The Impacts of Transmitted Memories of Conflict in Post-conflict Societies and Dynamics of Reconciliation: The Case of Cyprus

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Pinar Kadioglu, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, UK


    The inter-communal negotiations towards the settlement of the Cyprus Issue have been failing for nearly five decades despite the international efforts. The lack of agreement on power-sharing on a bi-communal governmental structure, as well as the economical concerns of the communities in a reunified structure has long been highlighted as the main obstacles to the process. Yet the impact of collective anxiety due to transgenerational transmission of trauma is rarely emphasized. The proposed paper while examining the out-group perceptions of Turkish Cypriots towards Greek Cypriots, tries to give up-to-date information about the impact of transgenerational transmission of traumatic memories on the reconciliation process in Cyprus. The discussion is based on the outcomes of the fifty one (51) in-depth interviews concluded personally by the author with Turkish Cypriot respondents, in Kyrenia, Famagusta and Nicosia in July 2009 and later in July 2012. The semi-structured interviews of the research reflect on the personal narratives of the respondents, especially on their perceptions on commonalities and differences of the groups and current level of inter-group trust. The research outcome ascertains that Turkish Cypriots of all generations tend follow the traditional negative out-group perception despite the positive direct-experience positive with the Greek Cypriot community. The transgenerational transmission of selective traumatic memories appears to be a significant determinant of the continuation of negative stereotyping, insensitive to contrary evidence due to increased interaction between the communities. The belief on the possibility of the reunification of Cyprus among the Turkish Cypriot community is significantly declining while the amount of concerns about safety of the people living in the northern part of the island rises. The lack of political trust seems to be fed by the continuing collective anxiety and has had a negative impact on reconciliatory efforts in the island.