The Jasmine Scent of Nicosia: Of Returns, Revolutions, and the Longing for Forbidden Pasts

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Hatay, Mete; & Bryant, Rebecca (2008) The Jasmine Scent of Nicosia: Of Returns, Revolutions, and the Longing for Forbidden Pasts, Journal of Modern Greek Studies26(2): 423–449.

In the past decade in Cyprus, the jasmine flower has become the symbol of Nicosia, the island’s divided capital, and subsequently of a revolution within the Turkish-Cypriot community. As symbol of Nicosia, the jasmine flower evoked a purer time when the city had not yet been “tainted” by an influx of poor workers from Turkey into areas of the walled city that had been abandoned by Turkish-Cypriots. As such, the flower also came to stand for Turkey’s purported colonization of the island and Turkish-Cypriots’ rebellion against it. And because the jasmine came to represent a city that had once been multicultural and a call for a re-valuing of the local, it was easy enough for the Jasmine Revolution to be translated into a semblance of bicommunalism. But as we show here, rather than a multicultural nostalgia, the nostalgia expressed by the symbol of the jasmine is for a period when Turkish-Cypriots lived in enclaves, a period of deprivation but also of solidarity.

Authors

Mete Hatay

Mete Hatay

Senior Research Consultant