos, Spyros Kyprianou, Nikos Sampson – the president of the “Cyprus Hellen Republic” declared immediately after the July 15, 1974 coup- and others and the than president of the Republic Archishop Makarios as its invisible leader, attacked to Turkish quarters and villages all over the island. Hundreds of Turkish Cypriot children, women, elderly and civilians brutally exterminated during this last week of the year 1963, under the freezing cold of month December.
The Greek Cypriot irregular and illegal army attacked to Kuchuk Kaimakli aswell. The commander of the Greek Cypriot irregular army was the notorious murderer Nikos Sampson. His fame was based on shooting from behind the defenseless and innocent wife and children of British soldiers and officers, shopping or walking in the Ledra Street of Nicosia, during the British Colonial period, second half of the 1950′s.
The troops of Nikos Sampson, invaded the area after a daylong severe clashes. The houses were looted first and then burned, some razed to the ground as well. The mosque was totally destroyed. In the cold, rainy and breezing days of December 1963, the smoke rising from the burned houses lasted for weeks. It was as if a living night mare.
The unfortunate natives of Kuchuk Kaimakli had to flee leaving all their belongings, wealth, memories, future dreams, loved ones and the than civilized life behind, under the fear of death. The only place they can shelter were the two cinema halls within the Turkish quarter of the walled city of Nicosia. They stayed there for couple of months with no electricity, water, kitchen, bathroom or even a proper toilet. None of the Turkish Cypriot natives of Kutchuk Kaimakli allowed by the Greek yoke to return back to their homes. It was strictly prohibited.
Republic of Turkey sent tents, food, clothing and money to these unfortunate victims of Greek Cypriots, immediately after the attacks to give them a push to survive.
After five severe and harsh years under the inhuman yoke of Greek Cypriots, finally the “peace negotiations” between the two people of the island started in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon in 1968. The second meeting held in Ledra Palace, the than HQ of UN situated within the buffer zone. The late Mr. R. R. Denktash was speaker of the Cyprus Turkish Communal Chamber and the late Mr. G. Klerides was the Greek Cypriot Communal Chamber/House of Representatives.
During one of these meetings Mr. Denktash requested permission from Mr. Klerides for the return of Kuchuk Kaimakli immigrants back to their homes. The answer of Mr. Klerides was a big “NO”, following his historical comment “we conquered Kutchuk Kaimakli with blood and can only give it back with blood“. He ment clearly “come and get it if you are brave enough”…
During the 1974 intervention of Turkey after the coup of July 15, legally based on addendum I, item IV of the 1960 Constitution of Republic of Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot inhabitants of Varosha evacuated the town by the fear stretching back to middle ages.
Now the Greek Cypriot leader Mr. Anastasiadis is asking for the return of the Varosha as a significant gesture to start “peace negotiations”. I believe he totally forgot the Kuckuk Kaimakli incident or the genocide his elderly compatriots exerted on us, the Turkish Cypriots, during 1963-1974….