The world we know is shaped by a variety of borders and boundaries, both visible and invisible. The story of territorial division on the island of Cyprus is not a new one. However, against all odds three old men have managed to form an unbreakable bond of friendship, despite the physical barrier that separates them.
History between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots runs deep, as the two ethnic groups once lived alongside each other in peace. However, since the events of 1974, the two groups have lived disconnected from one another - Northern Cyprus where Turkish Cypriots live and the Southern Cyprus, home to the Greek Cypriot population.
The 180km of UN demilitarized zone, the so-called Buffer Zone, which runs the length of the Green Line, has become a permanent marker of the border of Cyprus, separating the two sides. In from Greek Cypriot soldiers who fought on the front line in 1974.
One of these soldiers was Yiannis Maratheftis, who in book describes a night raid launched by the Greek Cypriot National Guard near Lefka, a village on the Northern side of Cyprus whose inhabitants were mostly Turkish Cypriots.
Not long after Panico’s book was published in Turkish, it fell into Fethi Akinci’s hands. Fethi was a Turkish Cypriot soldier defending Lefka at the time of the war. Fethi came across Yianni’s account, he recalled his own memories of the night, and realized that ‘the man who attacked [him], and whom [he] shot’ was in fact Yiannis.
Presumed dead to Fethi for so many years, Yianni was in fact alive. Overwhelmed by this realization Fethi immediately telephoned the author of the book, who has purposefully included his contact details in his publication, and requested if could meet Yiannis.
Panico, who acted as the go-between, brought these two former enemies together. The three men remain good friends until today, and they regularly cross the dividing border of their homeland to meet each other.
My Friend The Enemy was photographed for and featured in Margent Magazine, 2014