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03 February, 2023
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Grieving widow in iconic Cyprus photo dies at 87

Turkish Cypriot woman whose agonising face was captured in a famous photo has died in the north


Nevcihan Olusum, the Turkish Cypriot woman whose agonising face was captured in a prize winning photograph in 1964, died in the north on Thursday.

Olusum passed away in the northern part of Cyprus at the age of 87. Her husband was killed half a century earlier, in March 1964 during intercommunal fighting on the island between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

British photo journalist Don McCullin, who became well known for his pictures during war assignments, was present as Olusum learned the fate of her husband. He quickly captured her distraught face in a photo, with her son reaching out to her in what became a symbol of pain and suffering on the divided island of Cyprus.

British photo journalist Don McCullin was present as Olusum learned the fate of her husband

The photograph appeared in many publications over the years and social media both north and south. It was taken in Ghaziveran, a Turkish Cypriot village outside Morphou/Guzelyurt.

McCullin first saw live action in Cyprus, at the Battle of Limassol, when he took his first photo of an armed man in a raincoat running from a neighbourhood cinema theatre.

People in both communities suffered from the conflict, which peaked just a few years after the declaration of independence in 1960. The United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 to keep the peace.

The ethnic division was reinforced when the Turkish army landed on Cyprus in July 1974, in response to a short-lived military coup engineered by Athens a few days earlier.

Cyprus  |  Don McCullin  |  Nevcihan Olusum  |  conflict  |  Greek  |  Turkish  |  Cypriot

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