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Media Watch 2005

30 January 2005
Source: Cyprus Mail Letters
Author:
Comment: The following letter appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 30 January 2005.
Mixing religion into nationalism
"We are proud Greeks of Cyprus, with 2000 years of history behind us, older than many Western Nations... the vast majority of today’s ‘Turkish’ Cypriots are in fact descendants of Greek Cypriot Muslims who were forced to convert to Islam... That is why they live in Muslim villages named after Christian Saints... Every time I see ‘Turkish’ Cypriots I see the result of 500 years of Ottoman tyranny and the rape of our Greek culture. Like a Greek child taken from her mother and reared as a Turk, they now call themselves Turkish."

Sir,

We must refrain from mixing religion into nationalism. This is our biggest error as Greeks. We are proud Greeks of Cyprus, with 2000 years of history behind us, older than many Western Nations, but at the same time it is possible for us to be non-Christian too.

Arguably, one of the gravest mistakes our nationalist leaders made was to deliberately distance ourselves from Muslim Greek Cypriots, forcing them to embrace Turkicization, forcing them to join the Turks.

The sad truth is that the vast majority of today’s ‘Turkish’ Cypriots are in fact descendants of Greek Cypriot Muslims who were forced to convert to Islam or who did so voluntarily under Ottoman rule. That is why they live in Muslim villages named after Christian Saints, why many of them look like us and speak brilliant Cypriot Greek, and also why they speak Turkish like a Greek person would speak it.

Every time I see ‘Turkish’ Cypriots I see the result of 500 years of Ottoman tyranny and the rape of our Greek culture. Like a Greek child taken from her mother and reared as a Turk, they now call themselves Turkish.

We can reverse this by opening our hearts and homes to them, winning them back from the expansionist claws of Turkey through peaceful means."