Officiousness in north Cyprus

Officiousness in north Cyprus

Sheer officiousness… There might be a far better and definitely more accurate way of putting it, but the ethics of the profession don’t allow me. Thus I can only say “officiousness” about what happened at Lefke European University in northern Cyprus. The university administration canceled the planned presentation of a symposium paper citing state of emergency decrees issued by the government.
Which government? Is there emergency rule in northern Cyprus? Has the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus become part of Turkey or a subservient colony? Was northern Cyprus a state under a Turkish mandate? Or, was a decision making northern Cyprus a province of Turkey declared but somehow I missed it?

Was there not a separate government, parliament and legal system in northern Cyprus? How could a government degree adopted in Ankara be a source of administrative censorship at a university in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a state recognized by no other state but Turkey?

The paper to be presented at the “Neo-Liberal Transformation: Dimensions and Results” symposium to be held between Nov. 7-8 at Lefke European University by Dr. Uğur Kara was titled “From the perspective of social rights a comparative study of the neo-liberal transformation of the state.” The academic board overseeing the seminar accepted the paper, notifying Dr. Kara of their acceptance in written form. A brochure containing abstracts of the papers to be presented was to be published, but Dr. Kara was notified that the abstract of his article would not be published because the university administration rejected his article, taking into consideration state of emergency decrees issued by the government in Ankara.

Indeed, a letter sent to Dr. Kara clearly stated that while his article was accepted earlier, it was now being rejected in a reassessment done because of the state of emergency in Ankara…

Alone, this development might appear trivial. For some, it might be nothing further than a reaffirmation of the fact that Turkish Cypriots have been living in a delusional world and believe they have a state but in reality, they are nothing but a subservient administrative district of Ankara. It was sad to read such a decision adopted by a Turkish Cypriot university.

The Turkish Cypriot left shuns all together the idea of northern Cyprus becoming part of Turkey. For the left, a federal resolution with the Greek Cypriots that would keep Turkey at least at arm’s length would be the best resolution to be achieved on the island. Turkish-Cypriot conservatives, on the other hand, are divided on the issue. A small segment of the center-right political spectrum might wish to become part of Turkey, but the vast majority of Turkish Cypriot nationalists – or perhaps I should say patriots – do not want to be part of either the Greek Cypriot state or Turkey and dream of walking alone as an independent state. What is viable or not is something else, of course.

Irrespective of whether who they are leftist, centrist, conservative or whatever, there are feelings of respect and gratitude for Turkey for the 1974 intervention that saved Turkish Cypriots from total annihilation by Greek Cypriots. Like the current Turkish Cypriot president, Mustafa Akıncı, many people, including this writer, might have given up calling Turkey as the “motherland” and demand that “relations of two sisters, one smaller the other bigger” be developed between Turkey and northern Cyprus.

Rather than a motherland, a major regional power or a very opinionated, authoritarian elder brother dictating what to do and how to do it, many Turkish Cypriots want to see a relationship based on mutual respect and recognition of the existence of a separate democracy in northern Cyprus.

Indeed, the Turkish Cypriot struggle for existence cannot be limited to the Greek Cypriots with whom they share a common homeland. With Turkey’s help, Turkish Cypriots can always manage to resist Greek Cypriots and safeguard their distinctive linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious culture. When it comes to the threat of assimilation from Turkey, however, Turkish Cypriots can only be a small lentil to melt and vanish in the bigger pot of Turkishness when their homeland turns into yet another Mersin, Tarsus or Bodrum…

It is therefore important to see such dangerous and officious – to say the least – efforts of some to undermine all the pain, suffering and compromise the Turkish Cypriot people have endured for the sake of preserving their identity and to lead a respectable life in their homeland.