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Nedjati Niyazi Reynar is still searching for Niyazi Djemal's father, who hails from the village of Aredi and has been “missing” since 1963. Some of my Greek Cypriot readers helped me find the burial sites of all the “missing” Turkish Cypriots in the village of Aredi. The only “missing person” we could not find is Niyazi Djemal.
We met Nedjati's son to tell me about his life.
We had found a well in Ceri, the burial place of Naim Huseyin, Salih Mehmet and Kemal Huseyin, which had been taken from the Greek Cypriot Police on Monday night from their house in Arediou one night in December 1963. A Greek Cypriot reader had shown me this the well in Cherry and we had pointed it out together to the officials of the Cyprus Commission of Inquiry on Missing Persons and due to the construction of a road that would pass over the well it had to be urgently dug and they did. When the CMP dug the well that my reader had shown, they found the bones of the three “missing” from Arediou. They identified them with the DNA method and we attended their funerals. Another Greek Cypriot reader had shown us the place where Shevket Djemal was buried and after we showed this area to the CMP, when they dug, they found Shevket's bones from Arediou, which were also identified by DNA and returned to his family. But the one who took him from his house in Arediou has not been found. He was the first that the Greek Cypriot Police on Monday took from his house and became “missing”. They went to his house in the middle of the night, knocked on the door and when he hesitated to open it, they broke his bedroom window, marked him with a gun and said: “Either you go out or we will kill you in front of your wife…”. Unable to react, he got dressed and went out… This was the last time he went out – no one saw him again or heard his voice again… The only sounds they heard were the shots immediately after they took him from his house, in exit of the village. There were many rumors that he had been killed near the Turkish Cypriot cemetery. But where was he buried? At the graveyard; Or was his body moved elsewhere? Havva's wife died before we could find the answer to this vital family question. Not only his wife, but also his daughter Aydin died. Although almost 60 years have passed, they are still waiting to find their “missing” father and some children of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots “missing” in the meantime are dying with this agony.
Niyazi Djemal had a truck and worked in the mines. He worked in Mitsero, Vasiliko and Xeros – transporting the ore to ports for export. He was born and raised in the village of Arediou and married Havva Ibrahim, also from Arediou. Havva died three years ago. They had four children: Nedjati, Djaner, Aydin and Yilmaz. Aydin fell ill and died. So only three children are still alive and still waiting. In 1963 Nedjati was only 13 years old, but he remembers everything very well. At that time he went to high school in Nicosia and traveled daily by bus.
The Nedjati talks about his father:
“My father was a very good man, he was very generous. I remember from my childhood that we never had financial difficulties. Never. It was paid every fifteen days by the mines. At that time he was receiving 80 Cypriot pounds, 100 pounds, 120 pounds… These were large sums. We had everything at home. At that time there was condensed milk and he brought it home in a box. When it was watermelon time, there were watermelons under all the beds in the house. He was buying sugar in a huge sack. He was such a man. “My mother was a housewife.”
Since he had a truck, maybe the “underground organization” of the Turkish Cypriots at that time tried to use it to carry weapons or something like that? Nedjati says: “Maybe, I would not know το Maybe he was the head of the organization in the village, I think that would be possible. “Whenever something happened, all the village elders and the soldiers would gather at our house.”
Nedjati Reynar with his mother.
He was the first to be taken by the Greek Cypriot Police on Monday from his house in the village.
“I remember that day quite well. We went to school, it was the day there were shootings at the Ataturk monument in Nicosia. When he heard this, he came to Nicosia bringing my bicycle from the village. He told me to stay at my aunt's house for now. My aunt Shefika lived in Kaimakli. My father told me: 'Stay with them until these days are over and I will come to pick you up'.
“People also told him not to return to the village but to stay in Nicosia, but he said 'no' and returned to the village in his truck.” This happened around December 23, 1963. This was the last time Nedjati saw his father. He was taken from his home on December 25, 1963. Nedjati continues the sad story of his father:
“That night – I think it was December 25 – they went to bed around 10-11 p.m. And the police took him. Monday Police. My mother knew who took him, knew his name, filed a complaint with UNFICYP and gave them his name. They came and knocked on the door and my father did not want to go out, so they went to the bedroom window, broke it and turned the gun in the room and told him to go out otherwise they would kill him in front of his wife, they said. So my mother told us it had happened. So he got up, got dressed and went out and they took him. My mother had an appendectomy very recently and the site of the operation on her body began to bleed. They took her to the doctor the next day in Nicosia, treated her and took her back to the village. And a few days later they took the other Turkish Cypriots from the village and then we left it. I think it was January when we left, the United Nations came and took us. They were probably British soldiers, as the UN was there at the time. Anyway, under their control and through them we were transferred to Chomlekchi Farm and then to Mora. There was nothing in Chomlekchi Farm, only empty houses, first they settled us there and then they took us to Mora… In 1958, when there were riots in Cyprus, we went to Mora again and then we returned to Arediou. And this time we go to Mora again… Gradually they built refugee houses in Mora and we stayed there. I lived in Nicosia after going to school, then I had to do my military service in 1966 and then I went to Turkey to study at university. My mother, who was left alone with four children after my father became “missing”, began working in the fields to survive. At that time he went to collect cotton and sesame. She worked as a worker. He would go to work to pick melons and watermelons or beans in Mora. Then they started giving her a small salary because her husband was “missing”. Our animals were stolen by some Greek Cypriots and so we lost them.
After my father became “missing”, I started working while I was going to school. I started distributing newspapers on my bike. I would get up at about 5-6 in the morning, go and get the newspapers and distribute them to our customers. That's how I earned my pocket money. During my military service for three years we lived in the camp and ate there. They also gave us a small salary. During my university studies I worked. During the holidays I worked on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides as a builder. While studying in Turkey I brought jeans, cigarettes, crystals, films to sell and survive. This way I could buy my plane ticket to come to Cyprus. I studied Business Administration in Adana. When I returned to Cyprus, I was unemployed for about a year. The war broke out and we became soldiers again. I got married on July 14, 1974 and a day later the coup took place and I had to go to my military post at night. After the war, there was a position at the Ministry of Finance and I applied and started working at the customs in Famagusta. Since then I live in Famagusta.
My mother waited for my father to return and kept all his clothes. My father had a truck and after 1963 it was taken over by the underground organization. They used it to transport things from the port. After a few years they gave it back and the truck remained in Mora. I would say to my mother, 'Let's sell the truck,' and she would say, 'No, your father will come back. Will return'”.
Nedjati Niyazi Reynar with Mehmet Ali Gocher from Arediou.
Let's try to help find the possible burial place of Niyazi Djemal. 58 years have passed. If anyone knows anything, please call me by name or anonymously on my mobile number at Cyta 99 966518 or send me a message to call you. Please help heal these wounds.
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