The Problem of Pigeons: Orientalism, Xenophobia and a Rhetoric of the 'Local' in North Cyprus

Journal article

Hatay, Mete (2009) The Problem of Pigeons: Orientalism, Xenophobia and a Rhetoric of the 'Local' in North Cyprus, The Cyprus Review 20 (2): 145–171.

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This article discusses the Orientalism at the heart of Turkish Cypriots’ visions of modernity, as well as the more recent effects of this Orientalism on the immigrants from Turkey who now both compose and symbolise old Nicosia within the walls. The article, first, discusses the Kemalism of Turkish-Cypriot modernisation, looking at Kemalism’s roots in a type of Orientalism aimed at the supposedly “backward” self. The initial arrival of Turkish immigrants on the island after 1974 and Turkish-Cypriots’ initial reactions to them are also described. Later the article sketches the recent neoliberal privatisation in the north, its wealth effect, and the growing distinction between Turkish Cypriots and working-class “others” that has become a defining facet of a new Turkish-Cypriot identity. In this process, the article shows how representations of those “others,” especially in relation to the walled city of Nicosia, are inherently Orientalising, and it documents the ways in which this representation affects the lives of those now living within the walls

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