Cypriot Muslims among Ottomans, Turks and two world wars

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This article focuses on the secular Turkish identity that was being shaped during the interwar period. It examines the cleavages within the Muslim community of Cyprus and explores the formation of the Turkish Cypriot national identity. The main argument of this paper is that the rift in the Muslim community during the interwar period was a reflection of the conflict between the reformist and traditional trends that was taking place at the same time in the Republic of Turkey. During the interwar period, 1919-1939, the Muslim community of Cyprus was divided between the secularist and the traditional Muslims. As in Turkish society in the 1920s, the Turkish Cypriot community was dominated by the so-called traditional Muslims. Only the Muslim elite minority favored Kemal Atatürk’s secular views. The British colonial rule cooperated more with traditional elites. At the same time secularist Muslims were cooperating with Greek Cypriots in economic issues. The 1930s was the crucial decade in the development of a Turkish Cypriot secular identity. This internal conflict of the Muslim community was terminated after World War II, with the victory of the secularists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalBogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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