Cyprus Donkey Watch

A leisurely writing by Mehmet Balcılar

About Cyprus Donkey Watch


Cyprus Donkey Watch is a leisurely writing by Mehmet Balcilar. Over the years I have discovered that most economics students are handicapped for making connection between the economic principles and the real world. Simple real world economic events are mostly misunderstood or misinterpreted. I started a series of writings for my students and colleagues when I was working in Almaty in order give examples of real world economics. The brief leisurely writings attracted my friends as well. These writings were discontinued for some time due to work load and many other things I yet to finish.

After moving to North Cyprus, taking a new position in the Department of Economics at Eastern Mediterranean University, I decided to continue the occasional writing. 


Latest Issues

February 2008


Why did I name it Cyprus Donkey Watch?

There are there reasons. In my first visit to North Cyprus, I took a taxi from Ercan Airport to Kyrenia. On the way, I asked the driver what North Cyprus is famous with, the Cyprus Donkey, he replied.

Second, most macroeconomic issues are seen from the perspective of the Nasraddin Hodja: It is not the economists seeing the world wrong, it is the donkey facing the world backwards. I say to my students “a student trying to understand the economy without mastering the necessary theory is sitting on the donkey backwards and she will never make a correct predictions as all she sees is wrong.” This is the reason the photo above taken backwards!

Third, the Cyprus Donkey needs more care and attention from all of us. I want to contribute to the protection of real inhabitants of this island.

About Donkeys

So, you want to know something that truly represents Cyprus: It is the Cyprus Donkey.

Donkeys are small horses but they’re not ponies. Brown in color, they’re a bit bigger with very long ears and they look as if they are just a bit damn bored all the time. They walk extremely slowly and, when they decide they don’t want to go any further, they can stay in the same place for hours. They are adorable!

Donkeys are protected in Cyprus - in both sides of the border that divides the island into North and South Cyprus. Donkeys were even the impetus for a bi-communal initiative created by people from both communities in Cyprus (Greek and Turkish) under the name “Friends of the Cyprus Donkey” to protect them from extinction. The animal welfare charity “Friends of the Cyprus Donkey”, registered in the UK, was founded in 1994 to care for sick and unwanted donkeys of all ages and to provide medical and welfare services for working animals throughout Cyprus.

Donkeys also caused a very interesting political debate in Cyprus. After mass demonstrations against him, Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, claimed that there was no such thing as Cypriots in Cyprus, there are only people with two nationalities: Greeks and Turks. The Cyprus donkey is the only true Cypriot, he claimed.

Here is my perceptive on Greek Cypriots’ rejection of the UN’s plan to reunite the island:

One day Nasreddin Hodja got on his donkey the wrong way, facing backwards:

- Hodja, the people said, you’re sitting on your donkey backwards!

- No, he replied. I’m not sitting on the donkey backwards. It’s the donkey who is facing the wrong way!

Unless Greeks sit on the donkey the right way, I ask the EU to allow donkeys cross the Schengen border and “visit” the ‘other side’.

Donkey Diplomacy


Department of Economics

Eastern Mediterranean University


Turkish Republic of North Cyprus

Phone: +90 392 630 1548  (Internal: 1548)

Fax: +90 392 365 1017


Web site: