Self-Determination, Violence, Modernity: The Case of the Turkish Cypriots

Polat N.

in: The European Union and the Cyprus Conflict: Modern Conflict, Postmodern Union, Thomas Diez, Editor, Manchester University Press , Manchester, pp.98-116, 2002

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • City: Manchester
  • Page Numbers: pp.98-116
  • Editors: Thomas Diez, Editor


The bulk of the recent interpretations of the principle of national self-determination appear to question the 'violence' in the homogenous concept of 'nationhood' which underlies the principle. Accordingly, self-determination redefined as power sharing in multi-ethnic societies, rather than outright secessionism, may be more appropriate for the exegencies of the contemporary nationhood no longer understood in purely ethnic or homogenous terms. Discussing self-determination and violence with reference to the specific case of the Turkish Cypriot claim to self-determination, embodied in the 1983 declaration of the runaway entity the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, this article remains somewhat unconvinced by the recent attempts to domesticate self-determination. The article argues instead that violence which characterizes self-determination is violence inherent in modernity, marked by a fundamental distinction between the self and the other, a dichotomy at once constitutive of modern states system.