CYPRUS: STATE CREATION WITHOUT A NATIONAL IDENTITY
Pappas, Byron Nicholas
Voll, John O
CYPRUS: STATE CREATION WITHOUT A NATIONAL IDENTITYByron N. Pappas, BALSMentor: John O. Voll, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThe Republic of Cyprus entered the international community without the benefit of election August 16, 1960, the result of an international compromise among Britain, Greece and Turkey. These powers were operating under the illusion that they could in fact create an effective government in Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus had become a state but not a nation. Three years later civil war erupted along ethnic lines and Cyprus devolved into a partitioned state. At the time of the creation of the Cypriot constitution the framers failed to ask the essential question. What does it mean to be a Cypriot? In 1960 the Cypriot constitution identified two ethnic groups as citizens of the Republic: persons of Greek or Turkish origin. Does that mean that a citizen of Cyprus is a Cypriot Greek or a Greek Cypriot conversely a Cypriot Turk or a Turkish Cypriot? The framers of the Cypriot constitution viewed the Cypriot problem through their unique historical perspectives. Incorrect perceptions lead to improper analysis which in the realm of international politics can have catastrophic consequences.History had denied Cyprus the opportunity to experience the process of creating nationalist ideas. Britain as the Colonial Power never identified a Cypriot but rather people of Greek or Turkish heritage. Greece and Turkey through various means projectediiitheir cultural narratives creating two separate but politically equal competing ethnic communities. The purpose of this endeavor will be to examine the hybrid constitutional structure that was created and make the claim that the constitution in fact suppressed the potential for the development of inter-communal relations that are a necessary pre-requisite for the development of a nationalist narrative.In order to support that claim it will necessary to develop a hybrid nationalist theorem derived primarily from the ideas of Benedict Anderson and Ernest Gellner. The topic is timely because ethnic tensions have emerged as an important element within existing states. Iraq represents one of the more recent examples of a state with a weak historical narrative and limited inter-cultural interaction. The result has been a society operating in an ethnically competitive environment subject to sustained outbursts of violence. Identifying and understanding the reasons for the failure of the first Cypriot Republic may be useful to those going forward operating in hostile environments that lack the ability to discern potential commonalities. Once discovered it may result in the planting of seeds where the opportunity for a shared cultural narrative may emerge into a nationalist narrative.
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