The First Female PM in Northern Cyprus

Saturday, 22 June 2013 10:59

Siber Siber has become the first female prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. She became the prime minister of an interim government in Northern Cyprus following the fall of the government last week. An early election is set to be held on July 28. Siber said that until that date her wish was to successfully accomplish this assignment.

“The role of women in our country stands at low levels. We cannot see a lot of women in the top roles. None of the political party leaders are women in our country. It is really exciting for a woman to become the prime minister in male dominated politics. This is exciting on behalf of women and society,” Siber told Anatolia news agency.

Republican Turkish Party-United Front (CTP-BG) lawmaker Sibel Siber's ancestors are the Circassian exiles settled in Cyprus after the Circassian Exile in 1864. She shared the following text for the "Reflections on the Caucasus: 1864-2010" project prepared by the CircassianWorld.

"My mother was very beautiful. I remember her vaguely. She was tall and had big, green eyes. She had long dark hair coming down to her waist. During the Great Circassian Migration, my mother and father, together with their two children, set sail for the unknown.

They were forced to abandon their homeland, leaving behind their roots, memories and everything they possessed. In spite of all the suffering they had gone through, they never lost their hope. Because, they knew that losing hope was synonymous with death. As they sailed for the unknown, trying to hold on to life in boundless seas, diseases arouse in their vessel. Hunger, misery, diseases and death were following them."

This is how my great grandmother used to recount her memories of the Circassian migration. She was a little child during the migration but had suffered the greatest of pains that left deep scars in her life.

Her beautiful, long dark-haired mother also got sick. My grandmother's eyes used to become foggy while telling the story... "I was only four years old but I remember them throwing her into the sea... Her long dark hair entangled with the waves... Those on the ship watched her lifeless body until it disappeared... I remember weeping with my brother on our father’s lap... I was furious and outraged, crying 'Why did you throw my mother into the sea?'"

She then remembered coming on land on her father's shoulders. They had continued their journey of hope without her mother. In spite of all the hardships, the father and the two children had managed to hold on to life on a small island (Cyprus) very different from their homeland.

This is the story she used to tell us. And I used to visualize that ship and my beautiful, long-haired Circassian great-grandmother in my head. Although living through is always much more painful than the stories told, I could feel the magnitude of the pain suffered by the Circassian people.

Dr. Sibel SİBER, Member of Parliament, Republican Turkish Party (CTP, Left Wing), North Cyprus