– I was actually working as a journalist at this newspaper for six years, he says and leans back against the backrest. It was an interesting job but I resigned in 1997 after internal strife.
We order two large cup of Turkish coffee and I ask Gencay to tell the story about himself.
– What story do you want to hear? Gencay responds quick with a smile. There are many stories of my life to tell.
We start from the beginning. Gencay Saylan is 74 years old and was born in Turkey. It was also there he began his career of teaching in political sience at the university. When the military coup was carried out in Turkey in 1980 Gencay was active in the Turkish Peace Association and was therefore captured by the military. Following 38 months he spent in a Turkish military prison.
– I had always heard that the cockroach is the being who is best on adapting to the circumstances, but now I know it is not the case, it’s the human, he says seriously but with a twinkle in his eye.
After Gencay had been released, he was employed as a journalist for the left-liberal newspaper Cumhuriyet. After that he went on to work as a minister in the public sector.
The first time he visited north Cyprus was in 1992 when he came here to visit his daughter whose husband had done diplomatic service here. Since then he has continued to travel here. Seven years ago, when Gencay just settled down to retire in Ankara in Turkey, he got the offer to come to north Cyprus to teach at the European University of Lefke as Professor of Political Science.
– Since then I have been living here, he says with a smile. My wife still lives in our house in Ankara but she often comes here to visit. Actually, the plans was for me to move back to Turkey this summer, but now it seems that the university management wants me to stay another year. I’m very happy with the good atmosphere at the university. There are many young people who study here.
Whatever happens, it is Gencay Saylan determined that he will always stay at least a few months a year in north Cyprus.
– Ideally, I am here in spring and autumn. We also have a summer house in Bodrum in Turkey that I go to sometimes.
In his leisure time Gencay gladly visits one of the many casinos available on the island. They can be found at all major hotels, both in Kyrenia and in the capital, Nicosia. He mentions Merit hotels casino as a favourite.
Gencay Saylan is optimistic about the future of north Cyprus. He believes that there are good chances for a peaceful unification with the south side, and if it does happen, the house prices will rise. Therefore, it is also from a business perspective good to invest in a property in north Cyprus today.