Cyprus and Its People: Nation, Identity, and Experience in an Unimaginable Community, 1955-1997

By Vangelis Calotychos | Go to book overview

Turkish Cypriots are presently between nationalities, whether working for recognition as a separate state, unification with the Greek Cypriots, creating an identity linked with Turkey or linked to a "homogenous" Cypriot past. Economically, socially, and politically they are a "people without a state." Living in an "unrecognized state," suffering from an international economic embargo that leaves them almost completely dependent upon Turkey, "history" has left them without status and without an "identity" for over twenty years. Their economic, political and social needs have come to be expressed as competing exclusionary nationalisms. The liminal status of the people of North Cyprus has pitted "Cypriot Turks" against "Turkish Cypriots" in a battle to forge an identity that displaces their plight as people without a state, a "dismembered nation to be reinvented" ( 1980: 223).


Notes

Acknowledgments: Research in northern Cyprus the summers of 1988 and 1989 was supported by the American Friends Society, and August 1991 through August 1992 was supported by the Peace Institute, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the National Science Foundation. This piece has benefited from comments made on earlier drafts by Ana Alonso, Theresa Montini and Randy Tillery.

1.
I am paraphrasing Audre Lorde's famous quotation that "the master's tools will never dismantile the master's house" (Lorde 1984:112), an idea that she developed within the context of challenging white racist feminism.
2.
Just about every historical "fact" discussed here has been hotly contested. For an overview of the debates over the history of Cyprus, see Killoran ( 1994).
3.
See Maratheftis ( 1989);Papadakis ( 1993) for a discussion of "Den xehno," or "I do not forget," amongst Greek Cypriots.
4.
I am unable to cite the article as she did not have a copy of it nor did the newspaper ( Yeniduzen) have an archival copy.
5.
This line is from a poem by Mehmet Levent that won the "National March" contest. It has not been adopted as the national anthem as the Turkish national anthem is used.
6.
She has also discussed at length how in Turkish village culture, men and women are defined in terms of their roles in procreation which are understood in terms of "seed and soil" ( Delaney 1991a).
7.
In 1915, no Sultan would have been considered to be a Turk. Prior to Turkish Independence and Turkish nationalism, he would have been considered an Ottoman.
8.
The following is the "Freedom and Peace March" by Mehmet Levent: "Hail to you Fighter, My dear Mehmet hail! / Hail to this land, bursting with our martyr's blood! / To Peace, to Freedom, to Independence, Hail! / Hail star and crescent, peaceful days hail! /

We were born Turks, we live as Turks, and we will remain Turks! / We are all Fighters, we are flags on the towers! / Like mountains we stood firm, We held our

-168-

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