TOKYO-2017 Editorial / Conflict

Framing Beyond The Wall

  • Prize
    Bronze in Editorial/Conflict
  • Photographer
    Tijen Erol

UN Buffer Zone, ‘the no man’s land’, in Cyprus known also as the Green Line was first established in 1960s and became impassable after the physical and communal separation of the country following the 1974, when a coup supported by the military junta in Greece collapsed following Turkish military intervention. It divides Nicosia from east to west and in some places in old Nicosia it is only a few meters wide (only 3.3 meters apart at the narrowest point). The Turkish Cypriot community lives in the northern part while Greek Cypriots live in the southern part of the UN Buffer Zone. Nicosia is the last divided city in Europe. The history of this city is full of tragedy, fear, tear, conflict and war. In 1974 after the war ended, many people from both communities had to leave their homes and their memories behind and move to ‘the other side’, either south or north, of the country. From 1974 until the checkpoints first opened in 2003, people were unable to cross over to ‘the other side’. Their way of life has changed and they had no access to their houses and their neighbors for 29 years. I have decided to shape my project around the Nicosia section of the Buffer Zone within the Venetian Walls of a circular shape, with a circumference of about 5 kilometers. The city in some ways is a symbol of inseparability and unification as those solid Venetian city walls surrounds and holds it together. Since 1974, even today, only Turkish, Greek and UN military sectors are located inside the UN Buffer Zone. In so many years, the houses and shops became derelict within the Buffer Zone. Today, the Republic of Cyprus (Greek side) is a member of the European Union, while Northern Cyprus (Turkish side) is formally recognized only by Turkey. In this project, I examined the life that continues outside the walls while the people keeping on their daily life, ignoring the existence of the wall.

I was born in Cyprus. I studied Engineering Sciences in METU and MBA in EMU. Mostly self-thought at first, I had formal education in photography on Photography and Camera Operation in Anadolu University. Now I continue my education on Photography and Video in ARUCAD. I have been invited to 4th Biennial of Fine Art and Documentary Photography in Berlin in 2016, Uppsala Fotofestival in Sweden in 2017 and group exhibition ‘Walls of Power’ in Les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles in 2019. My work has been included to the Imago Mundi project of Luciano Benetton Collection.