This research explores how memory and national identity have been articulated in the context of competing discourses after the presentation of the Annan Plan in Northern Cyprus. Focussing on key mechanisms of memory such as history textbooks,
commemorations (national days, museums, monuments), traditions (flags, national
anthem and myths) and the media (especially newspapers) the thesis explores the
mobilization, articulation and construction of memory/ies in relation to national identity. It is argued that the Annan Plan constitutes a turning point in Cypriot politics as it proposes a possible participation of Northern Cyprus in the European Union after a solution of the Cyprus problem. Furthermore, the Cyprus problem is understood as the outcome of the clash between two antagonistic nationalisms which has caused the
division of the island since 1974. Thus, the Annan Plan is the most serious step on the way to the reunification of the island since then and, as such, it has functioned as a catalyst and precipitated an intense competition between alternative, often opposing, discourses on Turkish Cypriot national identity.
The primary goal of this study is to open up the field of knowledge about the
reconciliation of physically and/ or mentally divided communities through a critical analysis of the ‘mechanisms of memory’, of how they construct and articulate the ‘past’, in the present, for the future. The theoretical framework of the research draws upon approaches from a variety of fields such as social psychology, sociology, history, politics and media studies, while the empirical investigation consists of in depth interviews. The analysis of the respondents’ narratives is informed by textual analysis and in particular ‘Critical Discourse Analysis’ (i.e Wodak, Fairclough). Furthermore, the discourse theories of Foucault, Laclau and Mouffe are adopted in the examination of memories and their articulation, construction and transformation.