Thursday, 18 June 2015

Book review: Rauf Denktaş - A Private Portrait by Yvonne Çerkez


By John Oakes

“Cometh the hour, cometh the man” …Rauf Denktaş through his own eyes.

In their hour of need, Great Britain had Churchill, and the TRNC had Rauf Denktaş (RD), its Founding President – a comparison which diminishes neither man.

So a new biography, which had RD’s full support and co-operation, is an important addition to the annals of Turkish Cyprus.

I had the privilege of meeting RD several times over three decades, and can confirm that this pen-portrait does full justice to his urbanity, good humour, and immense intellectual grasp.

Yvonne Çerkez. Photo: New Cyprus Magazine
He needed all these to deal with the niceties of domestic politics while grasping firmly what had to be achieved on the world stage.  Simply, there was no-one else on the island capable of combining such intellectual qualities.

But what the book also brings out are the personal tragedies that he had to deal with, both as a child and throughout his life, in what was at times clearly a very lonely and threatened existence. Even his detractors acknowledge that he had extraordinary personal strength of character and ability to survive.

Of course there are omissions, and points glossed over: but that’s family life for you, and this is how RD wanted to be remembered. How the book will be rated by historians and analysts will take years to establish. 

But what is certain is that, with such a wealth of personal detail and anecdote, love him or hate him, this is a book you need to buy if you have the slightest interest in one of those rare individuals who clearly shaped history.

For more information about the book and author visit: 


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