Identity, immigration and citizenship in northern Cyprus

Cirakli, Mustafa and Kasbarian, Sossie (2016) Identity, immigration and citizenship in northern Cyprus. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This study investigates the impact of Turkish ‘settlers’ on conceptions of collective identity in northern Cyprus during the period 1995-2013. It traces the discursive effects of immigration and the citizenship status of populations from Turkey on competing identity narratives in the context of Cyprus’s EU accession by focusing on three distinct empirical domains: political parties, civil society and the print media. Inspired by the conceptual framework of the poststructuralist discourse theory and constructivist readings on nationalism and immigration, the investigation seeks to explain the discursive mechanisms of identity construction and transformation in relation to immigration from Turkey which represents a key element in the narration of identity in northern Cyprus. More specifically, the thesis explores how the presence of populations from Turkey has been framed within the dominant narratives on identity along two antagonistic versions: Turkishness and Cypriotness. Using qualitative methodology based on discourse analysis, the empirical sections trace the continuity and change in these narratives and their framing of the ‘settler issue’ in the course of Cyprus’s EU accession and the ongoing anticipation on part of the Turkish-Cypriot community for eventual membership. The purpose of the investigation is to reveal the logic of securitization within both discourses that compete to attach a meaning onto identity in northern Cyprus. The findings demonstrate that the discursive space of the Turkish-Cypriot community is dominated by these competing, securitised versions of subjectivity and belonging. Traditionally interpreted within the hegemony of Turkishness, the antagonistic reading of immigration and the citizenship status of ‘settlers’ by the subversive Cypriotness discourse also reveals the potential to significantly increase the appeal of alternative visions and projects through securitization. Indeed, the northern Cyprus case testifies that appeal to identity involves much more than a source of self-identification, involving a contestation over autonomy, statehood and purpose. In this sense, the thesis aspires to make a contribution in both empirical and conceptual terms. The investigation of identity politics in relation to Turkish ‘settlers’ provides fascinating empirical findings on Turkish-Cypriot politics and society but also the Turkish-Cypriot perceptions of Turkey which have attracted limited scholarly attention thus far. Placing the investigation within the wider discourse-analytical framework also offers significant insights to complement existing understandings of the political relevance of identity in particularly intriguing migration settings found in unrecognised states but also in other contexts involving similar dynamics such as the presence of a ‘kin’state. The current thesisthus offers a particular aspect of the infamous ‘Cyprus Problem’ but one that points to many ‘bigger’ stories in Europe and beyond.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
?? cyprusidentitysettlersimmigration discoursecitizenshipturkeyturkish cypriotsecuritizationdiscourse theory ??
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24 Aug 2017 09:44
Last Modified:
20 Jul 2024 01:06