Introduction: Cypriot Nationalism(s) in Context: History, Identity and Politics

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In this introductory chapter, Christofis and Kyritsi introduce the reader into the history of nationalism in modern and contemporary Cyprus. The scope of the analysis is a historical approach to nationalism, that is the view that the world of nations, ethnic identity, and national ideology are neither eternal, nor ahistorical or primordial but are rather socially constructed and function within particular historical and social contexts. In this framework, the authors explore how Cyprus—a small Mediterranean island that was and still remains marked by opposed nationalisms, that is, Greek and Turkish—constitutes a fertile ground for examining the history, the dynamics and the dialectics of nationalism.

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To understand today’s journalism better, the historical context in which it is embedded needs to be studied. This chapter provides a historical background of the Cyprus conflict and the news media’s involvement in its creation and development. First, it gives some information on intercommunal tensions and outlines the peace initiatives to find a political settlement. Then, it discusses the media’s part in developing the Cyprus problem. Like in Cottle’s (2006) concept of ‘mediatised conflict’, the media in Cyprus played a constitutive role in the disputes. The section also studies journalism’s responses to political realities over the years. Political party journalism is one of the outcomes of the political pressures on the island. In summary, the chapter explores how the intercommunal and political conflicts have affected journalism and are also influenced by it.
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Despite the celebratory approach towards community participation in peace-building, less attention has been placed on the participatory process itself, leaving ambiguous how, and to what degree, power is actually redistributed in these processes. This article aims to address this gap by further developing Torre’s concept of the participatory contact zone. This notion first structures a mapping of Cypriot bi-communal education-related projects (2010-2015) and then supports an in-depth analysis of one project, the Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP). This case study uses Carpentier’s four-level, twelve-step model for participatory analysis to scrutinize the participatory intensity of the CFP’s organizational processes, focusing on the power position of the involved youngsters. It shows that teenagers participate in the CFP at varying degrees: While their power position on a more structural level is limited, there are three areas where these youngsters become more empowered: Co-organization (at lower levels), the teamwork during activities and the development of new initiatives.
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Both ethnic communities in Cyprus have maintained strong political and cultural ties with Greece and Turkey, respectively, and at some point of their twentieth century history, each has aspired to become part of either the former or the latter. Yet the way this relationship has been imagined has differed across time, space, and class. Both communities have adapted their identities to prevailing ideological waves as well as political opportunities, domestic alliances, and interests. The article evaluates different responses to ethnic nationalism, highlighting important intra-ethnic differentiations within each Cypriot community usually expressed in the positions of political parties, intellectuals, and the press. While the current literature identifies two major poles of identity in the island, “motherland nationalism” and “Cypriotism,” the article suggests that the major focus of identity of Cypriots is identification with their respective ethnic communities in the form of Greek Cypriotism or Turkish Cypriotism. In fact, contentious politics in Cyprus from the ENOSIS/TAKSIM struggle to the April 2004 referendum demonstrate the interplay of external constraints and collective self-identification processes leading to the formation of these identities. The article concludes by identifying the implications of identity shifts for deeply divided societies and conflict resolution in general.
'Imagined Communities' examines the creation & function of the 'imagined communities' of nationality & the way these communities were in part created by the growth of the nation-state, the interaction between capitalism & printing & the birth of vernacular languages in early modern Europe.
The families of the disappeared have long struggled to uncover the truth about their missing relatives. In so doing, their mobilization has shaped central transitional justice norms and institutions, as this ground-breaking work demonstrates. Kovras combines a new global database with the systematic analysis of four challenging case studies - Lebanon, Cyprus, South Africa and Chile - each representative of a different approach to transitional justice. These studies reveal how variations in transitional justice policies addressing the disappeared occur: explaining why victims' groups in some countries are caught in silence, while others bring perpetrators to account. Conceiving of transitional justice as a dynamic process, Kovras traces the different phases of truth recovery in post-transitional societies, giving substance not only to the 'why' but also the 'when' and 'how' of this kind of campaign against impunity. This book is essential reading for all those interested in the development of transitional justice and human rights.
This book analyzes the events that impacted the structure and competitive processes of the two dominant Cypriot political factions while under the watchful eye of British rule. Based on new archival research, Alecou addresses the social and political environment in which the Cypriot Communists and Nationalists fought each other while at the same time had to fight the British Empire. The differences between communists and nationalists brought the two sides to a frontal collision in the wake of the events of the Greek civil war. The class conflict within Cypriot society would at some point inevitably lead, in one way or another, to a clash between the two factions. The civil war in Greece constituted another field of conflict between Left and Right, accelerating the formation of a bipolar party system in which the vertical division of the Greek community in Cyprus eventually expressed itself.
This book argues that two conflicting styles of nationalist imagination led to the violent rending of Cyprus in 1974 and sustained that division over decades. Based on research in both southern and northern Cyprus, the work demonstrates how the conflict emerged through the Cypriot's encounters with modernity under British colonialism, and through a consequent re-imagining of the body politic in a new world in which Cypriots were defined as part of a European periphery. Rebecca Bryant demonstrates how Muslims and Christians were transformed into Turks and Greeks, and what it meant epistemologically, ontollogically and politically when they were.
The long-term consequence of the Cyprus conflict referred to by the international community as the 'Cyprus problem' rests on the bodies of Cypriot women. Cypriot women's diverse experiences and roles in resistance of war and mobilisation of peace impacts post-conflict conditions. The issues relevant to Cypriot women in post-conflict who have experienced trauma and violence due to war, requires a practice and theory that goes beyond Western universal applicability. This study challenges capitalist heteronormative patriarchy and European models of civil society building that have kept Cypriot women on the margins. An investigation of Cypriot women's voices cross war zones in the documentary film entitled Women of Cyprus (Katrivanou and Azzouz, 2009) bring to light the impact of ethno-nationalism and ethnic divisions and the complexities of women's positionality in conflict. A transnational feminist perspective is used to advance theories of gender and serves as a critique for reconciliation in Cyprus.
Leaving their mark on this period are; the turmoil of insurgency in Greece and Egypt, a growing intervention of European Powers in Eastern Mediterranean politics, and the unfolding of large reform projects within the administration of the Ottoman Empire. Whilst these developments have prompted enduring debates over Middle Eastern paths of transformation, the case of Cyprus has remained isolated from these discussions, something this book seeks to address.
This article argues that nationalism is an essentially dual phenomenon with its crucial loci in the formal organization of the state on the one hand, and in civil society on the other. Formal nationalism is connected with the demands of the modern nation‐state, including bureaucratic organization and meritocratic ideology, cultural uniformity and political consensus among the inhabitants. Informal nationalism is identified in collective events, such as ritual celebrations and international sports competitions, taking place in civil society. Both these aspects of nationalism have been discussed in the recent literature, but it has not been common to distinguish between them. It is argued here that the two nationalisms are not reducible to each other; both are equally ‘authentic’, but they can be contradictory. Although the discussion is intended to have general relevance for theories of nationalism, it draws its empirical material from nationalist ideologies in two recently invented, poly‐ethnic nations, the twin‐island state of Trinidad and Tobago, and Mauritius.
The definition of Turkish nationhood after the founding of the Republic has been evaluated and labelled very differently by various scholars. The classical view paralleled the official representation of Republican policies in describing Turkish nationhood as being based on a civic and territorial understanding of nationality. More recent and much more critical scholarship, which enjoys a near-hegemonic position in the study of Turkish nationalism today, claims that the official definition of Turkish nationhood has a clearly identifiable mono-ethnic orientation, manifest in a series of policies and institutions. This article argues that the definition of Turkish nationhood as manifest in state policies is neither territorial nor mono-ethnic, but rather ironically for the adamantly secular Turkish republic, the definition of Turkish nationhood is mono-religious and anti-ethnic, in striking continuity with the Islamic millet under the Ottoman Empire. The reason critical scholars perceive Turkish nationhood as mono-ethnic might stem from the dichotomous view of nationalisms as civic versus ethnic, a dichotomy that has recently been repudiated by some of its erstwhile proponents. Supremacy of the religious over ethnic categories in Turkey, as a historical legacy of the Ottoman millet system, might be applicable to most post-Ottoman states in the Islamic Middle East and North Africa, in contrast to the interplay of ethnicity and religion in Western Europe. This view of Turkish nationhood is confirmed by a dozen interviews that the author conducted with members of the political and intellectual elite of different ideological orientations in Turkey. It is then demonstrated how the new efforts at reformulating modern Turkish identity with reference to Ottoman and Islamic conceptions lead to new inclusion-exclusion dynamics with the Kurds and the Alevis, suggesting that a truly inclusive reformulation has to follow secular and territorial principles.
"[U]shers the reader into the complexities of the categorical ambiguity of Cyprus [and]... concentrates... on the Dead Zone of the divided society, in the cultural space where those who refuse to go to the poles gather." -- Anastasia Karakasidou, Wellesley College The volatile recent past of Cyprus has turned this island from the idyllic "island of Aphrodite" of tourist literature into a place renowned for hostile confrontations. Cyprus challenges familiar binary divisions, between Christianity and Islam, Greeks and Turks, Europe and the East, tradition and modernity. Anti-colonial struggles, the divisive effects of ethnic nationalism, war, invasion, territorial division, and population displacements are all facets of the notorious Cyprus Problem. Incorporating the most up-to-date social and cultural research on Cyprus, these essays examine nationalism and interethnic relations, Cyprus and the European Union, the impact of immigration, and the effects of tourism and international environmental movements, among other topics.
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