my Cyprus, my Κύπρος, my Kıbrıs

6 things Greek and Turkish Cypriots don’t know about each other

Dear friends,

For many of us who already have contact with ‘the other’, whether the other is Greek or Turkish Cypriot, the below won’t provide anything of value. However, over the years I’ve realised that there are still many Greek Cypriots who don’t know that Turkish Cypriots speak a dialect, and a whole host of other things. And please feel free to suggest more to add to the list!

  1. Both communities speak the Cypriot dialect; Greek Cypriots speak a dialect of Greek while Turkish Cypriots a dialect of Turkish. In fact, there are over 3,000 common words shared by both dialects. Many Cypriots of both communities have no idea that many of the everyday words they use are common (especially the swear words!).
  2. Many Greek Cypriots believe that contact with the other side and any type of cooperation means legitimizing the breakaway state. This is part of the official narrative of the Republic of Cyprus. Whether this is true or not, Turkish Cypriots sometimes do not realise that this lies at the core of some people’s reasoning for not crossing.
  3. Most Turkish Cypriots are not particularly religious (a Turkish Cypriot friend once said to me ‘how do I know what the hodja is saying, he could be swearing at us’).
  4. Turkish Cypriots DO stand up to Turkey and on many occasions have poured onto the streets in protest. I have heard Greek Cypriots say a number of times that their compatriots never denounce Turkey or do anything to rise against it.
  5. Golifa are shared! The only difference here being the occasion on which they are consumed. Greek Cypriots make them for memorial services and Turkish Cypriots for New Year’s celebrations.
  6. Some Turkish Cypriots (those of older generations) speak Greek as their native tongue.

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