Contesting the border or/by ignoring it? Resisting by new urban pratices in South Nicosia (Cyprus)

Authors: Marion Sabrie*, University of Rouen Normandy
Topics: Political Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Cyprus, divided city, border, resistance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Bacchus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Despite the pre-existence of a wall to the invasion of northern Cyprus by the Turkish army in 1974, the human casualties and the dispossession of properties, the Green line does not appear for the Greek Cypriots as an inexorable border. They contest it, for example by refusing to "show their passports in their own countries". However, the materialization of the border formalizes the separation of two communities and, the supposed "sovereignty" of the two States (of which the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus only recognized by Turkey) is constantly recalled by the wall, by the UN presence or by the countless flags. Visual and verbal violence has marked the territory of the capital city and is still present.The Greek Cypriots were forcibly displaced to the south during the invasion and then voluntarily stayed out of the scarred city center, before returning there gradually, in the last decade. This city center is slowly experiencing a social reconquest by younger generations who go to bars and by locals and tourists who shop. The border, reopened since 2003, is crossed by Turkish Cypriot workers and shoppers and by some Greek Cypriots who return in the footsteps of their past. Since 2016, the border area has become a space for sharing between the civil societies of both communities. In my presentation based on 3 years of fieldwork and interviews with the Cypriot people, I will analyze how the Greek Cypriots, while continuing to contest the border, seem to ignore it by new urban practices.

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