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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations