Cable cars to St Hilarion Castle – my old joke. Stop it.

By Bertil Wedin………

The idea of a cable car connection between Kyrenia and St Hilarion was mentioned 30 years ago, but it was done so jokingly as the most vulgar development I could imagine.

Since 1985 I have lived in a widely unrecognised country with the awkwardly long name Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which is often shortened to TRNC, or North or Northern Cyprus. When I had moved here with my family from England more than 31 years ago, a retired British diplomat approached me at a party and said that he had heard that I was a journalist. He added: “Please do not write anything nice about this country. We do not want a lot of people to know that this is the last paradise on earth.”

Northern Cyprus was beautiful, decent and pleasant. It was wonderfully eccentric and very different from the increasingly regulated and troubled world of recognised countries.

In the troubled world, any country could be recognised if it were troubled enough. Happy kingdoms and duchies were tolerated only if they were fictional, like Peter Sellers’ Grand Fenwick, or if they kept a very low profile, like the Principality of Liechtenstein. In fact, soon after my meeting with the diplomat, I defied him by writing a booklet with the title North Cyprus – a Liechtenstein in the eastern Mediterranean. Soon I launched a radio programme on which I referred to the TRNC as “the last paradise on earth”. Continue reading

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Hello, I am still alive and what good could Trump do?

By Bertil Wedin……..

This is the time of the year when many retired people have to produce evidence of the fact that they have remained alive, because if they fail to do so, they might not receive further payments from their pension and investment funds.


William Dreghorn

Dr William Dreghorn, the great science and art celebrity who settled in Kyrenia, Cyprus, in 1968 when he was 60 years of age, later adopted the habit of answering telephone calls with the words “Hello, I am not dead yet.”

I presume that any bank or investment fund manager would have accepted these words as evidence enough. That was the time of Western civilisation when officials said “I take your word for it” if you did not have documents to prove what you said about your identity, immigration visa and other matters

It happened twice when I was young and on holiday in foreign lands that I needed extra cash. As credit cards were unknown to me, I simply walked into the nearest bank and requested what I wanted. It was first Credit Lyonnais, Marseille, France, and then Barclays Bank in Kyrenia, Cyprus. I showed my passport to the bank manager and asked him to telephone “my” bank in Stockholm to check that I had money in my account there. In a few minutes I was given the amount of cash I had asked for minus a small fee for the telephone call.

Continue reading

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Brexit? It is important to leave the EU now

By Bertil Wedin……

With only hours left before the UK referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union or remain as one of its 28 members, I have found some most relevant but perhaps little known notes which you might like to consider.

First, there is a statement by Mr Pierre Schori, Bertil Wedin pica veteran diplomatic and political contact between the Kremlin, the Castros of Cuba and Socialist International. For some years he served as the “international secretary” to the then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. He has served as a member of the Swedish Parliament, as Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and as the Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations. Continue reading

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Remembrance Sunday – Remembering heroes from hot and cold wars

Remembering heroes from

hot and cold wars

  Liberty is not for the weak and slack; it comes with a strong will to defend.


Remembrance Sunday this year will be on 8th November. It is when people who fought in wars for their countries are remembered and honoured. This happens every year and most prominently at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London where the British Monarch traditionally lays a wreath. But it happens also at many other places in the world, including Kyrenia on the northern coast of Cyprus where the Anglican St Andrew’s Church provides a special Remembrance Sunday service and where the Kyrenia Branch of the Royal British Legion holds a ceremony a little later the same day by the Old British Cemetery.

Cyprus Lt. Bertil Wedin Continue reading

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Now is the time to visit North Cyprus

Now is the time to visit North Cyprus

The last paradise on earth


When the first half of September has passed, the temperatures here in North Cyprus are pleasant night and day. The sea water remains wonderfully warm and silky. If you are not lucky enough to live here in North Cyprus, this is the time of the year when you and your friends should come and visit this land.

The widely unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus used to be known as “the last paradise on earth” and as a country that was “too good to be true”. It was an eccentric, old fashioned country with good manners, rural charm and much architectural evidence of great civilisations of the past. There was much freedom and little regulation. There was almost no crime.

Now the country is less eccentric. It has been modernised. Many of the new houses are unattractive. The old groceries have been replaced by supermarkets with horrible pop music. But the modernisation makes it easier to find the food you like and the medicine that one might need and when you walk or drive around you notice that the old and the new have mixed rather nicely.

Castles of North Cyprus Continue reading

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When the KGB delivered weapons to AKEL and why we need to wake up

When the KGB delivered weapons to AKEL and why we need to wake up


July and August is the hottest time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, a period when many people are tired and unobservant. The weeks of sleepiness Bertil Wedin pic 2were known by the ancient Romans as dies caniculares, and have long been referred to by English-speakers as the Dog Days, lasting, according to the Book of Common Prayer, from 6 July to 17 August, while The Old Farmer’s Almanac (British) has suggested that the period of mental sluggishness begins on 3 July and ends on 11 August.

Already the ancient Greeks believed that Sirius, the seemingly brightest star in our night sky, and also known as the Dog Star, somehow made dogs mad and people sick during the Dog Days. Twentieth century Greeks, according to Gerald Durrell in his book My Family and Other Animals, believed that you turned mad if the heat made you fall asleep under an olive tree. Continue reading

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Why the TRNC should develop and spread chivalry

Why the TRNC should develop

and spread chivalry

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that men and women of good will do nothing”

In several parts of the world, many women and children are threatened by two kinds of men: the ones who are dangerously aggressive and the ones who are too weak or cowardly to protect them. Chivalry seems to have vanished in such areas.

Edmund Burke wrote famously more than 200 years ago in his Reflections on the Revolution in France: “The age of chivalry is gone. — That of sophisters, economists and calculators, has succeeded and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”

High-mindedness, good manners

The word chivalry can denote obedience to knightly codes of the Middle Ages, and, foremost, the duty to protect women from danger, insults and embarrassment, but it has also a wider meaning. It is felt that it generally stands for self-respect, respect for others, politeness, good manners, integrity, honour, high-mindedness, justice, fairness, truthfulness and courage.

These qualities remain admired but are understood to be rare. Their opposites – bad manners, bad taste, low-mindedness etc – are despised, but perceived to dominate the modern world.

In 1985, when my family and I settled in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, “chivalry” was the word that many foreign residents, visitors and observers used to describe the character of the country that had become an independent republic only two years earlier but had remained widely unrecognised. The TRNC was strikingly different from most of the rest of the world.

Site of the old Kyrenia Police Station

Site of the old Kyrenia Police Station

There was almost no crime in northern Cyprus. We never saw thugs, unruly drunks, impertinent youths or anyone indecently dressed. When I walked my dog at dawn I met builders and other workmen who said “Gunaydin” and bowed, not subserviently, but respectfully in a way that demanded respect. Continue reading

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