Eleni Apeyitou


This article aims to trace the creation and development of Turkish-Cypriot nationalism on Cyprus. The article also aims at understanding the power of this "second" nationalism in Cyprus, as a reactive force vis-a-vis the already developed Greek-Cypriot nationalism. While the intellectual birth of Turkish-Cypriot nationalism and its initial spread as an ideological child of mainland Turkish nationalism had very little to do with Greek Cypriots and their already developed nationalism, its growth and final form came to be conditioned as that of a response and reaction to Greek-Cypriot nationalism. The partitionist nature, uncompromising ideology, and the militant character that Turkish-Cypriot nationalism would acquire by the 1950s ensured that cohabitation and compromise with the Greek-Cypriot community would be ousted as political choices by the nationalist Turkish-Cypriot elites, with the known devastating results. 

The article examines the growth of a religious minority, symbiotic and flexible in character, and integrationist in social and economic attitude, into a monolithic nationalist force that was open to the outside intervention of Turkey and the British colonial government. The two basic characteristics of Turkish-Cypriot nationalism, the belatedness of its growth and the contingency of its materialisation stand out as crucial factors in understanding its nature as well as its effects on the political history of Cyprus. Together with the analysis of the evolution, ontology and cohesion of Turkish-Cypriot nationalism, an attempt is made to juxtapose and compare Turkish and Greek-Cypriot nationalism on the island. Finally an attempt is made to
demonstrate how the lack of options that the Cypriots had in the late 1950s for forging an independent political existence, free of strife and conflict, were both a product of the formulations of nationalism on the island, as well as a result of external intervention and imposed options for a solution.