Turkish Cypriot political poster

Turkish Cypriot political poster, 1975, RCMS 403
Cyprus Conference, London, 1964, Rauf Denktash (centre), then President of the Turkish Communal Chamber, COI_A_176

The Royal Commonwealth Society Library department has just been donated a fascinating political poster, a rare survival from a turbulent time in the history of modern Cyprus.  Turkey had invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, fearing that the rights of the island’s Turkish minority were threatened by the recent EOKA coup advocating union with Greece.  Once the fighting ceased, the island remained divided, and the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus was founded on 13 February 1975 in the northeastern area under Turkish control. The poster’s donor, a geologist who was surveying a copper mine at Limni on the northwestern coast, took it off the wall of a café when visiting an evacuated village.  Cups still sat upon the table and the poster bears the marks of coffee stains.

The poster’s slogan, translated as, ‘Everyone vote for Denktash’ mobilizes support for the Turkish Cypriot politician Rauf Rasit Denktash (1924–2012), who governed the republic as president from 1976 to 2005.  The poster likely relates to the 1975 election, in which Denktash was voted first speaker of the republic’s Assembly, representing the National Union Party which he had founded.  The poster bears the symbol of a wreath, star, crescent and the head of a wolf (the national animal of Turkey), which presumably was a party logo.  We would be very grateful for any further information about the poster’s political context.

The RCS possesses an outstanding collection of books, photographs and maps relating to the history of Cyprus, amassed by Claude Delaval Cobham (1842-1915), Commissioner of the District of Larnaca from 1879-1907. 

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