Which demographic groups in Cyprus are more resistant to positive relations with the other community?

Fri, 28 Nov 2014 by team score

One of the main findings of SCORE Cyprus 2014 is that there are particular demographic groups that are highly resistant to the idea of reconciliation and political compromise. They tend to be people on the right of the political spectrum in both communities and, within the Greek Cypriot community, women and the young.

Knowing which sectors of the population are least supportive of reconcilation and least prepared for a political compromise is important; equally important is to understand the reasons for their resistance. The political intransigence of right-wingers in the Turkish Cypriot community is long-standing and it is engrained within the ideological narrative of the right. In the case of the Greek Cypriot community the situation is slightly different. It seems that the reason that Greek Cypriot right-wingers (as well as women and youth) are less positive about a political compromise is related to their perception of Turkish Cypriots. They perceive them as being fundamentally different or that they are culturally distant from them, a perspective that inhibits them from envisaging a common future with Turkish Cypriots.   

What can we do?

The aforementioned groups should be approached and their needs and concerns need to be well understood before action taken. Since intransigence is caused by rigidity and dogmatism, the presentation and discussion of ideological and political alternatives could be a first step towards encouraging people to think outside the ideological narrative. This is particularly relevant for the Turkish Cypriot right. However, in terms of intransigent elements within the Greek Cypriot community, efforts should mainly be channeled towards addressing their cultural distance from Turkish Cypriots, as this appears to be the main factor preventing them from imagining a common future with the Turkish Cypriot community. 

How can we do it?

  • By taking steps to get youth and women particulalry in the Greek Cypriot community to explore and discuss cultural diversity in Cyprus and to understand how their perception of Turkish Cypriots as being so culturally dissimilar to them is affecting their willingness to reconcilie with Turkish Cypriots and to unite with them under one common political system. More concrete steps towards this direction are: 1) the establishment of island-wide youth assemblies to discuss and develop common visions for the future of Cyprus, 2) fostering active citizenship for women and youth and demanding their involvement in the peace process.

  • By encouraging engagement between Turkish Cypriot and Greek-Cypriot right-wing parties for them to discover their commonalities and discuss their differences.

  • By encouraging local authorities to organise and support bi-communal and multicultural event.