“So you identify more with Greek Cypriots?” This was the hardest question posed to me once, in an interview, which was part of a series of interviews conducted in Potamia.
Needless to say I was pretty stumped and had to think fast as I was being recorded.
I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was just the beginning of trying to answer that question for myself time and time again.
Who do I identify with more? A community that I’ve lived with all my life speaking their language, knowing and experiencing their customs or a community, the vast majority of which I’ve never met and whose language I still don’t speak well enough?
Undoubtedly language has to play a huge part in this. Much to my annoyance someone very close to me once asked me ‘How can you be Turkish Cypriot if you don’t speak the language’? I think what he was trying to get at was how can I claim this title/ethnicity if I don’t speak the language. But even before the language became a part of my life again, as it is now, I never stopped being a Turkish Cypriot emotionally. Or at least I never stopped being a Turkish Cypriot of Potamia.
I think maybe in the end it doesn’t come down to who do I identify with more, because in reality a Cypriot is a Cypriot it’s simply a matter of dialect, but who do I feel more comfortable with. To be brutally honest (and I guess this blog is also very much about being truthful to myself and trying to encourage other Cypriots to do the same) it also comes down to who do I feel accepts me more?