((c) BIAnet, 23rd September 2003. BIAnet relayed that, 'a passport-like document in the name of "Cyprus Donkeyson" from the "United Federal Republic of Donkeys" was prepared for the donkey [Eşek için "Birleşik Federal Eşekler Cumhuriyeti" tarafından, "Kypros Eşekoğlu" adına pasaport benzeri bir belge hazırlandığı görüldü]'(1).)
22nd September 2003
Between 2000 and 2004, Turkish Cypriots' protests against the Turkish-controlled regime and for the reunification of the island grew and grew, until there were 80,000 demonstrators on the streets, in a population of 200,000. (To put that in perspective, if the UK's largest protest against the Iraq war drew three million demonstrators; had it been an equivalent size, it would have drawn twenty-four million.)
Xenia Constantinou (3rd May 2005) said that it was after those protests that 'Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, claimed that there was no such thing as Cypriots in Cyprus, just two peoples with two different nationalities: Greeks and Turks. The Cyprus donkey is the only true Cypriot, he claimed'(2), although there is a mildly distracting discussion as to whether it was originally said by Denktash or Makarios (3).
Where the Green Line had been opened to allow the movement of Cypriots north and south, Denktaş instituted border controls, checking passports on entry to or exit from the occupied areas. As BIAnet (23rd September 2003) recorded, bicommunal activists went to campaign for 'freedom of movement [dolaşım özgürlüğü]'; but, as they explained, they were demanding it be given, not to themselves, but to Denktaş's true Cypriots, 'to the donkeys of Cyprus [Kıbrıs eşeklerine]'(1).
BIAnet relayed that, 'in reference to Denktaş's words, Anastasiou and Kanatlı said, "as the donkey is a true Cypriot, there will not be a problem with its entry into the North. Nevertheless, against [ready for] every eventuality, we have prepared a passport for it too. [Denktaş'ın sözlerine atıfta bulunan Anastasiou ile Kanatlı, "Eşek gerçek Kıbrıslı olduğuna göre, Kuzeye geçiş[i]nde bir sorun olmayacak. Ancak biz her ihtimale karşı, onun için de bir pasaport hazırladık" dediler.]'
The donkey was arrested along with the activists, all accused of 'an inappropriate attitude and behaviour towards the police [polise karşı uygunsuz tavır ve hareketi]'. That Afrika to run with a headline about the arrest of 'one Turkish Cypriot, two Greek Cypriots and one true Cypriot [Bir Kıbrıslıtürk, iki Kıbrıslırum ve bir de gerçek Kıbrıslı]'(4). (This story is available from other sources in English, Greek(5) and Turkish(4).)
I'm afraid Ali Osman's writing got more difficult and my translation weaker as it went on (particularly with his tendency to break sentences, rather than write the phrases as one sentence, which makes deciphering the grammar even more difficult than it already is; I have found it in Turkish and Turkish Cypriot journalists' work and have tried to undo it here).
Still, it was worth it for his analysis and my translation was guided by the commentary from Orhun, who reposted Osman's Afrika article in a Kıbrıs Postası forum under the title, "there is neither justice nor law in this regime [ne hak ne hakuk var bu rejimde]"(4). I also want to thank a Turkish friend who helped me work through one of the most challenging lines (but the remaining errors are all my own).
Constantinou (3rd May 2005) concluded with a joke she considered relevant to the Cyprus Problem:
One day Nasreddin Hodja got on his donkey the wrong way, facing backwards.
- Hodja, the people said, you're sitting on your donkey backwards!
- No, he replied. I'm not sitting on the donkey backwards. It's the donkey who is facing the wrong way!(2)
((c) BBC, 3rd December 2007. Via the BBC, I learned that Banksy noted, 'plenty of locals were keen to point out that in Palestine donkeys actually do get asked for ID all the time'; some residents have now painted over the mural, but there is debate over its value locally.)
- BIAnet, 23/09/03: "'Pasaportlu eşek'e gözaltı".
- Xenia Constantinou, Café Babel, 03/05/05: "Asinine behaviour in Cyprus".
- Makarios Drousiotis (23rd November 2002) credited this phrase to Denktaş: 'there are no Turkish Cypriots living in Cyprus, just Turks and the only Cypriot thing that lives on the island is the Cypriot donkey [στην Κύπρο δεν ζουν Τουρκοκύπριοι παρά μόνο Τούρκοι και ότι το μοναδικό κυπριακό είδος που ευδοκιμεί στο νησί είναι το κυπριακό γαϊδούρι]'.
BIAnet (23rd September 2003) also credited this to Denktaş: 'with the "donkey with a passport" operation, the two social groups referred to TRNC President Rauf Denktash's graphic words, "there is no Cypriot nation. There are Turks and Greeks on the island. Only the donkeys are Cypriot. [İki toplumlu gruplar, "pasaportlu eşek" eylemi ile KKTC Cumhurbaşkanı Rauf Denktaş'ın "Kıbrıslı diye bir millet yoktur. Adada Türkler ve Rumlar vardır. Sadece eşekler Kıbrıslıdır" şeklindeki sözlerine atıfta bulundular.]'
Milliyet (23rd September 2003), too, attributed that soundbite to Denktaş, albeit with yet another slightly different phrasing: 'the donkeys are the only locals of the island of Cyprus [Kıbrıs Adası'nın tek yerlileri eşeklerdir]'.
Akşam (24th September 2003), however, suggested that Denktaş's statement itself had a historical and political referent: 'Denktaş drew attention to Makarios's saying, "the only pure Cypriot in Cyprus is the Cyprus donkey", being wrongly attributed to him(self) [Denktaş, Makarios'un, 'Kıbrıs'ta yegane duru Kıbrıslı, Kıbrıs eşeğidir' sözünün de kendisine mal edilmeye çalışıldığına dikkati çekti].'
Moreover, Denktaş (26th February 2006) himself later disclaimed '[h]is saying that "[t]here is nothing Cypriot except for [the] Cyprus donkey"': 'It wasn't me. It was Makarios.'
- Ali Osman, Afrika, 23/09/03: "Bir Türk, iki Rum ve bir eşek!".
Bir Türk, iki Rum ve bir eşek!
Dün Ledra Palace kapısında eylem vardı.
Kıbrıslıtürkler ve Rumlar, kendi yurtlarında, pasaportla, kimlikle, kontrol altında seyahat etmeye hayır, demek için yaptılar bu eylemi.
Eylemin masumiyeti ortada...
Ama egemen olanlar buna bile müsaade etmediler.
Ve "eşekli eylem"e katılanlardan bazılarını tutukladılar.
Kıbrıslıtürk ve Rumların amaçları kendi ülkelerinde "eşek" yerine konmayı hazmedemediklerini vurgulamaktı...
Bunu potesto etmek ve dünyaya da bu mesajı vermekti.
Mesaj yerine ulaştı mı?
Kıbrıs'ın Kuzey'indeki rejim sahiplerinin böylesi masumane eylemleri bile hazmedememelerini iyi değerlendirmek gerekir.
Seçim öncesi baskıların devam ettiğinin bir işaretidir bu.
Hala daha demokratik eylemlerle bir yere varılacağını sananların yanılgısını bir kez daha gözler önüne sermekten başka birşey değildir bu...
Rejim kendisini deşifre ettikçe...
Muhalefet buna sarılıp onu yıkmaya yöneleceğine...
Söylemlerle, masum eylemlerle ve sloganlarla geçiştirmeye çalışıyor.
Bu da düzen sahiplerinin saldırganlığına yol açmakta...
Kanun yok, talimat var, diyerek...
Kimseyi kaale almadıklarını ortaya koyuyorlar...
[One Turk, two Greeks and a donkey!
There was an operation at Ledra Palace yesterday.
Cypriot Turks and Greeks did this operation to say no to travel under control, with identity cards, with passports, in their own homelands.
The operation's innocence was clear... but the sovereign ones didn't allow it.
They arrested some of the participants in "Operation Donkey" too.
The Cypriot Turk and Greeks' aims were to stress that they could not bear to be in the donkey's place in their own countries... to make this protest and send this message to the world.
Did the message reach its destination?
For me it did... It is necessary to use well the North Cyprus regime's masters' inability to bear even such innocent operations.
[I think this line translates as:] This is a mark of the perseverance of others before the election.
[I think this line translates as:] This is nothing other than to lay out in front of the eye, one more time, the error of imagining the place that will be arrived in with yet more democratic operations...
The regime is deciphering itself... [and] the opposition will begin to embrace this to destroy it... It is trying to parry with pronouncements, with innocent operations and with slogans.
This too is opening paths [of understanding?] into the aggression of the masters of the regime...
By saying, there is no law, there is [only] rule... they are exposing whom they consider unimportant...]
... Dün gerçekleşen "Weşekli pasaport eylemi" üç kişiyle bir eşeğin tutuklanmasıyla sonuçlandı.
Rum tarafından arayan dostlarımız bizlere 4 Kıbrıslı'nın tutuklandığını söylediler.
Üç, dedik... Dört olduğunda ısrar ettiler.
Bizim bildiğimiz tutuklananlar iki Rum bir de Türk'tü...
Telefonun ucundaki dost 4 Kıbrıslıyı şöyle açıkladı bize:
-Bir Kıbrıslıtürk, iki Kıbrıslırum ve bir de gerçek Kıbrıslı var.
Yani toplam dört Kıbrıslı şu anda Türk polisi tarafından tutuklanmıştır.
[Yesterday, the "donkey passport operation" concluded with the arrest of three people and a donkey.
Our friends calling us from the Greek Cypriot side said that four Cypriots had been arrested.
Three, we said... It was four, they insisted.
[To] our knowledge the arrested were two Greeks and one Turk...
The friend at the [other] end of the telephone explained the four Cypriots to us this way: there's one Turkish Cypriot, two Greek Cypriots and one true Cypriot.
So, in the end, in total four Cypriots were arrested by the Turkish Cypriot police.]
Ενώπιον ψευδοδικαστηρίου προσάγονται οι δύο Ελληνοκύπριοι και ο Τουρκοκύπριος που συνελήφθησαν παράνομα από το κατοχικό καθεστώς ενώ επιχειρούσαν να περάσουν ένα γάϊδαρο στα κατεχόμενα με διαβατήριο. Πρόκειται για τους Σάββα Χριστοδούλου και Αντη Κυριάκου, από το Δάλι και τον Τουρκοκύπριο Σαλίχ Τασκέντ. Ενώ η διαδικασία δεν έχει ακόμα αρχίσει, το γαϊδούρι που είναι γένους θηλυκού και βρίσκεται στον δέκατο μήνα της εγκυμοσύνης του, μεταφέρθηκε στο κτηνιατρείο των κατεχομένων.
Η εφημερίδα Αφρίκα καλύπτει το επεισόδιο με δόση ειρωνίας, γράφοντας ότι οι συλληφθέντες είναι δύο Ελληνες, ένας Τούρκος και ένας πραγματικός Κύπριος, παραπέμποντας στη φράση του Ραούφ Ντενκτάς για τους γνήσιους Κύπριους. Σύμφωνα με την εφημερίδα, το διαβατήριο της Ενωμένης Ομοσπονδιακής Δημοκρατίας των Γαϊδάρων εκδόθηκε στό όνομα "κύριος Κύπρος", με ειδικότητα εργάτη. Η Ορτάμ γράφει εξάλλου ότι συνελήφθησαν τέσσερις κύπριοι, δύο Ελληνοκύριοι, ένας Τουρκοκύπριος και ένας γάϊδαρος της Κύπρου.
[Both the two Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriot, illegally arrested by the occupying regime while trying to take a donkey with a passport into the occupied areas, were brought before the pseudo-court. [I guess it translates as] Savvas Christodoulou and Antis Kyriakou, from Dali and the Turkish Cypriot Salih Taşkent were charged. While the process has not yet started, the donkey, who is female and is in the tenth month of its pregnancy, was transferred to the vet of the occupied areas.
The newspaper Afrika covers the episode with a dose of irony, writing that those arrested are two Greeks, one Turk and one real Cypriot, referring to Rauf Denktaş's phrase about true Cypriots. According to the newspaper, the passport of the United Federal Republic of Donkeys, was issued in the name of "Mister Cyprus", with specialist skills. Ortam writes, too, that they arrested four Cypriots, two Greek Cypriots, one Turkish Cypriot and one donkey of Cyprus.]