This essay argues that Cypriot national minorities suffer from ‘internal-exclusion’ because the clash of foreign nationalisms (Greek and Turkish) and imperialisms (British, American, Greek and Turkish) in Cyprus has resulted in the domination of the ‘Greeks’ and ‘Turks’ despite the historical presence of other communities. This has also resulted in the failure to develop an indigenous Cypriot identity, one that crosses religious difference and has as its base the idea of Cyprus as a secular homeland that includes all its disparate national groups who call themselves ‘Cypriots’. Not only have both Greek and Turkish Cypriot elite, by focusing on their intercommunal problem, practised assimilation into the majority of the minority since the independence of the island from British rule in 1960, but the institutional structures from which assimilation could be implemented were imbedded into the Constitution. In the Constitution the national minorities were termed ‘religious groups’ and forced to become members of either dominant community. Thus, by being denied their place as ‘national’ minorities and regarded as religious sub-groups of one of the two dominant communities, they have suffered ‘internalexclusion’. This has had adverse effects on their rights as well as their position in Cypriot society.
Cyprus, historical diversity, national minorities, Cyprus Problem, multiculturalism, identity
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