The cultural contexts of Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity in contemporary north Cyprus

Jonathan Ryan Arbuckle, Purdue University

Abstract

This thesis examines the cultural contexts of Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity and resistance to Turkish socio-political influence in contemporary north Cyprus. As a result of Turkey’s political policy of increasing the “Turkishness” of north Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot ethnicity and culture are being politically assimilated into the pure “Turkish culture of Anatolia”. In response, many Turkish Cypriots are highlighting the intimate “Cypriot” cultural aspects as vital factors in reasserting their Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity. The processes of expressing these factors through various cultural mediums represent symbolic themes of ritual and purity, communal experience, and possible resistance that not only help define the borders of Turkish Cypriot ethnicity from the “other”, but also provide meanings and understandings of Turkish Cypriot ethnicity. These cultural contexts do not attempt to impose a unified understanding of what Turkish Cypriot ethnicity is; rather, they represent a symbolic distinction from the other by focusing on the more Cypriot cultural differences as important expressions of Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity. The various contexts of Turkish Cypriot ethnic identity and resistance are crucial and often overlooked aspects of the current socio-political situation in north Cyprus.^

Degree

M.S.

Advisors

Andrew Buckser, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Anthropology, Cultural|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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