Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Festivals for Inclusion? Examining the Politics of Cultural Events in Northern Cyprus

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Abstract:  In Northern Cyprus, cultural festivals are increasingly popular. The routinely celebrated festivals transform small villages into colourful celebrations with lots of activities and great culinary experiences, offering opportunities for social contact between members of different generations. People meet in the streets, where traditional food and handicrafts are on display and traditional folk dance performances usually take place. Cultural events provide an important space in which older generations often nostalgically remember the past with others of their generation and share their memories with the young people. Bi‐communal interactions between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in these public spaces also help leave behind and bury the violence of the past, nationalistic dogma, and intolerance. Drawing on ideas from postcolonial theory, cultural studies, sociology, and scholarship on public art, this article develops a post‐postcolonial approach to explore the politics and value of Turkish Cypriot cultural festivals and the ways in which Turkish Cypriots are bridging differences with Greek Cypriots. Through observations, conversations, and interviews conducted with Turkish Cypriots from June 2014 to October 2017, the article also discusses the ways in which public art encourages dialogue and multicultural tolerance in Cyprus. The article argues that the rise of interest in Turkish Cypriot folk arts and multicultural tolerance, as propagated by Turkish Cypriots, should be understood in more complex terms than simply that of positive inclusion, as an ambivalence closely connected to the East/West division. Accordingly, the article illustrates that the coexistence of inclu‐ sion and exclusion are at the heart of Turkish Cypriot society.

Keywords:  Cypriotness; cultural festivals; identity politics; inclusion; Northern Cyprus; Orientalism; post‐postcolonialism; public art



© Rahme Sadikoglu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.