Abstract

In Greek-Cypriot and Istanbul-Greek oral testimonies, two contrasting narratives of Greek-Turkish intercommunal relationships are persistently articulated: one stressing harmonious co-existence, the other violent strife. While the strife narrative bears a stronger resemblance to the emphases of official Greek rhetoric, I reject the notion that we can understand either narrative purely through an opposition between dominant myth and popular reality, and argue that both should be seen as attempts by individuals to understand and represent their experiences. Sometimes as Hellenes, sometimes as Cypriots or Romioí, both groups construct and contest narratives of “hostile Turkish enemies” and “civilized Turkish/Turkish-Cypriot friends.” Greek Cypriots and Istanbul Greeks cope with their traumatic experiences—war and forced migration, respectively—by both connecting themselves to a wider history of Hellenic martyrdom through narratives of strife and distinguishing themselves from the stigma of conflict and intercommunal incompatibility through stories of harmony.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 393-415
Launched on MUSE
2014-11-03
Open Access
No
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