Country Listing

Cyprus Table of Contents



Turkish Cypriot society, in the decades after World War II, experienced a series of trials almost cataclysmic in scope and intensity. Earlier, the Turkish Cypriot minority had lived quietly and securely under British rule. During the war, many Cypriots left the island for the first time to fight in His Majesty's forces. The burgeoning of Greek Cypriot nationalism in the 1950s at first only aroused misgivings in Turkish Cypriots, but within a few years it drew them into what they saw as a struggle for their survival as an independent community. In the 1960s, Turkish Cypriots often feared for their physical survival, and fled into fortified enclaves around the island. The Turkish intervention of 1974 led to the de facto partition of Cyprus, with Turkish Cypriots controlling 37 percent of its territory.

The partition disrupted many lives, and more than half of the Turkish Cypriots had to abandon their homes and find new places of residence. Once in possession of their own territory, they set about constructing a new state and creating a functioning economy. Old habits and ways of life had to be discarded, for now all aspects of society became the responsibility of the Turkish Cypriots themselves. Education expanded, a new professional class emerged, a growing economy created new kinds of occupations, women left their homes to work, life in formerly isolated villages life was altered by the pull of the urban areas, and the Turkish Cypriot community entered a phase of its existence unimaginable a generation earlier.

Data as of January 1991