Cyprus Turkish Press History

Turkish Cypriot intellectuals under the British rule were impressed with the newspapers which were starting to be published under the innovation and reform of the Ottoman Empire, and began to publish their own newspapers in Cyprus.

The first printing house, the Henry King Co, was established in Larnaca in 1878, publishing its first newspaper, Kipros/Cyprus. The first newspaper published in Ottoman Turkish was the “Ümid”, and belonged to Aleksan Sarrafyan. Ümid was published in Larnaca, but was terminated after a short time. The first newspaper published in 1889 by a Turk in Ottoman Turkish was the Saded.

The newspapers published during that period were influenced by the political events on the island and were published by Turkish Cypriot intellectuals. They were published with the aim of making the voice of the Turkish Cypriots heard on the island, and to prevent the union of the island with Greece. A political club, ‘Osmanlı Kıraathanesi’, published the Zaman newspaper in 1891. 24 newspapers are known to have been published during that period, including Ümid, Saded, Zaman, Yeni Zaman, Kıbrıs, İslam, Vatan Seyf and Kokonoz.

Attitudes of the British authorities and political developments in the Ottoman Empire affected the publication of newspapers from time to time, and caused newspapers to play a central role in the events.

The confrontation between the Ottoman Empire and the UK during World War I in 1914 also affected Cyprus, which was formally annexed by Britain in 1914. The Turkish Cypriot press subsequently lapsed into silence on the island from 1914 until 1919.

The Doğru Yol newspaper began publication in 1919, and, along with the Söz and Vatan newspapers, wrote primarily about the Kurtuluş War in that period. These newspapers followed developments in Turkey closely and were published in the new Turkish alphabet, following the lead of Söz and Masum Millet, the first to use the new lettering.

Most of the newspapers in service during the British rule were subjected to censorship under the UK government, as a result of precautions taken after the 1931 Rebellion. Turkish Cypriots published 21 newspapers between the years of 1934-1958. Some of these were Haber, Ses, Vakit, Halkın Sesi, Yankı, İnkılap, Hürsöz and Ateş.

Turkish Cypriot press changed according to the life and policies of Turkish Cypriots. After World War II, the Turkish Cypriot press was affected by political developments in the British period. Since the 1950s, the Cyprus Turkish press started to oppose the growing requests of elements within the Greek Cypriots population to unite the island with Greece (Enosis) and political issues of this era dominated newspaper reports.

The Cyprus Turkish press was the voice of the Turkish Cypriot people during the tragic events between 1963 and 1974, and played an important role in bringing the Turkish Cypriots’ voice to the world. Today, the Cyprus Turkish press includes the following titles: Kıbrıs, Halkın Sesi, Havadis, Yenidüzen, Afrika, Kıbrıs Postası, Diyalog, Star Kıbrıs, Vatan, Detay, Güneş, Haberal Kıbrıslı, Demokrat Bakış, Ortam, Haberatör, Hakikat, Volkan, Özgür Volkan and Yenibakış.

In addition to these newspapers, there are many weekly and monthly magazines, newspapers, and other news portals in the TRNC.

Bayrak Radio, which has an important place in Cyprus Turkish press history as a part of the Bayrak Radio and Television Corporation, began its broadcasting life on 25 December 1963. It was created to act as a voice for the Turkish Cypriots people, following the exclusion of the Turkish Cypriots from the partnership of the Republic of Cyprus by the Greek Cypriots.

Despite starting its life in a small garage, using car batteries to power its audio equipment and initial broadcasts, Bayrak Radio gained the capacity to reach the whole island by 1964. As part of the reconstruction process after the 1974 Peace Operation, Bayrak Radio began its television broadcasting life in 1976. On 19 July 1976, it became known as Bayrak Radio and Television, and started television broadcasts in colour on 1 July 1979. After the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983, the institution gained an autonomous status and became the Bayrak Radio and Television Corporation.

TAK (Turkish News Agency), which was established by Sait Terzioğlu on 21st December 1973 with a typewriter and the declaration of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people to the world, continues as a news source to this day. It continues to adhere to its founding principles of accuracy and impartiality.

TAK now publishes around 80 updates and articles a day, which are disseminated to the wider Turkish Cypriot press, as well as media organisations in Turkey and international news agencies such as Reuters and IRNA. Articles are also syndicated to Anadolu News Agency, İhlas News Agency and the Azeri Press Agency within the framework of press cooperation protocols.

The Cyprus Turkish press serves as the voice of the Turkish Cypriots to the world, reflecting the full spectrum of political views, national perspectives and stance of the Turkish Cypriots people in every situation.