Vamık D. Volkan, M.D., DLFAPA, FACPsa.

 
Nicosia, CYPRUS, 1932.

                                                                                                                                                                                          
 
 
 
 
 
TRAUMA, IDENTITY AND SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION IN CYPRUS 
 
 
 
 
 
By
 
Vamık D. Volkan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Published by SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research. Insight Turkey, Vol.10, No.4, pp.95-110, 2008.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Abstract:
Massive traumas at the hands of “enemies” affect both individuals and societies for decades. For the Cypriot Turks, their massive trauma started in 1963-1964, when they were forced to live in subhuman conditions in enclaves geographically limited to three percent of the island for eleven years. What happened during the summer of 1974 obviously traumatized the Cypriot Greeks too on a massive scale. Psychoanalysts who have studied the trans-generational transmission of massive social trauma inform us that if the impact of such trauma is denied or repressed, it will still manifest itself in various ways in new generations. The “therapeutic” way of dealing with previous generations’ massive social traumas is not to deny or repress what happened to the ancestors, but to be aware of the history. There could be no solution on the island without understanding and addressing traumas of both communities.
 
When Cypriot Greeks and Cy­priot Turks, and in fact Greeks and Turks in general, speak or write about what has happened in Cyprus during the last five decades, they select and highlight two different events respectively as the most trau­matic and devastating for their communities. Greeks rank the landing of the Turkish army on Cyprus in July 1974, and the dividing of the island by a de facto border into northern Turk­ish and southern Greek sections, as their most devastating societal trauma during the course of the “Cyprus problem.” When Turks speak or write about the “Cyprus problem” they go back to 1963 and recount their horror story when the Greek Cypriots, who outnumbered Cypriot Turks four to one, forced the Cypriot Turks to live in subhuman conditions in en­claves geographically limited to three percent of the island. They lived this way, surrounded by their enemies, for eleven years.
 
 
What happened during the summer of 1974, obviously traumatized the Cypriot Greeks on a massive scale?
   
 
To this day, the Cypriot Turks’ expe­rience of living in the enclaves continues to influence their large-group identity is­sues. Following Erik Erikson’s remarks about an individual’s identity, I define large-group identity, whether it refers to religion, nationality, or ethnicity, as the subjective experience of millions of people—tens of thousands of people in the case of Northern Cyprus—most of whom will never meet during their lifetimes, who are linked by a persistent sense of sameness, while sharing some characteristics with others who belong to foreign groups. I will suggest that, other historical and political factors aside, the Cypriot Turks’ present identity confusion is a consequence of the massive societal trauma that occurred during the initial decades of the “Cyprus problem.”
 
The landing of the Turkish army on the northern part of  Cyprus in July 1974, is usually described by Greeks as “all hell breaking loose,” a time when many young Greek soldiers on the island were killed, others were captured and still others be­came missing persons. Tens of thousands of Cypriot Greeks were forced to escape to the southern part of the island as the Turkish soldiers took the northern part. Greeks sometimes speak or write about “systematic rapes” of Greek women by Turkish soldiers who, according to their perceptions, also killed hundreds of civil­ians. The Cypriot Greek economy, which is flourishing at present, also collapsed at that time.
 
What happened during the summer of 1974 obviously traumatized the Cy­priot Greeks on a massive scale. When describing the disaster, Greek speakers or writers refer to the war that took place that summer as a “Turkish invasion,” and as an example of an outbreak of what they refer to in general as centuries-old Turkish aggression against Greeks. Greeks lived under Ottoman rule for about four centu­ries, and this long history of Turkish-Greek relations has given rise to a pervasive feeling among Greeks of being victimized. These feelings find expression in rela­tion to the “Turkish invasion” of the northern part of Cyprus.
 
For the Cypriot Turks, their massive trauma that started in 1963-1964 when they were forced to live in enclaves.2 Since between 25,000 and 30,000 Cypriot Turks became internally displaced during 1963-1964, and since at that time the island’s Turkish population was only 120,000, it would appear that about a fifth of those living in the enclaves were refugees. The eleven–year history of the Cypriot Turkish enclaves may be divided into two periods. During the first (1963-1968), Cypriot Turks were virtually imprisoned in the enclaves, which covered only three percent of the island. During the second, between 1968 and the summer of 1974, they were “allowed” to move out of them and pass through the Cypriot Greek ter­ritory to visit other enclaves. Still, the land they were forced to flee in 1963-1964 was not available to them for resettlement.
 
When Turkish scholars, politicians or students speak and write about the Cy­priot Turks’ life in the enclaves, they refer directly or indirectly to their humilia­tion and dehumanization at the hands of Cypriot Greeks, and to the many human rights deprivations they suffered during this time. They also describe their per­ception that they would have perished without the presence of the United Nations Peace-keeping force and without the political and military interference of Turks from mainland Turkey.
 
According to the Cypriot Turks, the events of the summer of 1974, were initi­ated by the Cypriot Greeks.There was a bloody coup among the Cypriot Greeks just before the Turkish Army landed on the island.The coup was organized by the Greek Military junta which overthrew Greek Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios with an aim to unite the island with Greece. The leader of this move­ment on the island was a Cypriot Greek named Nikos Sampson. Photographs of Sampson holding a gun and standing in the pose of a safari hunter, with one foot placed on the corpse of a Cypriot Turk, provided concrete evidence giving credence to Cypriot Turkish expectations of their annihilation at the hands of Cypriot Greeks.3 At the very least, Sampson’s photographs illustrated the dehu­manization of the Cypriot Turks.
 
Turkish spokespersons on the “Cyprus problem” describe the eleven years of living in enclaves as being the source of Cypriot Turks’ foremost massive trauma. They also reference it to support their position in the existing political agreement among Greece, Turkey and Great Britain that justi­fies Turkey’s right to intervene and to argue other legitimate legal reasons that would allow the Turkish army’s coming to the island to save the Cypriot Turks from being annihilated. They also accuse Greeks of not telling the truth when they attempt to influence world opinion by referring to “systematic rapes” which, according to the Turks, never occurred. Cypriot Turks living the southern part of the island escaped to the north under dangerous conditions.4  But in the end, when the island was de facto divided into the northern Turkish and the southern Greek sections, Cypriot Turks felt safe, due to the presence of the Turkish Military on the island.
 
Enemies perceive and present historical events differently. It is not surprising that Turks and Greeks also perceive and present the “Cyprus problem” from dif­ferent perspectives. In my decades–long experiences bringing various enemy rep resentatives such as Israelis and Arabs, Russians and Estonians, Serbs and Croats, and Georgians and South Ossetians together for years-long series of unofficial diplomatic talks under the auspices of the University of Virginia’s Center for the Mind and Human Interaction (CSMHI), I have become keenly aware that spoken or written histories are both real and imagined.5 Historian and psychoanalyst Pe­ter Loewenberg states that when one examines history, sometimes it is difficult to figure out when reality ends and fantasy begins.6 Nevertheless, it is clear that the war during the summer of 1974 massively traumatized Cypriot Greeks. The most traumatizing event for the Cypriot Turks, however, was a long-lasting, eleven-year state of humiliation, dehumanization and annihilation anxiety, in spite of their continued hope that one day mainland Turks would save them.
 
 
The Establishment of an “invisible enclave”:
Historical developments after the summer of 1974 have continued to trauma­tize Cypriot Turks in a slow and often unrecognized fashion. A world opinion ac­cepting the Cypriot Greeks as victims and the Cypriot Turks (or Turks in general) as aggressors has been established. Although this was perhaps due to the failure of Turkish diplomacy, psychologically speaking it might also be due to the West­ern World’s stereotypical perceptions of Turks as the heirs to the Ottomans, who were the enemies of the West. Whatever the cause, the Greek side of the island was recognized legally as a state by all nations, except Turkey, while only Turkey accepted the Turkish side as a legal entity. This reality created an invisible enclave for the Cypriot Turks.
 
Cypriot Greeks managed to convince international organizations to impose severe embargoes on the Cypriot Turks. Accordingly, trading directly with foreign countries became impossible, and travel documents issued to the Cypriot Turks by the northern Cypriot Turkish authorities were not recognized by the international community. No direct flights to the Turkish side of the island were permitted, and mail to and from the Turkish side could only travel through Turkey. Cypriot Turks were not allowed to compete in sports in foreign countries (except in Turkey.) Furthermore, there were no major foreign investments in the Turkish side.7 These embargoes have continued to the present day. In other words, the northern part of Cyprus is inhabited by people who do not have typical human rights, who do not have a large-group identity that is legally accepted by billions of others surround­ing them (except Turks on the mainland) and who, in a sense, are second-class human beings. After living in actual enclaves for eleven years, the Cypriot Turks from 1974 to the present time have continued to live in an invisible enclave.­
 
 
For the Cypriot Turks, their massive trauma started in 1963-1964, when they were forced to live in enclaves!
 
 
Official diplomacy makes little room for noticing and caring about emotions. The people in international organizations do not even consider feel­ing ashamed about treating the Cypriot Turks as second-class world citizens for decades while accepting the Greeks in the south of the island as regular human beings. At the present time, Cypriot Turks in their day-to-day lives are not con­stantly aware that they are still living in a symbolic enclave. Most of the time, their experiences of second-class world citizenship are denied or repressed, as they seemingly have felt safe since 1974, and they, like people everywhere, have turned their attention to earning money, competing for work and prestige with others in their communities, taking care of their families, educating their chil­dren, and so on.
 
It is difficult to think about oneself as having an identity unrecognized by the world community when there are many universities in northern Cyprus, and stu­dents from at least forty different countries attend them. Tourists, also from many countries, sightsee and visit gambling casinos and other entertainment centers there. During recent years a building boom has occurred in the northern part of the island that, in fact, is damaging its natural beauty. Nevertheless, there has been endless political discussion of the “Cyprus problem” by local leaders and interna­tional bodies that have been trying to find an ultimate solution to this “problem” for decades, and the reporting of such endless discussions in the news media has consistently reminded the Cypriot Turks that they are, after all, not yet recognized as world citizens equal to other human beings. The word “isolation” is the current term used by the diplomatic world to describe the Cypriot Turks’ new invisible enclave. In April 2004, the island’s population voted for a United Nation’s proposal to settle the “Cyprus problem,” the so-called “Annan Plan,” which was supposedly designed to remove this “isolation.” The plan was approved by 65 percent of the Cypriot Turks and rejected by 75 percent of the Cypriot Greeks. The invisible enclave continues to exist. The failure of the Annan plan has thus led to a re-traumatization of the Cypriot Turks.
 
 
“Erasing” History:
The recent history of Cyprus typically accepted by foreigners primarily follows the lines of history as defined by Greeks. In the minds of most foreigners, 1974, appears as the beginning of the “Cyprus problem.” In international political and scholarly arenas, what happened on the island before 1974 only gets lip service.
 
 
The word “isolation” is the current term used by the diplomatic world to describe the Cypriot Turks’ new invisible enclave.
 
 
What is very strange is that this percep­tion also has spread among the new gen­eration of Turks within the Turkish Re­public of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
 
On March 30, 2007, a news item ap­peared in the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet. It reported that the Cypriot Turkish Government had received $69,000 from the European Union to fund their proposals for further development of a peaceful existence between Cypriot Turks and Cypriot Greeks by modifying the social science books in the elementary schools. Accordingly, the TRNC’s new so­cial science book for sixth graders does not mention the chronic massive Turkish Cypriot trauma or even the Turkish Military’s coming to the island in 1974. It contains one picture of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, while the first President of  TRNC, Rauf Denktaş, is not even mentioned.
 
Denktaş is un­doubtedly the main political figure whose name was associated with the struggle of the Cypriot Turks during their lives in the enclaves and for many years follow­ing 1974. In my mind, to erase his name along with the many significant aspects of what happened to the Cypriot Turks during the long history of the “Cyprus problem” amounts to erasing history. Before going further I should also mention that the Cypriot Greeks, according to this news story and according my own in­vestigation, have refused to modify their school books.
 
 
The failure of the Annan plan has led to a re-traumatization of the Cypriot Turks...
 
 
 
After reading this news story, during the summer of 2007, I wanted to know what Cypriot Turkish young people knew about what had happened to their grandparents or parents in 1963 and 1964, and during the subsequent eleven years. I began to interview Cypriot Turks in their late teens and early twenties, boys and girls, whenever I could. I should say that I was not conducting scientific research; I simply wanted to develop a clearer general impression of their views.
 
The results of my interviews surprised me. All of the young people I interviewed seemed unaware of their ancestors’ recent history. I also learned that, since the opening of the borders between the Greek and Turkish sides after the Greek side became a member of the European Union, more than 250 Turkish Cypriot families began sending their children to secondary or higher schools on the Greek side where no lessons are given on the massive and chronic Cypriot Turkish trauma. I was also informed that 10-20 Cypriot Turkish children are also attending Cypriot Greek elementary schools. The Cypriot Turkish parents’ justification for sending their children to schools on the Cypriot Greek side is their perception that the Cypriot Turkish schools are inferior to the schools in the south, which are part of the EU system. Some parents were aware that their children might experience humili­ations after crossing the border to the Cypriot Greek side, but in spite of this they continued to send them there.
 
Psychoanalysts who have studied the trans-generational transmission of massive social trauma inform us that if the impact of such trauma is denied or repressed, it will still manifest itself in various ways in new generations.8 The “therapeutic” way of dealing with previous generations’ massive social trau­mas is not to deny or repress what happened to the ancestors, but to be aware of the history and the nature of the devastating events faced by the previous generations and to observe their influence on the new generations. When his­torical continuity is available for new generations, they have a better chance of strengthening their large-group identity and a better chance of having a rap­prochement with their ancestors’ enemy’s offspring. The modification of the school books had taken place with a belief that pointed in the opposite direc­tion.
 
According to a high level Cypriot Turkish official, “erasing” aspects of the recent Cypriot Turkish history from the school books serves the purpose of not provoking enmity among Cypriot Turkish children against the Cypriot Greeks. Such a “noble” thought had developed from suggestions by individuals who be­longed to various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that had been active in “conflict resolution” on the island. What they did not understand is the reality of the "transgenerational transmission of trauma." When such trauma is not rec­ognized and not dealt with openly, its influence may include the development of splits within the descendants of the victims, as some of them become involved in denying their ancestors’ humiliation, while others hold on to a transmitted task without denial and are preoccupied with reversing the ancestors’ negative fate. Both of these processes may be a part of large-group identity confusion within the affected society.
 
In present-day Cyprus most of the new Turkish Cypriot generation seems to hold onto a denial of the past to a greater extent than they accept being reservoirs of their ancestors’ misery and associate tasks to reverse it. Nevertheless, the young genera­tion is only a part of the total population. The presence in society of parents and grandparents who were directly traumatized causes more problems and splits. Some of them, psychologically speaking, still “live” in the 1960s and 1970s, while others strongly deny the past and do not wish to remember the horrors associated with it.
 
 
The “therapeutic” way of dealing with previous generations’ massive social traumas
is not to deny or repress what happened to the ancestors, but to be aware of the history...
 
 
 
Reasons for “erasing” Part of History:
How did the younger generation of Cypriot Turks – again I am generalizing here – begin to “forget” the history and the dramatic nature of their recent ances­tors’ experience? First, let me suggest that strong external pressure and political propaganda have played a significant role in the denial and repression of the mas­sive trauma of their ancestors. Soon after 1974, some American diplomats con­sidered creating an integrated society on the island as a solution to the “Cyprus problem.” I particularly remember one American diplomat’s outburst, demanding that Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks get together and create a new nation. He said: “What is wrong with people who cannot get together and be a nation the way we have in America?” For many decades, the official and unofficial policy in the USA and in European countries concerning the “Cyprus problem” seemed to cen­ter around the creation, if you will, of a new large-group identity called “Cypriot” (“Kıbrıslı,” in Turkish), minimizing the existing ethnic identities of being a Turk or a Greek. Historically speaking there has never been a “Cypriot” ethnicity or na­tionality.9 Nevertheless, uniting the total population under the term “Cypriotism” received much attention and energy. According to Arshi Khan, “the term ‘Cy­priotism’ broadly refers to the idea that Cyprus has its own sui generis character and thus must be viewed as an entity independent from both the motherlands of the two main communities - Greece and Turkey. This contrasts sharply with the view that dominates nationalist ideology (whether Greek or Turkish Cypriot) and views Cyprus as an extension of the motherlands.”10 Khan also states that the con­cept “Cypriotism” was “raised more in the context of nation-building discourse” 11 and considered “as an evolutionary process of mutual accommodation in ‘societal’ and ‘political’ culture.” 12
 
Since 1974, many non-governmental organizations have been active on the is­land in support of this policy, sometimes openly and sometimes in hidden ways. There was a perception that if the divided populations on the island were linked by a common large-group identity, there would be a kind of integration of the op­posing sides and even an assimilation of the Cypriot Turks by Cypriot Greeks. According to this perception, the Republic of Cyprus, which is recognized by all other countries except Turkey, would be able to house everyone in Cyprus in a peaceful fashion. The Cypriot Turkish population, especially the younger generation who now can connect themselves electronically with the rest of the world more than their ancestors could ever imagine doing, are hungry for a legally recognized large-group identity and are readier than the Cypriot Greek community to be influenced by this seemingly international wish and propaganda.
 
The Cypriot Greeks are eager to “accept” such a solution when everybody being a “Cypriot” would mean that they, the Cypriot Greeks, would be in power, rule the whole island, and put the Cypriot Turks once more in another invisible enclave called a “minority status.” Anyone can observe this perception in the unchangeable political stance of the present Cypriot Greek leaders. For the Cypriot Greeks, being “Cypriot” would be equal to being “Greek,” or they would not be at all ready to put their Greek identity behind a “Cypriot” identity.13 From a psychological point of view, to attempt a common identity for Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks is to chase an illusion. After all, both Greeks and Turks have their own, long-idealized histories, and to create one new “nation” by fusing them is as unrealistic as it would be to create a new nation by linking or merging Arabs and Israelis.
 
For some time now, especially after the failure of the Annan Plan, Americans and other foreigners who are assigned the task of finding a solution for the “Cy­prus problem” have become more and more aware that the “logical solution” of creating “Cypriotism” described above is only an illusion. The present focus seems to be on a more realistic strategy to find a way for Cypriot Greeks and Cypriot Turks to hold on to their national identities while living side by side. Neverthe­less, the influence of the long-lasting illusionary strategy to get rid of the “Cyprus problem” through an emphasis on “Cypriotism” has had an impact on the Cy­priot Turks who were hungry for a legal identity that would not be humiliating. It helped to create identity confusion among the Cypriot Turks, especially the younger generation, which Cypriot Greeks were spared.
 
 
Identity Confusion:
After experiencing an initial increased “we-ness,” and exaggerated nationalistic feelings and excitement over “being free” during the years following 1974, large-group identity splits began to appear clearly in TRNC. There are “Turks” who see themselves as the natural extension of their brothers and sisters in mainland Turkey. There are Turks who defensively feel more Westernized and superior to the Turks who settled on the island from mainland Turkey after 1974. And there are those who emphasize being Cypriots over being Turks. There are simply “Cy­priots” who feel closer to Cypriot Greeks than to mainland Turks, in spite of being rejected by the Cypriot Greeks again and again. A few of them are seen wearing silver crosses around their necks, even though they have no education in or in­terest in being Christian. There are those wanting salvation through being “citizens of the European Union.” (Accord­ing to reliable sources, 80,000 Cypriot Turks have obtained EU passports after going to the Greek side and applying for them.)
 
There are those who remain grateful to the Turkish Military that saved their grandparents and parents from a horrible fate. And there are those who see the Turkish military as an unwanted dominant power in Northern Cyprus. Un­fortunately too, at the present time religion is being used by the ruling political party in Turkey as a tool for political gains in Turkey, creating, in my mind, a dangerous “religious” versus “secular” debate. This direction seems to be a delib­erate attempt to weaken the established modern Turkish identity that came about after the Atatürk revolution of the 1920s. Cypriot Turks are likely the most secular Moslems in the world, but if the struggle on the mainland is brought to Northern Cyprus, the identity confusion there will be monumental. I believe that soon there may be “secular” Cypriot Turks versus “religious” ones.
 
Large-group identity issues among the Cypriot Turks have began to exhibit themselves in some universities in Northern Cyprus, creating serious concerns among university authorities. For example, it has been observed that Cypriot Turkish university students have begun to segregate themselves from their fellow university students from mainland Turkey. If a young man or woman from a Cy­priot Turkish group starts dating someone from among the students from Turkey, or vice versa, the couple becomes socially isolated. Cypriot Turkish university stu­dents refer to students from Turkey as “extreme religious” or “extreme nationalist” individuals and attempt to differentiate their large-group identity from that of mainland Turks. This situation, according to some university authorities whom I interviewed, could conceivably lead to violence.
 
 
The Influence of Massive Trauma:
The external international players wishing to find an illusionary solution for the “Cyprus problem” have found a psychological internal atmosphere among the Cypriot Turks that initiate large-group identity problems for them. As I men­tioned above, this atmosphere was created because of the Cypriot Turks’ massive trauma at the hands of Cypriot Greeks. But before focusing more on the identity confusion in TRNC, let us have a closer look at what I mean by a massive social trauma and examine its consequences.
 
Shared catastrophes are of various types. Some are natural, such as tropical storms, tsunamis or raging fires. Even though they cause societal grief and anxi­ety, when nature shows its fury, victims of massive destruction tend to ultimately accept the event as Fate or the will of God.14 Some societal catastrophes are due to accidental man-made disasters, like the one that occurred in 1986, in Chernobyl. Sometimes, the assassination of a political leader causes a shared trauma, as hap­pened after the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King in the USA and of Yitzak Rabin in Israel. My focus here is on massive traumas due to de­liberate actions by an enemy group, as occur in wars or war-like conditions.
 
When such trauma is not recognized and not dealt with openly, its influence may include the development of splits within the descendants of the victims.
 
When a massive trauma results from war or war-like conditions, there is an identifiable enemy or oppressive large group that has deliberately inflicted pain, suffering and helplessness on its victims. Such a trauma affects the victimized so­ciety in ways that are different from the effects of natural or accidental disasters or the unexpected loss of a leader. In such situations large-group identity issues automatically become inflamed.15 Enemies hurt, kill people and destroy their en­vironments because the affected large-group has a different large-group identity.
 
When one large group traumatizes another group, many traumatized indi­viduals may suffer for years to come. We have names for such individuals’ suffer­ings, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) Large groups are made up of people. Thus, shared responses to massive trauma reflect aspects of individual re­sponses. But once large-group responses begin to appear, they take on lives of their own and exhibit themselves in societal, cultural or political processes.16 Imagine a large group as thousands or millions of people living under a huge tent. The tent’s canvas is their large-group identity.
 
 
When there is wear and tear on this canvas, everyone under the tent (except some minority dissenters) becomes involved in the reparation and maintenance of the canvas. If the helplessness continues, they experience the following:
 
1- Shared sense of shame, humiliation and victimization.
 
2- Shared sense of guilt for surviving while others perished.
 
3- Shared (defensive) identification with the oppressor.
 
4- Shared difficulty or even inability to mourn losses.
 
 
When such experiences continue and the people cannot find adaptive solu­tions for them, they become involved in a fifth shared experience:
 
5- Shared transgenerational trans­mission of trauma.
 
 
 
The transgenerational transmission of shared massive trauma and its influ­ence on the mental health and societal issues of future generations has recently been studied extensively, especially with reference to the second and third gen­erations of Holocaust survivors and others directly traumatized under the Third Reich.
 
It is beyond the scope of this presentation to delve deeply into how this transgenerational transmission occurs. Briefly, tasks for finding solutions for the unacceptable influences of the first four shared experiences listed above are un­consciously given to the next generation(s). Within the context of the existing historical, societal, legal, and economic conditions, the next generations uncon­sciously attempt to carry out these tasks. Their attempts manifest themselves in various societal and political processes, or at least are linked to such processes. If the historical conditions are not suitable for the offspring to bring these tasks to conclusion, by reversing humiliation and completing mourning, such tasks are passed to future generations. They may also undergo a change of function. For example, unsuccessful attempts to reverse ancestors’ humiliation may become an idealization of and preoccupation with victimhood. Identification with the op­pressor may evolve into aggressive acts turned inward. Maurice Apprey19  illus­trates how the massive trauma experienced by the ancestors of African-Americans plays a major role in black-on-black crimes in the United States. Some observable characteristics that are associated with large-group identity issues are linked to the unfinished tasks associated with the ancestors’ massive trauma at the hand of “others.”
 
 
Cypriot Turks’ Massive Trauma and Its Influence on Their Present Identity Confusion!
 
 
Cypriot Turks who lived in enclaves for eleven years shared an intensive sense of humiliation, shame, victimization, survival guilt and difficulty of mourning. They experienced an inability to be assertive, identified with the oppressor, could not mourn their losses and were involved in transgenerational transmissions. After 1974, they continued to live in an invisible enclave.
 
The new generations’ at­tempt to resolve the harmful influences of previous generations’ massive trauma has not always been an adaptive one. This factor plays a role in the present identity confusion described above. The attempt to erase the parents’ and grandparents’ history in the enclaves is connected with denial that they are offspring of humili­ated, shamed and victimized parents, as well as a general denial of their losses. Data I collected in my interviews confirms this perception. Some young persons I interviewed who preferred a “Cypriot identity” and a psychological closeness with the Cypriot Greeks told stories reflecting their refusal to identity with de­graded parental figures. Some others whose grandparents played a significant role in raising them and who repeatedly told them heroic tales of the Cypriot Turks during the struggle, were holding on to an opposite large-group identity feeling; they were more nationalistic. I heard how the grandparents defensively instilled in them an exaggerated “Turkishness” which reflected a denial of humiliation, shame and victimization.
 
Large-group identity confusion among Cypriot Turks in some cases reflects identification with the aggressor and turning aggression inward. In other words, Cypriot Turkish society treats itself the same way “the enemy” did. This process tears apart the cohesion within the society and splits the shared sense of “we-ness” among the people under the same metaphorical big tent. The divisions within Cypriot Turkish society go beyond expected typical investments usually found in competing political parties. At the present time in TRNC, members of competing political parties are perceived as if they belong to different large-group identities. While speaking with some persons in authority in Northern Cyprus during the fall of 2007, I realized that these individuals with political authority are aware of these rather malignant divisions in Northern Cyprus and wish to do some­thing about them. The large-group identity confusion among the Cypriot Turks, furthermore, is related to another psychological phenomenon which can be de­scribed as “enclave mentality.”
 
 
The present focus seems to be on a more realistic strategy to find a way for Cypriot Greeks
and Cypriot Turks to hold on to their national identities while living side by side.
 
 
 
Enclave Mentality and Its Modification:
While experiencing life within the actual enclaves, people felt close to one an­other; they were “brothers and sisters” facing the same unbearable fate. But this togetherness had certain peculiarities. In a group with an enclave mentality no one can improve his or her status without envy and contempt. To have a “shining star” in an enclave disturbs the large-group identity associated with masochism, humiliation and helpless rage. When an enclave mentality continues to be pres­ent after the traumatic environment no longer exists, as is the case in TRNC, the community still cannot have a jewel in the middle of the mud. The society directly or indirectly, and often without being aware of the process, attempts to sink the shining person (or organization) into the shared humiliated and shamed mess in order not to disturb the shared enclave mentality. I have observed this not only in the Cypriot Turks’ real and later invisible enclaves, but also in other locations in the world where refugees or internally displaced people are located.
 
During the 1974, war some Cypriot Turks found many valuable items (called ganimets in Turkish) left by Cypriot Greeks escaping to the south. People wondered who had ganimets, and, in a sense, who became jewels in the mud. Later Cypriot Turks who had escaped from the south and Turks who were associated with the mainland Turkish forces in­volved in the 1974 events and granted permission to settle in North Cyprus were “given” properties, houses and fields left behind by the fleeing Cypriot Greeks. The reality of ganimets and the property distributions disturbed the enclave mentality, modified it and infused it with envy and selfishness. Some people became “rich” while others remained “poor.” Stories were circulated about how one man ben­efited greatly after the war, while his brother remained poor. Feelings of injustice and envy created splits within the Cypriot Turkish community and these splits in turn became connected with identity confusion.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Last Words:
There is no question that, since 1974, there have been societal processes in Northern Cyprus that can be seen as successful movements. By all indications TRNC, a state not recognized by the world, except Turkey, is a place where demo­cratic principles are held strongly during political elections and where sharing secular ideas is typical. During recent years the TRNC’s economy has improved. What is needed however is to find ways to erase the influence that enclave men­tality in its original or modified versions still has on the society. The recent inter­national inclination to move away from the illusory concept of “Cypriotism” and approach the resolution of the “Cyprus problem” by bringing together two parties as equals without disturbing their large-group identities is a source of hope.
 
During the fall of 2008, three Cypriot Greeks competed for the presidency of the Greek side, known internationally as the Republic of Cyprus. The incumbent president, Tassos Papadopulos, was ousted during the first round of elections in November. This was a big surprise. The new political leader of Greek Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, is perceived to be “pro-solution.”
 
On February 19, 2008, Cyprus Mail, the prominent daily newspaper which is published on the Greek side in English, printed an important news item. The newspaper had learned that the United Nations had been making plans to ex­tricate itself from the Cyprus quagmire had Papadopoulos been re-elected. This would have meant international acceptance of a permanent partition of the island. Now there appears to be “new hope” for further negotiations. What I know about the psychology of both sides discourages me from being excited about the pos­sibility of finding an international solution. I also fear the resurgence of the old“Cypriotism” concept. Unfortunately, I believe that Cypriot Turks will continue to live in an invisible enclave for some time to come. Looking at the past should not inflame an affected society to become revengeful, but it should provide a realistic foundation for a psychologically informed and workable strategy for co-existence as neighbors.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
REFERENCES:
 
 
1- E.H. Erikson, (1956.) The Problem of Ego Identity. In  Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Associa­tion, No.4, pp.56-121.
 
2- V.D.Volkan, (1979.) CyprusWar and Adaptation: A Psychoanalytic Hiostory of Two Ethnic Groups in Conflict. University Press of Virginia.
 
3- A.C. Gazioğlu, (2007.) Kıbrıs’ta Soykırım Yılı 1964 ve Enosisin Ayak Sesleri (Genocide Year in Cyprus 1964 and the Footsteps of Enosis.) CYPREX, Lefkoşa, TRNC.
 
4- K. Atakol, (1982.) Turkish and Greek Cypriots: Is Separation Permanent? Ankara: METU Press.
 
5- P. Oberling, (1982.) The Road to Bellapais: The Turkish Cypriot Exodus to Northern Cyprus. New York: Columbia University Press.
 
6- V.D. Volkan, (1988.) The Need to Have Enemies and Allies: From Clinical Practice to International Relationships. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
 
7- V.D. Volkan, (1997.) Bloodlines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
 
8- V.D. Volkan, (2004.) Blind Trust: Large Groups and Their Leaders in Times of Crises and Terror. Pitchstone Publishing.
 
9- V.D. Volkan, (2006.) Killing in the Name of Identity: A Study of Bloody Conflicts. Pitchstone Publishing.
 
10- P. Loewenberg, (1995.) Fantasy and Reality in History. New York: Oxford University Press.
 
11- K. Atakol, (1982.) Turkish and Greek Cypriots: Is Separation Permanent?
 
12- V.D. Volkan, Ast G., and W.F. Greer, (2001.) Third, Reich in the Unconscious: Transgenerational Transmission and Its Consequences. NY: Brunner-Routledge.
 
13- I. Brenner, (2004.) Psychic Trauma: Dy­namics, Symptoms and Treatment. New York: Jason Aronson.  
 
14- İ. Ortaylı, (2007.) Keynote speech: On the History of Cyprus. The Sixth International Congress on Cyprus Studies, Eastern Mediterranean University,
Gazi Mağusa, TRNC.
 
15- A. Khan, (2002.) Cypriotism: Disrupted In History, Forgotten In Politics. (Ed.) Ü.V. Osam. Proceed­ings of the Fourth International Congress on Cyprus Studies,
Eastern Mediter­ranean University Publications, p.45. Gazi Mağusa, TRNC.
 
16- A. Khan, (2002.) Cypriotism: Disrupted in History, Forgotten. In Politics, p.40.
 
17- C. Mavratsas, (1997.) The Ideological Context Between Greek-Cypriot Nationalism and Cypriotism 1974-1995: Politics, Social Memory and Identity.
Ethnic and Racial Studies, No.20, pp.715-725.
 
18- R. Lifton, and E. Olson, (1976.) The Human Meaning of a Total Disaster: The Buffalo Greek Experi­ence. Psychiatry, No.39, pp.1-18.
 
19- V.D. Volkan, (2006.) Keynote speech: The Next Chapter, Cape Town University Honoring Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s
75th Birthday and His life and Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Activities. South Africa: Cape Town. 
 
20- J. Kestenberg, and I. Brenner, (1996.) The Last Witness. American Psychiatric Press.
 
21- V.D. Volkan,  Ast G., and Greer, ......... Third Reich in the Uncon­scious: Transgenerational Transmission and Its Consequences.
 
22- M. Apprey, (1993.) The African-American Experience: Forced Immigration and Transgenerational Trauma. Mind and Human Interaction, 4, pp.70-75.
 
23- M. Apprey, (1998.) Reinventing the Self in the Face of Received Transgenerational Hatred in the African American Community. Mind and Human Interaction, 9, pp.30-37.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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