I learnt a lot from these short presentations in which participants talked about an important question in a nutshell in 15-20 minutes. It is an interesting coincidence that after listening to a very insightful story from one of our participants about the killing of a Cypriot dissident, Kutlu Adalı, by Turkish counter-guerillas the recent crisis broke out between Turkey and Turkish Cypriots. As you know Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belittled Turkish Cypriots demonstrators by saying “they are fed and maintained by Turkey” and, thus, they should not criticize the Turkish Republic.
When we heard the story of Adalı (1935-1996), we not only got a clear picture of how a dissident went to his death step by step, but also a sense of the quite Kafkaesque atmosphere created by the Turkish deep state on this small island in the Mediterranean. I got the sense that Adalı’s murder was the Cypriot version of the Hrant Dink murder. Adalı was Turkish Cypriot journalist who criticized the status quo in Cyprus created by Turkish deep state elements. Actually, the Turkish Cypriots’ story has always made me sad. Before 1974 they suffered at the hands of fascist Greek Cypriots; after the occupation they continued to suffer from the persecution of the Turkish deep state. Adalı was one of those dissidents who fought against this persecution and he was keenly aware of what was going on in the island.
In one of her statements to the press, İlkay Adalı, the widow of Mr. Adalı, said: “If the Cyprus leg of Ergenekon is investigated my husband’s murderers will be found. I know the killers of my husband are members of Ergenekon.” When Adalı was killed, the Turkish Gladio’s (Ergenekon) infamous hitman Abdullah Çatlı was on the island and it is even alleged that his fingerprints were found on the gun that killed Adalı and that they were just wiped off the weapon. Adalı’s murder is not an isolated incident. The history of the island is also the history of the repression of dissidents through intimidation, threats and murders.
It’s a pity that Erdoğan had this quarrel with the islanders, in which I believe he has done a great injustice to Turkish Cypriots without understanding the root causes of their resentment and anger. The Cyprus question, after all, came to this point as a result of deep state policies, which have also affected Erdoğan and his government. The other thing is that the Turkish government should see their ambivalent approach to the island. Is there really an independent Turkish Cypriot administration or is it just a subordinate administration to the Turkish state? If there is an independent administration there, then northern Cyprus should be governed by Cypriots themselves. If they govern themselves, they would not have to be fed by any government. The Cyprus question was not created by this government. This government, so far, has been the bravest one in expending genuine efforts to find a solution to the question of Cyprus. With these kinds of unfortunate statements they overshadow their own efforts and alienate the great people of this small island. Turkish governments, if they want to take some initiatives on the island, should spend their energy on shedding some light on the dark past of the island. They should try to solve Adalı’s murder, for example. Thus, they would help to create a bright future both in Turkey and on the island. After all, in both Turkey and Cyprus we have been suffering from the same deep state!