|İsmet Vehit Güney|
|Born||15 July 1923
|Died||23 June 2009 (aged 85)
North Nicosia, Northern Cyprus
|Known for||Arts, Cartoons, Design|
|Notable work||Kyrenia Harbour|
İsmet Vehit Güney (15 July 1923 - 23 June 2009), was a Turkish Cypriot artist, cartoonist, teacher and painter. He is best known as the designer of the modern flag of the Republic of Cyprus, the country's coat of arms and the original Cyprus lira in 1960. Güney's design was unique, as the Republic of Cyprus is the first country in the world to display a map on its flag. Kosovo, whose status is disputed and recognized by 109 countries [a], adopted a flag in 2008 which also displays a map.
Güney was born in 1923 in Limassol, Cyprus. He began painting while he was a student in high school. After graduating from the Teachers Training College, he started working as an arts teacher in 1948.
In 1947, Güney became the first Turkish Cypriot painter to open a solo art exhibition. Güney had many solo exhibitions as well as participating in group exhibitions both in Cyprus and abroad. In 1967, a scholarship enabled him to study at Belfast Queen's University's Stranmills College. In 1986 he had a grand retrospective exhibition in Nicosia. Towards the end of his life he worked on graphics and color-separation in North Cyprus.
Creation of the Cyprus flag
Before the flag of Cyprus was introduced, the flags of Turkey and Greece were used. The current flag was created as the result of a design competition in 1960. Under the constitution, the flag should not include either red or blue colors (the colours of the flag of Turkey and the flag of Greece), nor portray a cross or a crescent. All participants deliberately avoided use of these four elements in an attempt to make the flag "neutral". Thus the Greek blue and Turkish red were avoided by Güney and the other design competitors.
The winning design was based on the proposal by İsmet Güney. The design was chosen by Makarios III, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, with the consent of Fazil Küçük, the then Vice-President, in 1960.
The white flag was chosen for the young Cyprus as a sign of peace among the two communities living there (Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots). The map of the island is golden yellow, for the sake of easier reproduction of what was originally intended to be a colour of copper, a metal that the island got its name from. Most probably, since there is no brownish-reddish-copper colour in heraldry, the map was changed to golden. The two green olive branches symbolize peace between the two communities of the island.
Currently, only the government-controlled southern part of Cyprus uses Guney's original since the division of the island in 1974.
Guney sought payment from the government of the Republic of Cyprus for his flag design, in addition to compensation for its copyright use in 2006. Güney was reportedly promised £20 a year by Makarios for designing the national flag, but he was never paid for his work, according to reports by the Turkish Cypriot media. Guney had hired a Greek Cypriot law firm to take his case, and had stated that he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights if needed.