Friday, April 24, 2009

ANZAC DAY, buffer zone, Nicosia.

We attended the ANZAC day service held in the buffer zone between Cyprus and the Turkish occupied North.  This involved being transported by UN vehicles, from the UN headquarters,  into this no-go zone.  On three sides of the field was Turkish occupied land.  I could make out the silhouettes of Turkish soldiers patrolling the tops of vacant buildings and across the surrounding fields.  Their voices, calling out their positions, could be just made out on the dawn breeze.  At the start of the ceremony we were advised where to go if an "incident" should take place - luckily this buffer zone has been fairly peaceful in the last few years due to greater communication and Turkey's aim to become part of the EU.  

Somewhat paradoxically, a particularly lovely message was read out by the military priest during the ceremony.  It was a message from Turkey to the mothers of Allied dead buried on Turkish land.  The main gist was: "your sons are buried on friendly shores" a message i found gracious and generous considering we were a foreign force intent on invading and taking the lives of their sons. 

People attending the ceremony included UN soldiers from the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Australia, Great Britain and the Balkans, officials representing Australia and New Zealand and a pattering of civilians associated with UN forces on the island. Shannon and I were the only Kiwis present, but represent we did.   

The one New Zealander buried here. 

We were surrounded on three sides by Turkish occupied territory, including watch towers and guards. 

The Turkish soldiers standing on the left hand side of the roof kept careful watch. 


  1. my flatmates went to the dawn service here. as it started to rain john banks' bodyguard brought out an umbrella and held it for him. everyone sniggered, apparently he shot them all daggers. well, if 90 year old veterans can suck up a bit of rain its a bit pathetic!

  2. jess.
    all of these photos and all of your words are stunning.
    very talented lady
    : x)