On the Turkish settlers in Cyprus: Helge Jensehaugen, ‘”Filling the void”: Turkish settlement in Northern Cyprus, 1974–1980’, Settler Colonial Studies, 2016


Abstract: Following Turkey’s intervention in and invasion of Cyprus in July and August 1974, the island was split into two. In the north, a Turkish Cypriot political entity was established that was only recognized by Turkey. Turkey played a crucial role in the settlement process of between 30 and 45 thousand settlers from Turkey in Northern Cyprus during the first wave of settlement, from 1974 to 1980. The settlers were largely needed to create and consolidate a viable Turkish Cypriot state. In order to successfully carry out this settlement process, which was characterized by a rapid installation of a large group of settlers, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities had to prepare land and housing for the arriving settlers. This was made possible by the large void left behind by the Greek Cypriots that fled and were transferred to South-Cyprus following the 1974 War. The settlement process was thus carried out through an organized, state-controlled demographic engineering, in which housing, land and resources were promised and given to arriving settlers. A lack of settler agency was a distinguishable characteristic of the settlers from Turkey, and ideological conviction played little, or no, role. Due to the historic conflict between Turkish and Greek Cypriots, the first settlers from Turkey were largely viewed as saviours crucial to the political and economic independence of the Turkish Cypriots from the Greek Cypriots. Good settler-native relations were thus largely a characteristic of this first wave of settlement.

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