FROM MECLIS-I MILLI TO ULUSAL KONGRE: EFFORTS OF CYPRIOT TURKS TO POLITICALLY ORGANIZE THROUGH CONGRESSES

Abstract

Author(s): Sibel AKGN

The years of 1918 and 1931 were among the turning points in the political history of Cypriot Turkish community. Cypriot Turkish political elite organized congresses in these years to make important decisions against the British Colonial Administration in the areas of religion (Office of Mufti), education (High School), and Law (Religious Courts), and to demand the implementation of them from the political administration. The congress was highly significant from the way it was assembled to the methods through which the participants were selected, and from the way in which decisions were made to its consequences.

The paper will address the importance of the Meclis-i Milli (National Assembly) of 1918 and of the Ulusal Kongre (National Congress) of 1931 in the political history of Cypriot Turks, as well as their objectives and qualities. The foundations on which Cypriot Turks built their future as well as their presence and rights in the island through these congresses will be addressed comparatively with several summits and congresses assembled in Anatolia and Western Thrace, which Cypriot Turks took as guiding examples. Therefore, the study will employ a comparative method and the case study technique. Interpretations will be provided through descriptive and analytical historical method. The paper will limit its scope to the period between 1914 and 1931, and focus on the places of these two congresses in the political history of Turkish Cypriots. The paper will conclude that the Turkish community in Cyprus aimed to establish its existence and rights as well as its future in the island using the congress method.

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