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Turkish Cypriots
Kıbrıs Türkleri
Rauf Denktash.jpgMehmet Ali Talat.jpg
ShaikhNazim1.jpgMehmed Kamil Pasha.jpg

Rauf DenktaşMehmet Ali Talat
Nazim Al-QubrusiKıbrıslı Mehmed Kamil Pasha

Total population
c. over 200,000
Regions with significant populations
 Northern Cyprus 179.000 [1][2]
 United Kingdom 50,000 [3][4]
 Turkey 30,000 a
 Australia 25,000 [5][6]
 Germany 10,000
 Canada 5,000
 United States 5,000 [7]
 Cyprus 2,500
Languages

Turkish and Cypriot Turkish

Religion

Predominantly Islam

Footnotes
a Including those of ancestral descent

Turkish Cypriots (Turkish: Kıbrıs Türkleri or Kıbrıslı Türkler Greek: Τουρκοκύπριοι) are the ethnically Turkish inhabitants of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The term is sometimes used to refer explicitly to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots, as opposed to the Turkish migrants who have settled there since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. A large number of Turkish Cypriots reside in Northern Cyprus, which occupies the northern one-third of the island. However the single largest Turkish Cypriot community can now be found in its United Kingdom diaspora.

Contents

History

With the Ottoman conquest in 1570, the ethnic and cultural composition of Cyprus changed drastically. Although the island had been ruled by Venetians, its population was of Greek origin. Turkish rule brought an influx of settlers speaking a different language and entertaining other cultural traditions and beliefs. In accordance with the decree of Sultan Selim II, some 5,720 households left Turkey from the Karaman, Içel, Konya, Alanya, Antalya, and Aydın regions of Anatolia and migrated to Cyprus. The Turkish migrants were largely farmers, but some earned their livelihoods as shoemakers, tailors, weavers, cooks, masons, tanners, jewellers, miners, and workers in other trades. In addition, some 12,000 soldiers, 4,000 cavalrymen, and 20,000 former soldiers and their families stayed in Cyprus.

According to Ottoman historian Professor Ronald Jennings, up to one third of Muslims in Cyprus listed in court records in the early sixteenth century were converts to the religion from Christianity. Jennings as well as other historians notes that a majority of Muslim later to become Turkish Cypriot villages were formerly either the estates of Latins or Maronites, suggesting that conversion to Islam was from Catholicism and not Greek Orthodoxy in the initial period of Ottoman rule. This persecution caused a considerable number of Christians, including a good number of Maronites, to adopt Islam as a survival mechanism (Cirilli 1898: 11, 21; Palmieri 1905: col. 2468) [8 ]. Conversions took place in Tellyria, Kambyli, Ayia Marina Skillouras, Platani and Kornokepos" (Jennings 1993: 367). The Maronites who adopted Islam were centered in Louroujina in the District of Nicosia and were called Linobambaci -- a composite Greek word that means men of linen and cotton (Palmieri 1905: col. 2468). However, these Maronites who had converted in despair did not fully denounce their Christian faith. They kept some beliefs and rituals, hoping to denounce their 'conversion' when the Ottomans left. For example, they baptized and confirmed their children according to Christian tradition, but administered circumcision in conformity with Islamic practices. They also gave their children two names, one Christian and one Muslim (Hackett 1901: 535; Palmieri 1905: cols. 2464, 2468)[8 ].

Travelling pilgrim Rev. Jerome Dandini noted during his visit to the island that these converts formed a Muslim-Christian sect of Crypto-Christians, the derogatory local name of which is "linobamvaki," meaning "Cotton-Linen Sect," owing to the uncertainty of whether these people were Christians or Muslims. In terms of language, the community, which it is claimed formed one third of Muslim Cypriots in the 19th century, [8 ] spoke Greek in preference to Turkish, which was the lingua franca on the island as indeed in Anatolia and the Pontus for all Eastern Christians.

The Ottoman Empire allowed its non-Muslim ethnic communities (or millets) a degree of autonomy if they paid their taxes and were obedient subjects. The millet system permitted Greek Cypriots to remain in their villages and maintain their traditional institutions. The Turkish immigrants often lived by themselves in new settlements, but many lived in the same villages as Greek Cypriots. For the next four centuries, the two communities lived side by side throughout the island. Despite this physical proximity, each ethnic community had its own culture and there was little intermingling. Both communities, for example, considered interethnic marriage taboo, although it did sometimes occur.A study of DNA analysis established that Turkish Cypriots had more in common genetically with Greek Cypriots than ethnic Turks from the Republic of Turkey.Many prominent Turkish Cypriots have recent ancestors of Greek ethnicity.

Until the island came under British administration in 1878, there were only rough estimates of Cyprus's population and its ethnic breakdown. In more recent times, population figures became highly controversial after it was agreed that the government established in 1960 was to be staffed at a 70-to-30 ratio of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, although the latter made up only 18 percent of the island's population. For this reason, the population figures were a vital issue in the island's government, likely to affect any far-reaching political settlements in the 1990s. With the 21st century the demographic structure of Cyprus, both in North and in the South, is changing fast, with Turkish settlers from Turkey moving to the North and Russians and Pontic Greeks settling in the South.

About 40,000 to 60,000 Turks lived on Cyprus in the late sixteenth century, according to Ottoman migration figures. In the eighteenth century, the British consul in Syria believed that the Turkish population on the island outnumbered the Greek population by a ratio of two to one. According to his estimates, the Greek Cypriots numbered 20,000 and the Turkish population around 60,000. Most historians do not accept his estimate, however. If there was a Turkish majority, it did not last. By the time of the first British census of the island in 1881, Greek Cypriots numbered 140,000 and Turkish Cypriots 42,638. One reason suggested for the small number of Turkish Cypriots was that many of them sold their property and migrated to mainland Turkey when the island was placed under British administration.

During the Ottoman rule, black African slaves (usually transferred over Egypt) were brought to Cyprus and sold to Muslim families. Many of their descendants rose to prominent positions and assimilated into the Turkish Cypriot community, creating a sizeable multiracial population today.[9]

There was a significant Turkish Cypriot exodus from the island between 1950 and 1974 when thousands left the island, mainly for Britain and Australia. The migration had two phases. The first lasted from 1950 to 1960, when Turkish Cypriots benefited from liberal British immigration policies as the island gained its independence, and many Turkish Cypriots settled in London, escaping the civil unrest on the island.

The northern part areas are administered by Turkish Cypriots.

In the few years leading to 1974 the number of Turkish Cypriots on the island remained mainly constant. According to another "agricultural" census the number of Turkish Cypriots in 1974 was officially put as 118,000 in Cyprus. At that time the Turkish Cypriots living in England numbered about 12,000-15,000. The rate of population growth in Cyprus has historically been 1.5%-2.0% per year. On July 15, 1974, EOKA-B took power in Cyprus with a military coup backed by the Greek junta; Turkey used this as a pretext for intervention to secure the welfare of the Turkish Cypriot population and subsequently occupied the north of the island. In this process, there have been expulsions of populations from both Greek and Turkish sides. According to Turkish Cypriot newspapers, over one third of Turkish Cypriots emigrated from the occupied area between 1974-1995 because of economic and social deprivation, mainly a result of the ongoing international embargo on the TRNC. Contrary to this, some Turkish settlers from Anatolia moved to the island in recent years, whose number reached around 115,000 (2001 figures). Figures published in 2007 by the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security raise this number to 146,122[10]. Almost 1/3 of the Turkish settlers in northern Cyprus have been given "Turkish Cypriot" citizenship[11]. This is in violation of the Geneva Conventions Protocol of 1977, since the Turkish occupation has been declared illegal by the UN. As a result of Turkish Cypriots leaving the island and naturalization of mainland Turks, the Turkish Cypriots who remain in northern Cyprus are today outnumbered by the Turkish settlers and security forces[12].

Famous Turkish Cypriots

Not in chronological order

Bibliographical orientation

  • Baybars, Taner, Plucked in a far-off land, London: Victor Gollancz, 1970.
  • Beckingham, C. F., The Cypriot Turks, Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, vol. 43, pp. 126-30, 1956.
  • Beckingham, C. F., The Turks of Cyprus, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. vol 87(II), pp. 165-74. July-Dec. 1957.
  • Beckingham, C. F., Islam and Turkish nationalism in Cyprus, Die Welt des Islam, NS, Vol 5, 65-83, 1957.
  • Committee on Turkish Affairs, An investigation into matters concerning and affecting the Turkish community in Cyprus: Interim report, Nicosia: Government Printing Office, 1949.
  • Dandini, Jerome. Voyage du Mont Liban / traduit de l'Italien du R. P. Jerome Dandini ... Ou il est traité tant de la créance ... des Maronites, que des plusieurs particularitez touchant les Turcs ... avec des remarques sur la theologie des chrétiens & ... des mahometans. Par R. S. P.
  • Jennings, Ronald C. , Christians and Muslims in Ottoman Cyprus and the Mediterranean World, 1571-1640, New York University Studies in Near Eastern Civilization-Number XVIII, New York University Press, New York and London, 1993-Acknowledgments ix-xi + 428 pp.
  • Oakley, Robin, The Turkish peoples of Cyprus, in Margaret Bainbridge, ed, The Turkic peoples of the world. (pp. 85-117), New York: Kegan Paul, 1993

See also

References

External links

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