Turkish-Cypriot Activist Mine Balman Awarded in Yerevan, Armenia.

Mine Balman
Mine Balman

Mine Balman is a well known human rights activist both in Turkish and Armenian communities in Cyprus. She is also known for her latest ‘Birlikte/Together’ a documentary about Armenians in Cyprus before the Turkish troops’ invasion of the island in 1974.

Mine Balman Birlikte/Together

As described by Asi Production(producers of the documentary)

“The rise of nationalism in the 1950s led to the accumulation of very bad memories in Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. Generally, this period is interpreted from the point of view of the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots; would you like to hear the Armenian Cypriots’ point of view, who were caught in-between? From the beginning of the 20th century, Armenians were forced to spread to the four corners of the world from Asia Minor, Cilicia and Anatolia and some of them chose Cyprus as their destination. The Armenians, who brought various crafts to the island, were able to use Turkish efficiently. They settled in the neighborhoods where Turkish Cypriots lived, where they both worked together and also formed nice neighborly relations. Because of the fast rise of nationalism between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, shops were being burnt down and Nicosia was divided by barbed wires. There were campaigns amongst the Turkish Cypriots, such as “Compatriot, speak Turkish!” and “Trade from a Turk to a Turk”, whose peak point was the purge of the neighborhoods from Greek Cypriots and Armenian Cypriots.
In this oral history study, the experiences of Armenian Cypriots are being narrated from their own mouths and in their own Turkish dialects, whose family came to Cyprus during the compulsory migration, having lost everything and having created a new livelihood from scratch, and who in 1963-1964 were once more forced to leave their houses.”

The “International Young Women’s Peace Award” ceremony

Mine Balman second from left
Mine Balman second from left

Was organized by “Democracy Today” NGO and took place in Yerevan, Armenia.
Human rights activist Khin Omar (Burma) photo-journalist Adriane Ohanesyan (US) and human rights activist Mine Balman (Cyprus) were awarded for their exceptional work in the field of peace and human rights.

The winners were nominated by famous international organizations. During the event, the special diplomas have also been awarded. Catherine Herzog (Belgium) received a special diploma “For outstanding work in the field of peace and human rights education”. Journalist Taus Serganiova (Chechnya) also received a diploma “for human rights and peace journalism”. And the final special diploma was awarded to the EVN Report (Armenia), who as “women journalists have contributed to democracy and human rights”.

Hrant Bagratyan (RA Prime Minister 1993-1996, deputy of RA National Assembly in 2012-2017), Lena Nazaryan (Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia), Anahit Avanesyan (Deputy Minister of Healthcare), Hovhannes Hovhannisyan (Deputy Minister of Education and Science), American-Armenian lecturer Judith Saryan, General Manager of IBIS Yerevan Canter Center Christian Barbier. The “Tsirani” Ensemble and Eka Horstka presented beautiful performance during the award ceremony.

Garo Paylan Following In the Footsteps of Hrant Dink

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