Denktaş’s daughter to sue TV programme
Taken from this week's issue
Ender Denktaş Vangöl claims that the TRT 1 drama series Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs (Once Upon a Time in Cyprus), set in the 1960s and first broadcast on April 1, contains “unfounded” and “degrading” scenes portraying Mr Denktaş and also the late Turkish Cypriot leader Dr Fazıl Küçük.
Programme makers said the series was launched to illustrate the suffering of Turkish Cypriots from December 1963 onwards, when Greek Cypriots attacked Turkish Cypriots, forcing them into enclaves, as part of their failed bid to achieve Enosis, or union with Greece.
One fictitious scene in a recent episode featured the actor playing Rauf Denktaş, Devrim Saltoğlu, being taken hostage by Greek Cypriot Eoka terrorist Nikos Sampson, played by Tayanç Ayaydın, who holds a gun to his head.
Outraged Mrs Vangöl, who has also launched a petition at Change.org calling on the series to be scrapped, says it has departed from the “true historical events” in Cyprus and is “not based on the facts”.
A statement by Mrs Vangöl on social media on Tuesday said that the petition has been started for “our honourable struggle” and that a “legal case” is to be launched to remove Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs from TV screens.
In separate comments to a Turkish newspaper, Mrs Vangöl said she initially liked the series. However “historical mistakes” became apparent, she said, such as the presence of Eoka leader General George Grivas, who was not actually in Cyprus at the time the series is set in.
Mrs Vangöl continued: “The relationship depicted between my father and that of Dr Fazıl Küçük has many serious historical mistakes. . . they showed my father as being like a reporter with a camera. But my father didn’t start using a camera until after 1974.
“Even the tents used in the series are that of the Red Crescent. Back then, there were no tents of the Red Crescent!”
She also slammed the series for portraying Turkish Cypriots as a “community just waiting to be saved” by Turkey.
“It is not showing the legendary struggle put up by our people,” she said.
“If this was going to be a fictional series, than they should not have used the names of our leaders.” Similar objections to the programme have also been raised by the Turkish Cypriot Freedom Fighters’ Association and the Dr Fazıl Küçük Foundation.
However Emete Gözügüzelli, a Turkish Cypriot academic of the Ankara Social Sciences University, tweeted in support of the show.
“A petition has apparently been launched to stop the Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs series from being shown,” she wrote.
“They also asked me about this, and talked about history. My response is what history has been taught to our children at our schools? Where were they when our history books were being changed? In short, this is a TV series, it is not a documentary. We love this series.”
She signed off the tweet with three Turkish flag emojis.
Meanwhile the main actors of the series – Mr Saltoğlu, Mr Ayaydın, Ahmet Kural and Serkan Çayoğlu –visited the graves of Mr Denktaş and Dr Küçük last Friday in an apparent response to the criticism.
“The actors who came to the screen in the series, which tells the story of the existence of the Turkish Cypriot people based on historical facts, left flowers at the graves of the two important names who devoted their lives to the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots,” a statement from the programme makers said.
“The actors of the series, who experienced emotional moments, said they are honoured in taking part in Bir Zamanlar Kıbrıs, which is about the periods of struggle of the founders of the TRNC, Rauf Denktaş and Fazıl Küçük.”