“When I began writing the stories of missing Turkish and Greek Cypriots, each side was victimizing themselves, and crying only over their own missing people; so I tried to bring to the surface and break ‘zones of silence’ in order to tell the story of both sides.”
Sevgül Uludağ is an investigative reporter for Yeniduzen, a Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper in the northern part of the divided island of Cyprus. She also writes for the Greek Cypriot newspaper, Politis, which is published in the southern part of the island. She also writes her blog in English. Uludağ, who is of Turkish Cypriot heritage, tries to bring the two violently separated parts of Cyprus together and erase divides between the populations. She moves toward this goal by illuminating stories of violence as well as humanity in Cyprus through her reporting.
In 2002, Uludağ began to tackle the issue of missing people and mass graves in Cyprus. She devoted herself to uncovering the fates of thousands of people who disappeared during Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot clashes in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of mass executions, abductions, and targeted assassinations. Uludağ’s reporting has sparked a public debate about missing persons, and her readers from both parts of the island have helped her identify burial sites as she shared this information with the official Cyprus Missing Persons Committee so that they could dig and find the remains of missing persons. Through her work, Uludağ has managed to break taboos revolving around the idea that both communities were solely victims of conflict. Here, she has been able to show to both communities that amongst them were many victims but also some perpetrators.
Sevgül Uludağ, as a peace activist, has brought together many groups of women, as well as relatives of missing persons, from both communities for the first time, helping them to set up a joint association called ‘TOGETHER WE CAN’. Due to her work as a peacebuilder and an investigative journalist, Uludağ has received many local and international awards, and was the first woman from Cyprus to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year.