The riveting true story of the 13 year battle for the village of Kokkina in Northern Cyprus.
The first book in English to detail this story.
Written by someone who not only lived through but also participated in these events.
The Battle of Kokkina is the English Translation of Erenköy ve Hayat, which is the extraordinary autobiography of Fadil Elmasoglu. It is a compulsive read, describing how Mr Elmasoglu lead a motley crew of men to form a resistance group that helped defend their coastal village in Northern Cyprus. The vivid descriptions of day to day life of a besieged community and their courage and determination to survive the state’s attempts to annihilate them are riveting.
Amongst all the mayhem of various battles, the village folk, some of whom lived in caves for shelter, still pursued a normal life. The isolation of Kokkina continued for thirteen years but not once did the inhabitants consider giving up. Normal cultural practices still continued; socialising, matchmaking, weddings, babies being born, educating their young. All this while, men concentrated on fighting the armed attacks on their village from the hills behind them and the sea to their front. Not to mention the gathering and ceremonial burying of their dead during the fighting.
There are details of numerous gun-smuggling trips to Turkey; how these were organised and put into action, the incredible risks taken by the men who participated, and the perils of the sea when sailing in a small arms-laden boat. There is humour too. Like the time when Mr Elmasoglu, after years of walking around almost barefoot, was given a pair of boots by a journalist - one of many who periodically descended into Kokkina. His description of how he felt he ‘could fly’, although touching, does not contain any self-pity; only delight and amazement.