(see also Turkish Cypriot diaspora)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
a This figure does not include Turkish settlers from Turkey.
Turkish Cypriots (Turkish: Kıbrıs Türkleri or Kıbrıslı Türkler; Greek: Τουρκοκύπριοι) are ethnic Turks living in or originating from Cyprus. Following the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1571, about 30,000 Turkish settlers were given land once they arrived in Cyprus, Additionally, many of the islanders converted to Islam during the early years of Ottoman rule. Nonetheless, the influx of mainly Muslim settlers to Cyprus continued intermittently until the end of the Ottoman period. The fact that Turkish was the main language spoken by the Muslims of the island is a significant indicator that the majority of them were either Turkish-speaking Anatolians or otherwise from a Turkic background which bequeathed a significant Turkish community, today's Turkish Cypriots.
- 1 History
- 2 Culture
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Diaspora
- 5 Notable Turkish Cypriots
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The basis for the emergence of a sizeable and enduring Turkish community in Cyprus emerged when Ottoman troops landed on the island in mid-May 1570 and conquered it within a year from Venetian rule. The post-conquest established a significant Muslim community which consisted of soldiers from the campaign who remained behind and further settlers who were brought from Anatolia as part of a traditional Ottoman population policy. However, there were also some new converts to Islam on the island during the early years of Ottoman rule. In addition to documented settlement of Anatolian peasants and craftsmen, as well as the arrival of soldiers, decrees were also issued banishing Anatolian tribes, "undesirable" persons and members of various "troublesome" Muslim sects, principally those officially classified as "heretic". This influx of mainly Muslim settlers to Cyprus continued intermittently until the end of the Ottoman period. By the second quarter of the nineteenth century approximately 30,000 Muslims were living in Cyprus, comprising about 35% of the total population. The fact that Turkish was the main language spoken by the Muslims of the island is a significant indicator that the majority of them were either Turkish-speaking Anatolians or otherwise from a Turkic background. Throughout the Ottoman rule, the demographic ratio between Christian "Greeks" and Muslim "Turks" fluctuated constantly. By 1777-1788 the Muslim population constituted the majority on the island, with 47,000 Muslim "Turks" and 37,000 Christian "Greeks". In 1788-1792 Turks were estimated at 60,000 compared to 20,000 Greeks. However, by 1841, Turks made up 27% of the island's population. One of the reason for this decline is because the Turkish community were obliged to serve in the Ottoman army for years, usually away from home, very often losing their lives in the endless wars of the Ottoman Empire. Another reason for the declining population was because of the emigration trend of some 15,000 Turkish Cypriots to Anatolia in 1878, when the Ottoman Turks handed over the administration of the island to Britain.
By 1878, during the Congress of Berlin, under the terms of the Anglo-Ottoman Cyprus Convention, the Ottoman Turks had agreed to assign Cyprus to Britain to occupy and rule, though not to possess as sovereign territory. According to the first British census of Cyprus, in 1881, 95% of the island's Muslims spoke Turkish as their mother tongue. As of the 1920s, the percentage of Greek-speaking Muslims had dropped from 5%, in 1881, to just under 2% of the total Muslim population. During the opening years of the twentieth century Ottomanism became an ever more popular identity held by the Cypriot Muslim intelligentsia, especially in the wake of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. Increasing numbers of Young Turks who had turned against Sultan Abdul Hamid II sought refuge in Cyprus. A rising class of disgruntled intellectuals in the island's main urban centres gradually began to warm to the ideas of positivism, freedom and modernization. Spurred on by the rising calls for "enosis", the union with Greece, emanating from Greek Cypriot nationalists, an initially hesitant "Turkism" was also starting to appear in certain newspaper articles and to be heard in the political debates of the local intelligentsia of Cyprus. In line with the changes introduced in the Ottoman Empire after 1908, the curricula of Cyprus's Muslim schools, such as the "Idadi", were also altered to incorporate more secular teachings with increasingly Turkish nationalist undertones. Many of these graduates in due course ended up as teachers in the growing number of urban and rural schools that had begun to proliferate across the island by the 1920s.
In 1914 the Ottoman Empire joined the First World War against the Allied Forces and Britain annexed the island. Cyprus's Muslim inhabitants were officially asked to choose between adopting either British nationality or retaining their Ottoman subject status; about 4,000–8,500 Muslims decided to leave the island and move to Turkey. Following its defeat in World War I, the Ottoman Empire were faced with the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) whereby the Greek incursion into Anatolia aimed at claiming what Greece believed to be historically Greek territory. For the Ottoman Turks of Cyprus, already fearing the aims of enosis-seeking Greek Cypriots, reports of atrocities committed by the Greeks against the Turkish populations in Anatolia, and the Greek Occupation of Smyrna, produced further fears for their own future. Greek forces were routed in 1922 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who, in 1923, proclaimed the new Republic of Turkey and renounced irredentist claims to former Ottoman territories beyond the Anatolian heartland. Muslims in Cyprus were thus excluded from the nation-building project, though many still heeded Atatürk's call to join in the establishment of the new nation-state, and opted for Turkish citizenship. Between 1881 and 1927 approximately 30,000 Turkish Cypriots emigrated to Turkey.
The 1920s was to prove a critical decade in terms of stricter ethno-religious compartments; hence, Muslim Cypriots who remained on the island gradually embraced the ideology of Turkish nationalism due to the impact of the Kemalist Revolution. At its core were the Kemalist values of secularism, modernization and westernization; reforms such as the introduction of the new Turkish alphabet, adoption of western dress and secularization, were adopted voluntarily by Muslim Turkish Cypriots, who had been prepared for such changes not just by the Tanzimat but also by several decades of British rule. Many of those Cypriots who until then had still identified themselves primarily as Muslims began now to see themselves principally as Turks in Cyprus.
By 1950, a Cypriot Enosis referendum in which 95.7% of Greek Cypriot voters supported a fight aimed at enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece were led by an armed organisation, in 1955, called EOKA by Georgios Grivas which aimed at bringing down British rule and uniting the island of Cyprus with Greece. Turkish Cypriots had always reacted immediately against the objective of enosis; thus, the 1950s saw many Turkish Cypriots who were forced to flee from their homes. In 1958, Turkish Cypriots set up their own armed group called Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT) and by early 1958, the first wave of armed conflict between the two communities began; a few hundred Turkish Cypriots left their villages and quarters in the mixed towns and never returned.
Republic of Cyprus
By 16 August 1960 the island of Cyprus became an independent state, the Republic of Cyprus, with power sharing between the two communities under the 1960 Zurich agreements, with Britain, Greece and Turkey as Guarantor Powers. Archbishop Makarios III was elected as president by the Greek Cypriots and Dr. Fazıl Küçük was elected as vice-president by the Turkish Cypriots. However, in December 1963, in the events known as "Bloody Christmas", when Makarios III attempted to modify the Constitution, Greek Cypriots initiated a military campaign against the Turkish Cypriots and began to attack Turkish inhabited villages; by early 1964, the Turkish Cypriots started to withdraw into armed enclaves where the Greek Cypriots blockaded them, resulting in some 25,000 Turkish Cypriots becoming refugees, or internally "displaced persons". This resulted in the UN peacekeeping force, UNFICYP, being stationed on the island as well as an external migration trend of thousands more Turkish Cypriots to the United Kingdom, Turkey, North America and Australia. With the rise to power of the Greek military junta, a decade later, in 1974, a group of right-wing Greek extremists, EOKA B, who supported the union of Cyprus with Greece staged a coup. Greece, which had taken over the island, provoked a response by Turkey, which on 20 July 1974 interpreted its role as a Constitutional Guarantor Power, in accordance with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, to invade and restore previous constitutional order and to protect the Turkish Cypriots. Greece's junta collapsed and the Turkish invasion effectively resulted in the division of Cyprus. The Turkish intervention resulted in the occupation of some 37% of the island in the north. After the Turkish invasion and the ensuing 1975 Vienna agreements, 60,000 Turkish Cypriots who lived in the south of the island fled to the north. The 1974-1975 movement was strictly organised by the Provisional Turkish Administration who tried to preserve village communities intact.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
In 1983 the Turkish Cypriots declared their own state in the north, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which remains internationally unrecognised, except by Turkey. In 2004, a referendum for the unification of the island, the "Annan Plan", was accepted by 65% of Turkish Cypriots but rejected by 76% of Greek Cypriots.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
Turkish Cypriot representators of PACE elected in the Assembly of Northern Cyprus: (TCs have 2 seats in PACE; the parties of elected members are shown) 2005-2007: CTP Özdil Nami; UBP Huseyin Ozgurgun; 27.01.2011 CTP Mehmet Caglar; UBP Ahmet Eti; 04.12.2013 CTP Mehmet Caglar, UBP Tahsin Ertugruloglu
The Turkish Cypriots are Turkish-speaking, regard themselves as secular Muslims, and take pride in their Ottoman heritage. However, Turkish Cypriots differentiate themselves from mainlanders, especially from the religiously conservative settlers who have come to Cyprus more recently, but their strong connection to Turkey is nonetheless undisputed. Hence, the Turkish Cypriot identity is based on their ethnic Turkish roots and links to mainland Turkey, but also to their Cypriot character with cultural and linguistic similarities with Greek Cypriots. Their culture is heavily based on family ties linked to parents, siblings, and relatives; one's neighbourhood is also considered important as emphasis is given on helping those in need. Thus, much of their lives revolves around social activities, and food is a central feature of gatherings. Turkish Cypriot folk dances, music, and art are also integral parts of their culture.
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The majority of Turkish Cypriots (99%) are Sunni Muslims. However, the secularizing force of Kemalism has also exerted an impact on Turkish Cypriots. Religious practices are considered a matter of individual choice and many do not actively practice their religion. Alcohol is frequently consumed within the community and most Turkish Cypriot women do not cover their heads. Turkish Cypriot males are generally circumcised at a young age in accordance with religious beliefs, although, this practice appears more related to custom and tradition than to powerful religious motivation.
The Turkish language was introduced to Cyprus with the Ottoman conquest in 1571 and became the politically dominant, prestigious language, of the administration. In the post-Ottoman period, Cypriot Turkish was relatively isolated from standard Turkish and had strong influences by the Cypriot Greek dialect. The condition of coexistence with the Greek Cypriots led to a certain bilingualism whereby Turkish Cypriots' knowledge of Greek was important in areas where the two communities lived and worked together. The linguistic situation changed radically, in 1974, when the island was divided into a Greek south and a Turkish north (Northern Cyprus). Today, the Cypriot Turkish dialect is being exposed to increasing standard Turkish through immigration from Turkey, new mass media, and new educational institutions. Nonetheless, a Turkish speaker familiar with the Cypriot Turkish variety of Turkish can still easily identify a member of the community from one who is not. Although many Turkish Cypriots command standard Turkish as well, they generally choose to use their own variety in particular contexts to affirm their identity. Most commonly, these differences are in pronunciation, but they extend to lexicon and grammatical structures as well. There are many words used by Turkish Cypriots that originate in the particular historical circumstances of the island, including English and Greek, and therefore have no precedent in standard Turkish. There are also words used by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities which are authentically Cypriot in origin.
Music and dances
Folk music and dancing is an integral part of social life among Turkish Cypriots. Traditional Turkish Cypriot folk dances can be divided into five categories: Karsilamas, Sirtos, Zeybeks, Ciftetellis/Arabiyes, and Topical Dances (such as Orak, Kozan, Kartal and Topal). The folk dancing groups usually have performances during national festivals, weddings, Turkish nights at hotels and within tourism areas.
According to the 2006 Northern Cyprus Census, there were 145,443 Turkish Cypriots who were born and are living in North Cyprus (TRNC). Of the Cypriot-born population, 120,007 had both parents born in Cyprus; 12,628 had one of their parents born in Cyprus and the other born in another country. Thus, 132,635 Turkish Cypriots had at least one parent born in Cyprus.
|Place of Birth||Turkish Cypriot
|District not Indicated||1,157||601||556|
|South Cyprus||32,538||15,411||17 127|
|District not Indicated||173||72||101|
|Cyprus - North or South region not Indicated||371||178||193|
There was significant Turkish Cypriot emigration from the island during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly to Great Britain, Australia, and Turkey. Emigration from Cyprus has mainly been for economical and political reasons. According to the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2001, 500,000 Turkish Cypriots were living in Turkey; 200,000 in Great Britain; 40,000 in Australia; some 10,000 in North America; and 5,000 in other countries (mainly in Germany).
A more recent estimate, in 2011, by the Home Affairs Committee states that there is now 300,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the United Kingdom whilst Turkish Cypriots themselves claim that the British-Turkish Cypriot community has reached 400,000. Furthermore, recent estimates suggest that there is between 60,000-120,000 Turkish Cypriots living in Australia, 5,000 in the United States, 2,000 in Germany, 1,800 in Canada, 1,600 in New Zealand, and a smaller community in South Africa.
The first wave of Turkish Cypriot immigration to Turkey occurred in 1878 when the Ottoman Empire leased Cyprus to Great Britain; at that time, 15,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to Anatolia. The flow of Turkish Cypriot emigration to Turkey continued in the aftermath of the First World War, and gained its greatest velocity in the mid-1920s, and continued, at fluctuating speeds during the Second World War.
Economic motives played an important part as conditions for the poor in Cyprus during the 1920s were especially harsh. Enthusiasm to emigrate to Turkey was inflated by the euphoria that greeted the birth of the newly established Republic of Turkey and later of promises of assistance to Turks who emigrated. A decision taken by the Turkish Government at the end of 1925, for instance, noted that the Turks of Cyprus had, according to the Treaty of Lausanne, the right to emigrate to the republic, and therefore, families that so emigrated would be given a house and sufficient land. The precise number of those who emigrated to Turkey is a matter that remains unknown.
The press in Turkey reported in mid-1927 that of those who had opted for Turkish nationality, 5,000–6,000 Turkish Cypriots had already settled in Turkey. However, many Turkish Cypriots had already emigrated even before the rights accorded to them under the Treaty of Lausanne had come into force.
St. John-Jones estimated the demographic impact of Turkish Cypriot emigration to Turkey:
"[I]f the Turkish-Cypriot community had, like the Greek-Cypriots, increased by 101 per cent between 1881 and 1931, it would have totalled 91,300 in 1931 – 27,000 more than the number enumerated. Is it possible that so many Turkish-Cypriots emigrated in the fifty-year period? Taken together, the considerations just mentioned suggest that it probably was. From a base of 45,000 in 1881, emigration of anything like 27,000 persons seems huge, but after subtracting the known 5,000 of the 1920s, the balance represents an average annual outflow of some 500 – not enough, probably, to concern the community’s leaders, evoke official comment, or be documented in any way which survives today".
Metin Heper and Bilge Criss have made a similar observation:
The first wave of immigration from Cyprus occurred in 1878 when the Ottomans were obliged to lease the island to Great Britain; at that time, 15,000 people moved to Anatolia. When the 1923 Lausanne Treaty gave the island to Great Britain another 30,000 immigrants came to Turkey.
By August 31, 1955, a statement by Turkey's Minister of State and Acting Foreign Minister, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu, at the London Conference on Cyprus, stated that:
Consequently, today  as well, when we take into account the state of the population in Cyprus, it is not sufficient to say, for instance, that 100,000 Turks live there. One should rather say that 100,000 out of 24,000,000 Turks live there and that 300,000 Turkish Cypriots live in various parts of Turkey.
Turkish Cypriot migration to the United Kingdom began in the early 1920s when the British Empire annexed Cyprus in 1914 and the residents of Cyprus became subjects of the Crown. Some arrived as students and tourists whilst others left the island due to the harsh economic and political life during the British colony of Cyprus. Emigration to the United Kingdom continued to increase when the Great Depression of 1929 brought economic depression to Cyprus, with unemployment and low wages being a significant issue. During the Second World War, the number of Turkish run cafes increased from 20 in 1939 to 200 in 1945 which created a demand for more Turkish Cypriot workers. Throughout the 1950s, Turkish Cypriots emigrated for economic reasons and by 1958 their number was estimated to be 8,500. Their numbers continued to increase each year as rumours about immigration restrictions appeared in much of the Cypriot media.
The 1950s also saw the arrival of many Turkish Cypriots to the United Kingdom due to political reasons; many began to flee as a result of the EOKA terrorists and its aim of "enosis". Once the ethnic cleansing broke out in 1963, and some 25,000 Turkish Cypriots became internally displaced, accounting to about a fifth of their population. The political and economic unrest in Cyprus, after 1964, sharply increased the number of Turkish Cypriot immigrants to the United Kingdom. Many of these early migrants worked in the clothing industry in London, where both men and women could work together; many worked in the textile industry as sewing was a skill which the community had already acquired in Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots were concentrated mainly in the north-east of London and specialised in the heavy-wear sector, such as coats and tailored garments. This sector offered work opportunities where poor knowledge of the English language was not a problem and where self-employment was a possibility.
Once the Turkish Cypriots declared their own state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the division of the island led to an economic embargo against the Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriot controlled Republic of Cyprus. This had the effect of depriving the Turkish Cypriots of foreign investment, aid and export markets; thus, it caused the Turkish Cypriot economy to remain stagnant and undeveloped. Due to these economic and political issues, an estimated 130,000 Turkish Cypriots have emigrated from Northern Cyprus since its establishment to the United Kingdom.
Notable Turkish Cypriots
- Adam Booth - Boxing Trainer and Manager to David Haye
- Alparslan Türkeş - Far Right Nationalist Leader in Turkey
- Alp Mehmet - UK Ambassador to Iceland 2004 - 2008
- Asil Nadir - Former CEO of Polly Peck International PLC
- Ayhan Hikmet - Lawyer and journalist who was assassinated by Turkish Resistance Organisation
- Billy Mehmet - Scottish Premier League footballer
- Colin Kazim-Richards - Galatasaray and Turkish International Football Player
- Derviş Eroğlu - Current President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
- Derviş Ali Kavazoğlu - Member of Progressive AKEL party who was assassinated by Turkish Resistance Organisation
- Erol Alkan - DJ and Producer
- Fatih Terim - Football manager of Galatasaray
- Fatima Whitbread - World Champion Javelin Thrower
- Fazıl Küçük - First Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus
- Fazıl Önder - Journalist and peace fighter who was assassinated by Turkish Resistance Organisation
- Feri Cansel - Actress
- Hal Ozsan - Actor (Dawson's Creek, Kyle XY)
- Haldun Dormen - Actor
- Hussein Chalayan MBE - Fashion Designer
- İsmet Güney - (Artist) Creator of the Republic of Cyprus flag
- Kemal Izzet Colchester United Football Player
- Kıbrıslı Mehmed Emin Pasha - 3-times Ottoman Empire Grand Vizier in the mid-19th century
- Kıbrıslı Mehmed Kamil Pasha - 5-times Ottoman Empire Grand Vizier in the late-19th and early-20th century
- Kutlu Adalı - Author and journalist who was assassinated by Turkish Revenge Brigade
- Leon Osman - Everton Football Player
- Lawrence Rustem - Councillor for British National Party
- Mehmet Ali Talat - Second President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
- Mem Halil - Entrepreneur Oracle Database Services Specialist
- Mehmet Nazım Adil - Naqshbandi Sufi Grand Sheikh and Mufti of Cyprus
- Meliz Redif - 400 Metre Runner
- Mem Ferda - Actor
- Meral Ece OBE - Baroness House of Lords
- Metin Huseyin - Film Director
- Mustafa Hulusi - Artist
- Muzzy Izzet - Former Leicester and Birmingham City Football Player
- Neşe Yaşın - Poet and Author
- Nil Burak - Singer
- Niyazi Berkes - Sociologist
- Okan Ersan - Guitarist, composer and recording artist.
- Osman Türkay- Poet, nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature
- Özker Özgür - Politician
- Rauf Denktaş - First President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
- Ramadan Guney 1932-2006 VOLKAN/ Estb 1st Turkish Mosque/owner of largest Cemetery in Europe TRNC
- Suat Günsel, Businessman and billionaire
- Tamer Hassan - Actor
- Tracey Emin - Artist
- Turgut Durduran - Physics professor
- Vamik Volkan - Psychoanalyst and Author
- Zeki Alasya - Actor
- Ziynet Sali - Singer
- Turkish minorities in the former Ottoman Empire
- Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
- Turkish Cypriot diaspora
- Northern Cypriot passport
- Greek Cypriots
- Cypriot refugees
- List of Cypriots
- Cypriot Turkish
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