THE CYPRIOT MULE CORPS IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR

Abstract

Author(s): Nur ET?NER

Cypriot muleteers served in the British army in the Macedonian front during the First World War. Both Cypriot men and island mules were used in the war. Mules were used in the war due to their carrying ability under harsh geographical conditions. The British government utilized the existing economic problems in Cyprus to attract Cypriot support. For some Cypriots joining the war serving in the army was the only way to provide for the livelihood of their family. In fact, Turkish Cypriots participated in the Great War against the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, there were differences in terms of religious creed between Greek Cypriots and the British: the Greek Cypriots were Orthodox while the British people were Protestant. Hence, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots had some troubles about joining the Great War. Despite these differences, Greek and Turkish Cypriots set aside their national and religious feelings and were united in the same army to serve Great Britain. Another important aspect of the Cypriot Mule Corps lies in the fact that the Turkish Cypriots joined the British army not only against their former Sultan but also against their compatriots who migrated to Anatolia and were subsequently recruited to the Ottoman army. Overall, this article aims to illustrate this complex situation of the Cypriot Mule Corps from the standpoint of Cypriots and to show that people can ignore their national and religious identities when they have to.

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