Friday, 31 October 2014

T-VINE issue 7, 2014, is out now!

The latest edition of T-VINE magazine is now out! Pick up a FREE copy from any branch of TFC, Yasar Hallim and Akdeniz supermarkets, as well as many other locations in London and beyond. See here for the full list of T-VINE stockists. Alternatively subscribe for a copy to be sent to your home/office directly - send an email to with SUBSCRIPTION in the subject line for details.

This issue's front cover is of singer Çiğdem Aslan taken by photographer Vehbi Koca. Now talked about in the same breath as world music legends Manu Chao and Mulatu Astatke, we chart her spectacular rise in a four-page special, plus a host of other news and regular features. See below for the full Contents.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Queen’s representatives ordered to stay away from Cyprus police memorial

In 2009, Greek Cypriot pressure for the British High Commissioner not to attend a wreath-laying service at the
British War Memorial in Girne failed

By John Oakes

Representatives of the Queen have been ordered to stay away from the unveiling of a memorial to 19 British policemen gunned down in Cyprus during the troubles. The ban has angered serving officers, relatives and veterans.

The British High Commissioner for Cyprus, Mr. Ric Todd bluntly informed TRNC Royal British Legion officials that he will not be attending their November 8th ceremony. That remains the position, despite protests to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office made this week by peers and MPs. 

Even Sir Hugh Orde, former Chief Constable of Northern Ireland and now Patron of the Police Roll of Honour Trust, the charity sponsoring the memorial, has been told he may only attend on condition that he leaves his uniform and medals at home. No other uniforms are being allowed at the unveiling. 

The snub follows pressure from the Greek Cypriot authorities who claim that the slightest sign of Royal involvement in the ceremony would be tantamount to acknowledging the existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which they claim is “illegal”, and therefore cannot be allowed any form of diplomatic recognition.

To date, only Turkey recognises the TRNC. It was Turkey's armed intervention in 1974 which created a safe haven for Turkish Cypriots in northern Cyprus after they had been subjected to ten years of genocide. The TRNC was eventually declared under President Rauf Denktaş in 1983 after nearly a decade of talks with Greek Cypriots had failed to unite the island. The Greek Cypriots continue to claim they are the sole authority on the island, even though this goes directly against the constitution and the international treaties governing the Republic of Cyprus.

British acceptance of the Royal ban has caused outrage in police and military circles, who see it as cowardly and disrespectful to the men who laid down their lives for their country – and not just British lives. The Memorial also lists 25 Turkish Cypriots, 18 Greek Cypriots and 1 Maronite who were also shot by Greek Cypriot EOKA terrorists fighting for Enosis (union with  Greece) between 1955 and 1960. 

When asked to comment on the issue, the Minister for Europe, The Rt Hon David Lidington MP said this week: "Anniversaries are a politically sensitive issue in Cyprus, and we consider British Government participation carefully." 

British Legion and Police Roll of Honour officials involved are being diplomatically tight-lipped about the whole affair, but other old Cyprus hands are seething. 

Lord Maginnis, photo from BBC
Lord Maginnis, a veteran of Ulster's stormy politics and previously an Army Major who served in Northern Ireland for 12 years, told T-VINE this week:

"When, in 2009, I insisted that the British High Commissioner in Cyprus [Peter Millet] attend the unveiling of the British/Cyprus memorial to our 371 servicemen who died between 1956 and 1959, the Greek Cypriots boycotted his office until he was replaced. But that is no excuse for either this or the previous Government's blatant cowardice and capitulation to the successors of EOKA and EOKA-B. It makes me angry and so ashamed."

He continued, "The recently-released diaries of General  Grivas, the genocidal head of EOKA, put next week's Royal ban in perspective: it comes as a direct result of the inter-community bloodshed he created. His evil deeds cast a long shadow."

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Republic Day celebrations muted in Turkey following latest mining disaster


A bittersweet day in Turkey: today is the 91st anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. However celebrations are muted as the country follows the fate of 18 miners trapped 375 metres underground in a mine in Karaman following flooding. A rescue mission has been underway since yesterday. Our thoughts & prayers are with the miners & their families.

Rescuers trying to pump water out of flooded mine where 18 miners are trapped

The country has a poor track record when it comes to worker safety. In the past two months alone, there have been a spate of deaths on construction sites, including 10 men working at the Torun Centre site in Mecidiyekoy, central Istanbul, who plummeted to their deaths when an elevator they were travelling in crashed in September. In May this year, a mining disaster in Soma claimed the lives of 301 miners. 

National mourning declared as death toll continues to rise in Turkish mine disaster 14 May 2014

Monday, 27 October 2014

BFI’s month-long Nuri Bilge Ceylan season starts today

The award-winning Three Monkeys forms part of BFI's Nuri Bilge Ceylan season of films


BFI Southbank, London. Until 27 November 2014

Earlier this year, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan took the top prize at Cannes with his film Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep). Winning this year’s Palme d’Or capped a great run for Ceylan at the world’s leading film festival. Previously, he received the Grand Prix twice: for Uzak/Distant (2002) and again in 2011 for Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. In 2006 his movie Climates won the FIPRESCI prize, and in 2008 he received the Best Director Award with Three Monkeys.

Haluk Bilginer in this year’s Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep
You can see all these and his earlier works at the month-long season the British Film Institute (BFI) is running on Ceylan. Tonight features a double bill, Ceylan’s first two films: Kasaba (The Small Town) and Koza (Cocoon).

This is what Geoff Andrew, Head of Film Programming at the BFI, wrote about the acclaimed director while introducing the Nuri Bilge Ceylan season. 

“Ten years on, Ceylan is widely recognised as one of the most impressive and distinctive figures in international cinema. It’s not just a question of his having now won all the major prizes Cannes has to offer, culminating in this year’s Palme d’Or for Winter Sleep; more importantly, it’s very evident that he’s grown considerably as an artist.

Acclaimed director Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Though his first three films were strong enough for me to write, when introducing that first season, that he was ‘a consummate auteur’, he has consistently pushed himself. For example, his films were always notable for their visual elegance – hardly surprising, since he’s also an excellent photographer – but his experiments with digital technology have resulted in his films having a ‘look’ that’s both recognisably Ceylan’s own and subtle in its beauty. Then there are the challenges he sets himself with regard to narrative style: though they were never constricted by considerations of genre, his storylines have steadily become more ambitious in duration, more adventurously discursive and more nuanced in their intriguing play with point of view.

But it’s not just the formal aspects of Ceylan’s work that make him such a fascinating artist. His films impress for their sharp psychological and ethical insights; their awareness of how individual lives and characters are shaped by social and historical realities; their expert balancing of serious drama and droll humour; and their honesty. He is, undoubtedly, one of the most incisive observers of the male psyche working in film today. It helps that Ceylan prefers to focus on the kinds of people, places and problems he’s familiar with. Indeed, few major filmmakers have worked so closely with family and friends either as cast members or, in the case of his wife Ebru, as frequent co-writer. No wonder his films are notable for marvellous scenes of authentic, unsentimental intimacy.

As ten years ago, some advice. All Ceylan’s films work beautifully in their own right, but there are extra pleasures to be had – especially with the first three or four – from watching them in the order in which they were made, not only because one sees Ceylan refining his art but because they grow out of and reflect back on their predecessors in intriguing and very agreeable ways. Enjoy!”

Season dates: 27 October to 27 November 2014
Address:  BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT
Start time:  varies
Entry: from £8.15


Related news: 

Nuri Bilgi Ceylan takes the top prizeat Cannes, 3 June 2014

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Fringe festival takes over Cyprus buffer zone this weekend

Çanta (Bag), a bi-lingual play in Greek and Turkish, will be performed on Saturday

The UN buffer zone in Lefkoşa is being transformed into an open-air stage for performing arts this weekend. On 18-19 October, the Home for Cooperation, located in the Ledra Palace buffer zone, will hold the island’s first Buffer Fringe Performing Arts event to celebrate art, fresh ideas and free thinking. 15 performances will be held on two separate stages in the Venetian Moat by Ledra Palace.

From 6pm each evening, audiences can enjoy live performances that encompass theatre, art and dance. The performers, drawn from across the island, will present shows in English, Turkish and Greek. Highlights include:

Ø       The Princess and the Pea [English. Atsas Stage, Saturday/Sunday 18.00]. Artist: Mateja Arhar. A Cypriot twist on this well-known fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, word goes out that a prince from a rich kingdom is looking for a beautiful bride. Many seek his hand, but none live up to his dreams. So he and members of the royal family decide to pack their bags and leave the palace on a long journey, travelling all around the world in a limousine. After many months of searching, they reach Cyprus where they finally hope to find the right princess…

Ø       16 Dances [Garilis Stage, Saturday 19.45]. Artist: Arianna Economou. This performance explores the 9 RASA-S, that originate from as far back as 200 B.C. and remain the core of Indian Arts and Aesthetics.  John Cage has reshuffled the order of the RASA-S to Anger, Humour, Sorrow, the Heroic, the Odious, the Wondrous, Fear, the Erotic and Tranquility. 

Çanta / Τσάντα / Bag [Turkish, Greek, Garilis Stage, Saturday 23.00]. Artists: Oya Akin, Christos Krasidis. The play’s description simply says: “if your bag had a voice...”

Ø       Miss Margarida’s Way [English, Sunday, 19.10, Garilis Stage]. Artists: Marina Makri, Elena Kalinikou. An insanely excellent statement play by Roberto Athayde, Described as “inspiring, genius and edgy”, it’s about a teacher, the lovely and twisted Miss Margarida, whose only mission in life is to 'educate' her student.

See below for the full programme. You can buy tickets at the festival entrance or from the Home for Cooperation. The festival is being supported by grants from Iceland and Norway

Festival dates: Saturday 18-19 October 2014
Address:  Venetian Moat by Ledra Palace, Buffer Zone, Lefkoşa, Cyprus
Start time:  18.00
Entry: €7 per day / €10 both days

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ergün Olgun is the new Turkish Cypriot negotiator


The TRNC President’s Office has announced that Ergün Olgun, the former undersecretary to President Denktaş, has replaced Kudret Özersay as Chief Negotiator. President Eroğlu had sacked Özersay following his decision to stand in next year’s TRNC Presidential Elections.

According to a statement from the TRNC President’s Office, Olgun had commenced in his new role on Friday morning. He joined the Presidential team for a meeting with Espen Barth Eide – the new UN Special Advisor to Cyprus.

Who is Ergün Olgun?

Ergün Olgun has extensive experience of the Cyprus Conflict and the negotiations process between the two sides. Previously, he was the Co-ordinator for the President Eroğlu’s Board of Advisors for the Negotiations, and between 1998 and 2005, he served as the undersecretary to President Denktaş and was one of the architects of the UN Annan Plan that was put to a referendum in 2004. After leaving the Presidency, Olgun became a regular media commentator on the talks and since 2008, a core member of the Beşparmaklar Group – a TRNC think tank.

Born in Lefkoşa on 18 December 1943, Olgun attended the prestigious English School in the Cypriot capital. He went on to study Business Administration at the Middle East Technical University – one of Turkey’s best higher education institutions. After graduating, he travelled to the US, where he completed his Masters in Business Administration from George Washington University in 1971. He then worked for a leading British corporation until 1976.

The outbreak of the Cyprus Conflict came during Olgun’s university years. In 1964, he – like many other Turkish Cypriots, including Naci Talat, Özker Özgür, Alpay Durduran, Erdil Nami, and Hüseyin Angolemli – came back to Cyprus and signed up as a volunteer freedom fighter during the bitter battle of Erenköy to help protect the besieged Turkish Cypriot villagers. Even though they were up against a significantly larger and better armed Greek Cypriot force, the Turkish Cypriot side won, although Olgun sustained serious injuries during the fighting.

Since moving back to North Cyprus, he has held various posts as a civil servant, served as a lecturer at Eastern Mediterranean University, run his own business and has been a patron of the arts. He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Turkish Cypriot opera singer live in London tonight


Opera soprano Vasfiye Çakırtaş Çubukçu will be performing a concert in central London later today. The Lefkoşa-born singer graduated from Hacettepe University’s prestigious Ankara State Conservatory’s Opera Arts Department in 2005.

She has worked with some of Turkey’s leading artists, including Mezzo Soprano Şebnem Algın from Ankara State Opera and Ballet company, and Birgül Su Arıç of İzmir State Opera. She has received training with renowned conductor Prof. H. Helge Dorsch and bass singer Atilla Manizade.

Between 2006 and 2011, Çubukçu was the lead solo artist for the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Orchestra and she has represented the TRNC at the annual Türksoy Opera Festival between 2008 and 2012.

Tonight’s concert is under the auspices of the TRNC London Representative Office. She will be supported by pianist Saki Matsumoto and guest singer, tenor Burak Gülşen. Entry is free and some tickets are still left for tonight’s performance: attendees are advised to reserve their place in advance.

Concert date: Thursday 09 October 2014
Address:  St. James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL
Start time:  7.30pm
Entry: Free
Info & ticket reservations: Call 0207 631 1920 or email

Monday, 6 October 2014

FOCUS: Chanel fashion show and fake feminism: do women really need to see that?

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (far right) leads models in fake feminist march in Paris

The famous fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld turned the show for Chanel’s Spring/Summer Womenwear 2015 Collection during this autumn’s Paris Fashion Week into a staged rebellion, using leading supermodels such as Gisele Bündchen, Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner to mimic a feminist protest. The fashion show was indeed a highlight of Paris Fashion Week, garnering huge publicity and attention.

But do women really need to be seen in a staged protest demanding more ‘Women Rights’ or ‘Girl Power’, when the real aim of the fashion house, clearly visible in the background, is to sell even more bags and clothes? Indeed a contradiction.

The fashion industry is there to make money. It does so the world over with substantial success that runs into billions of pounds each year. That is the truth. If someone tries to bend this truth for the sake of short-term gain to create a good image at a fashion show, this diversion will not divert from the reality that fashion labels are just doing what it takes to stand out as they compete with each other.

Karl Lagerfeld
Yes, women do wear nice clothes and go to demonstrations carrying their bags. But the cause for their protest is not how women are dressed or which bag they are carrying. On the contrary, it is to highlight their support and concern for issues they truly care about, completely in contrast with Karl Lagerfeld and his staged protest on a catwalk that is designed only to sell more Chanel bags and clothes.

Slogans such as ‘Ladies First’, ‘History Is Her Story’, ‘Women’s Rights Are More than Alright’, ‘We Can Match the Machos’, ‘Be Different’, ‘Make Fashion Not War’, ‘Feminism Not Masochism’, are meant to capture maximum media attention. Yet how much do the supermodels carrying a banner with the message ‘History is Her Story’ actually know about feminism and the history of feminism? And how many of them know that being size zero – very skinny – is not actually what women really aspire to, but is the warped idea of the fashion industry, for which they are the ambassadors?

Their work in the sector contributes to glamorising this skinny look, even when it is common knowledge it leads to serious health issues such as eating disorders that are highly evident among their profession, as well as in wider society. Yet these very models carry fake protest banners with feminist quotes are part of an industry that dares to suggest fashion shows like theirs can inspire women and increase their self-esteem!

Professionals in the health sector, such as Steve Bloomfield, the spokesman for the Eating Disorders Association, are clear about their concerns: "We do think legislation is needed. This is about protecting the young women and men who work in the fashion industry, as well as those who are at risk of an eating disorder and can be influenced by the pictures that they see”.

Actress Emma Watson launches UN campaign for equality
I don’t think a gender equality campaign labelled ‘HeForShe’, instigated by a fake street protest will – or even should! – mobilise women and girls to demand more equality. Nor will the misguided UN ambassador and actress-turned-fashion-icon Emma Watson achieve much with the launch of the campaign of the same name if she glosses over the complexities that govern gender inequality.

I wonder how far these fashion houses will go in trying to hijack real human rights issues, like freedom or women rights, in order to generate even more profits for their businesses?

Would they perhaps stage a fake war – their way of trying to show how bad war is – while at the same time trying to advertise their brand in order to make more money and sell more of their bags and fashion clothes?

There’s no disputing that most women love owning and carrying a nice handbag. But surely women do not like being used, their struggles hijacked by an industry that portrays and projects their twisted version of the emancipation of women, while their main aim is to make money.

Fashion catwalks can inspire trends but they are rarely the ideal platform to raise serious issues. A protest rally is for participants to show their solidarity with a cause, or their outrage with social or political developments. These should not be trivialised by fashion shows such as Lagerfeld’s exploitative catwalk, which does little to illuminate or educate about the importance of such issues.

Semra Eren-Nijhar is an author, sociologist, documentary film maker and policy consultant on diversity, migration, Turkish people living in Europe and the Executive Director of SUNCUT.

Other articles by Semra Eren-Nijhar:

FOCUS: Floating bodies of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, 8 September 2014

Friday, 3 October 2014

Cimbom fans arrested after extensive damage to Arsenal’s Emirates stadium

Galatasaray fans with lit flares at Emirates Stadium. Photo: John Walton

Arsenal Football Club was counting the cost of hosting one of Turkey’s top sides. On Wednesday night they beat Galatasaray 4.1 during a Champions League match at the Emirates Stadium. The match was marred by disturbances caused by the visiting fans.

Photo: Evening Standard
Flares were thrown onto the pitch by Galatasaray supporters, which forced the referee to stop the match in the 34th minute. As frustrations boiled over at the end of the game following Cimbom’s heavy defeat, away fans then proceeded to rip out some 100 seats and daub graffiti in the stadium. The incidents have prompted investigations from the Metropolitan Police and UEFA. 

According to the Evening Standard, police have charged two men following the disturbances. Ugar Meydan, 40, a hairdresser from Scotland, was charged with possession of a flare when entering a sporting ground. Firat Kaygun, 23, of Norfolk, was charged with throwing a missile on the pitch. The men will appear at Highbury Magistrates’ Court later this month.

The Islington Gazette reports a further five Turkish supporters were arrested for a variety of offences prior to the kick-off. Police have said they will be reviewing CCTV, both from inside the stadium and in the surrounding streets, in order to identify anyone who committed offences.

Cimbom goalie Fernando Muslera removes a flare thrown onto the pitch. Photo: John Walton

UFO-inspired pianist Arman Ratip to perform concert in Ibiza


One of North Cyprus’ most renowned pianists will be performing a concert in Ibiza tomorrow night. Arman Ratip’s piano recital takes place at the Palacia de Congresos de Ibiza in Santa Eularia des Riu. Playing only his own compositions and arrangements, Ratip’s set will comprise of Jazz and New Age pieces.

A musical child prodigy, the Lefkoşa-born, classically-trained pianist is best known for his avant-garde improvisational style. He will be performing tracks from his seminal album Space Music on Saturday night, with the programme as follows: 1. Alpha Centauri, 2. Vega, 3. Seven Stars, 4. Star People, 5. 14 Hercules, Interval, 6. Andromeda, 7. Deep Space. 8. Barnard's Star, 9. Aldebaran.

The town of Santa Eularia des Riu where the concert venue is located is a haunt for the rich and famous. Celebrated actors, musicians, writers, and artists, along with the exceedingly wealthy all own homes there, making it possible to run into the likes of Madonna or the King of Saudi Arabia. 

Before setting of to Ibiza, Ratip told T-VINE: “It will be very interesting to perform for an audience comprising of Ibiza’s social and cultural elite. What they make of my music…” 

He added, “I have been a UFO researcher for 25 years. The inspiration for my Space Music comes from the star systems in our own Milky Way Galaxy. I feel I have contacts with the extraterrestrials.”

The concert on Saturday 4 October starts at 9pm. Entrance is priced €10

Related articles: 

Avant-Garde pianist Arman Ratip to give free concert in London 29 January 2014