Monday, 1 June 2020

THE ME-I’M-NOT-GREEK CYPRIOTS

by Pavlos Andronikos


Cyprus Invaded & Partitioned

A particularly disheartening phenomenon in contemporary Cyprus is the push by a small but vocal group of Cypriots who consider themselves “progressive” to de-Hellenise the identity of the Greek Cypriots.

They claim to be opposed to “nationalism”, but seem in fact to be primarily opposed to Greek nationalism which they want to eradicate by denying the Hellenic identity of Cypriot Greeks. With regard to Turkish nationalism they have something of a blind spot—it does not bother them anywhere near as much as, by their own lights, it should.[1] In fact they seem to have adopted the perspective of Turkish propaganda which holds that all the problems of Cyprus have resulted solely from the actions of Greek nationalists.[2] They also seem to have adopted the claims of British propaganda from the 50s that the Greek Cypriots are not really Greek, they just think they are.[3]

In the sense that yes, a Cypriot’s first and foremost loyalty should be to Cyprus, their aim is laudable, but it is not at all clear to me why loyalty to Cyprus should necessitate both a denial of the Hellenic and Turkish identity of most of the population, and a revision of the island’s history which suppresses and/or rejects the Hellenic nature of the majority indigenous community. However laudable the motivation, lies and distortions do not cease to be lies and distortions.

Born-again Cypriotism gained ground among Greek Cypriots after the Turkish invasion and partition of the island in 1974, and is to a large extent motivated by a desire to see the island reunified. But can real unity be achieved by allowing Turkey to dictate the terms of reunification?

In this regard it is noteworthy that despite its commitment to Cypriot nationalism, the born-again Cypriot mindset is not loyal to the Republic of Cyprus. Its reconciliationist devotees are quite willing to agree to the dissolution of that entity and the replacement of it with a federal semblance of “unity” which is in essence an apartheid legitimisation of the partition imposed by the Turkish troops, and which would make Cyprus a hostage to Turkish interests regardless of the wishes of the majority population.

Can reunification be achieved by adopting the misrepresentations of British and Turkish propaganda, and denying the Hellenic character of our culture and identity? Is that a reunification we can, or want to, live with?

Notes


[1] See Sener Levent, “Et tu, Akis Lordos?...” in Politis 7 July 2016. Available in English translation at http://www.pavlos-andronikos.id.au/SenerLevent.htm. In this article Sener Levent tackles Greek Cypriot “reconciliationists” who criticised him for “raking up” the past when he reported newly discovered Turkish atrocities of 1974.  Their sentiments he tells them are pleasing to the chauvinists on the Turkish side. “You are fighting on the same front”, he says. “Your words spread honey on the bread of all of them. You will never be able to bring peace to this island in this way.”

[2] For a better understanding of the Turkish contribution to the problems of Cyprus see the compilation of excerpts “Turkey’s Role in Cyprus in the 1950s” (ed. Pavlos Andronikos) at http://www.pavlos-andronikos.id.au/turkey-cyprus_issue.htm.

[3] On the Hellenic character of Cyprus see Pavlos Andronikos, “Changing Perceptions: Cyprus, A Greek Island” at http://www.pavlos-andronikos.id.au/ChangingPerceptions2.htm.

[4] Warning: Do not confuse accepting that Greek-speaking Cypriots are Hellenic in character (but in a Cypriot way) with a desire for Cyprus to be a province of Greece. Nobody is arguing for enosis here.

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