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

By Vangelis Calotychos | Go to book overview

15 Turks And Greeks Of Cyprus: Psychopolitical Considerations

Vamik D. Volkan

I was born and raised a Turkish child in Nicosia, Cyprus, in an area very near a Greek neighborhood. One morning, at the age of two, I was kidnapped from the front of our house by a Greek woman. Ransom was not the motive. Instead this troubled woman hoped to raise me as her own and intended me no harm. I was found in the late afternoon, in the city's electric factory where I had been hidden away. I have no recollection of this incident, but I can recall my mother's and grandmother's anxious expressions as they re-told and re-lived the story, I was fascinated by it. Thus, this incident was mythologized in my mind. As a youngster, I had fears that I might be killed by electricity, but I was also curiously pleased that I, a Turkish child, had been a Greek person's object of desire.

The invitation extended to me by the Greek organizers of this conference on Cyprus and Its People, triggered the story of my abduction to memory. Once again, it seemed I was desired and wanted by the Greeks, and for this, I am again curiously pleased. However, given our long history of "togetherness" and the resulting mixed emotions that have developed within a historical context, I am also somewhat ambivalent. The former Turkish Prime Minister, Bülent Ecevit ( 1976), eloquently expressed the ambivalence I'm feeling in a poem he wrote concerning the Turk and Greek relationship. It reads:

Only when homesick do you realize
you have become brother to the Greek.
When he hears a Greek melody abroad,
how transformed is the child of Istanbul.
With pungent Turkish we have abused you
to our heart's content.

-277-

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