Ayten Berkal’s Eyewitness Account of the Greek Massacre in Cyprus

In an extraordinary nine-hour verbal history documentary, Dr. Ayten Berkalp, esteemed as the living hero of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, takes center stage to unravel the profound tapestry of her life and her nation’s tumultuous struggle. Meticulously directed by Mehmet Yayınoğlu, the documentary delves into the harrowing narrative of the Turkish Resistance Organization (Cyprus) from the 1950s to 1974, vividly intertwined with Dr. Berkalp’s personal witness to historical events.

Focusing on the liberation period initiated by the first and second ‘Peace Operations,’ the documentary unveils the gripping success saga of Dr. Ayten Berkalp, a courageous Turkish female doctor and Cypriot, as she narrates her role in defending the Turkish community against the massacres inflicted by EOKA and the Greek Administration. Serving as an anesthesiologist, Dr. Berkalp passionately recounts numerous events, providing a detailed account of the relentless struggle for survival.

One poignant memory recounted by Dr. Berkalp involves an encounter with Makaryos, the President of Cyprus during the 1963 ‘Bloody Christmas’ massacres. In the midst of chaos, Makaryos proposed to evacuate her from the hospital, a proposal met with skepticism as she boldly confronted him about potential harm. This courageous exchange unfolded in the presence of the President of Cyprus, as she addressed him directly, disregarding formalities. She shared, “Then he turned to me and said in English, ‘I have come to take you out of the hospital… I am taking you to my own palace. So you are probably thinking of taking us further into Nicosia and killing us in a more isolated place. I said no. I’m not dating. Kill us in the hospital, like the other two young people you killed, and be a disgrace to the world.'”

The narrative further unfolds as Dr. Berkalp recalls the aftermath of the ‘Bloody Christmas’ massacre, specifically the murder of Major Nihat İlhan’s wife and sons. In response, she went to Fazıl Küçük’s office, the Vice Presidency office, to document the events. She was instructed to prepare a report about the experiences and the casualties. To shed light on the tragic events, Dr. Berkalp and foreign media embarked on a journey, marking the first instance of foreign media entering the Turkish side with an excuse. Their destination was Kumsal Location, where they stopped in front of a house.

Recalling the heart-wrenching scene, Dr. Berkalp said, “We got off and immediately entered the building. I didn’t understand why we were entering… We passed the hall quickly… I found myself in a bathroom room. A covered bathtub. A few more people from foreign media entered with me. Then one of the Turkish soldiers there lifted the cover, and a terrible sight appeared before our eyes! A woman with black hair is lying down. Two children on one side, one child on the other. They were pierced with holes. ‘Oh, what a terrible sight it was… I felt like fainting, I shook, I shook, and then I started crying loudly…'”

Director Mehmet Yayınoğlu emphasizes that the verbal history documentary, titled ‘Cyprus Issue with Ayten’s Testimony,’ serves as a definitive historical record, countering narratives propagated by Greek, British, and similar sources. Describing Dr. Berkalp as a devoted patriot, a loyal physician, and an impassioned athlete, Yayınoğlu commends her for sacrificing a comfortable life in Turkey to change the fate of thousands in Cyprus. He underscores the importance of passing down this compelling account to future generations, shedding light on the darkest chapter in the nation’s history under the bloody pressures of Greek forces, buoyed by the British colonial administration.

cyprusDr. Ayten BerkalpEOKA
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