By Mertkan Hamit
Yesterday, I wrote a post in Turkish about Deryneia Beach aka Beach of Shame. As I received a couple of requests I decided to translate it in English. Please find my views…
Since the Deryneia checkpoint was opened; my crossings to the southern part of Famagusta have increased. The joy of Kleftiko at Costaris; tasty bakery in Thimonia and the clear waters at Sirena Bay are some of my favorites.
I was familiar with Deryneia area before the opening of the checkpoint due to a project I was involved in the village. I have always found the people of Deryneia very welcoming and sincere. Regardless of their political views- leftist or rightist- and regardless of their religious stand; they are all appreciative of the fact that we are the people of the same island.
Their attitude towards me may or may not be a coincidence, but the attitude of the southern Famagustians for the ones from the north is sound – in spite of everything.
I will say everything because we have done so much to be ashamed of as the Northern Famagustians…
When Varosha was fenced off in 74, part of Deryneia was completely shut down and have remained inaccessible for decades. Unfortunately, none of us defended the rights of these people. When the crossing point was opened, we couldn’t even bear a few people hanging photos of their families on the wires in front of those abandoned houses by the road. The photos were taken off in a few days.
We have turned the future of these people as a bargaining chip. As if this was not enough, those of Evkaf-men (Pro-Evkaf) who were seen as compradors in the 1950s were then declared heroes and we, as a collective, have not said that we cannot be part of this lie. By not doing so, we betrayed some fundamental points in the political history of the Turkish Cypriots as well as our fellow citizens, Greek Cypriots, which has lead to digging the island’s bitter history.
When it suited us, we said that the fenced off area is a military zone. I once was kept in custody for hours just because I did a video recording from outside Varosha and I was told that if this is seen as an ‘espionage’, I could be jailed for up to 15 years. Now, you can see lots of photos of Varosha being shared on the official website of the Foreign Minister. They talk about the rule of law; but, when it comes to the opposite side or the Greek Cypriots, things work differently. For example, a Greek Cypriot woman was arrested yesterday. According to the news, she stole liquor from a market in the north worth 150 Lira (25 euro). Although she stated that she has a “condition” the court decided to detain her for another 3 days. Therefore, justice is not equal to everyone here. It depends on one’s religion and status.
And there is yet another one with the utmost importance. It was announced that the “Deryneia beach is ready for the summer” but one to those with a Turkish descent. The mayor of Deryneia Karayiannis said, “the beach of Ay Memnon should be accessible to two communities” however our side completely ignored this by not compromising their insolence.
We opened a racist beach and advertised it. The Union of Municipalities remained silent on the opening of the racist beach; so did the Chambers of Commerce. Political parties, the revolutionaries, the progressives, the democrats.. they all remained silent. The ones who make a living due to the Deryneia checkpoint remained silent. No one could say that this is a racist beach and there is no room for racism in this island.
They just did not care. Let your racist beach ruin.
We’re not going to the beach of shame.
We will boycott the racist beach until it is accessible to all.