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A culture in crisis

By Funda Gumush

A recent poll in the north revealed that Turkish Cypriots believe that the much-debated Turkish Youth and Sports Coordination Office could threaten Turkish Cypriot identity and culture.

The aim of the survey was to measure why people participate in demonstrations and this part of the project focused on Cyprus, especially the protests carried out by the ‘We reject this’ platform ‘Reddediyoruz’. Turkish Cypriot social psychologist, Huseyin Cakal, who coordinated the project, said they were looking at the protests in Brazil against former president Dilma Rousseff and those against autonomy in Kashmir as examples as well. Around 343 people in the north were interviewed for the survey and the aim was to determine the effects of the protests carried out against the much-debated Turkish Youth and Sports Coordination Office.

Coordination of Sports, Youth and Culture proposal entails that three sectors (Youth, Sports, Culture) which are now under other departments, would come under the control of an Office which would be run by Turkey and controlled financially as well as programmatically. The proposal was based on a bilateral agreement between Turkey and the coalition.

When asked how do you identify yourself, 301 people (67%) responded that they saw themselves ‘completely Cypriot’; 38.5% said they saw themselves as Turkish Cypriots. Cakal said that the overlap rate of both worked out to .76 which he added showed that there was no difference between the two identities. With the issue of the coordination office, 52.5% said they saw themselves as a member of a political formation which defended all Cypriots interests.

Some 39.1% replied that they saw themselves as belonging to a political group that protected Turkish Cypriot interests. Looking at the results again, Cakal said although it wasn’t as high as the identities section, there was again correlation between the two identities. The interesting note here is that the Cypriots interests registered higher than Turkish Cypriots interests.Around 68% believed that the authorities were not open and clear with regards to the Coordination Office. And 72.3% believed the Coordination Office posed a threat against Turkish Cypriot culture and their political interests.

The poll conducted is part of a joint project being carried out by the UK’s Exeter and Sheffield Universities, the University ABC Sao Paolo, Universidad del Desarrollio-Concepcion of Chile, the Shree Guru Gobind University in India and the Kashmir Medical School.

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