Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2017

Document Type

Capstone project: USD users only

Degree Name

MA Leadership Studies


Leadership Studies


The island of Cyprus has been split in two for more than four decades. In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern third of the country, which it still controls today. Prior to the occupation, the two main ethnic communities, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, coexisted in peace, often living side by side for generations under various occupations, most notably the Ottoman Turkish and British periods. The conflict displaced about 160,000 Greek Cypriots from the north and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots from the south, most of whom had to flee their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Fueled by nationalism rather than religious tensions, these events permanently shaped Cyprus, and the country remains divided to this day.

Existing research on the conflict focuses on intercommunal violence, rebellion against occupying powers, and intervention by foreign powers but does not explore the motivations behind the conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. This research explores the Cyprus problem through theories of ethnic nationalism, identity formation, and leadership styles of community members.

All external proposals to bring peace to Cyprus have failed. Foreign powers, particularly the United Nations and the guarantor powers of Greece, Turkey, and Great Britain, have continually attempted to exert their influence on Cyprus for their own ends. Any solution must come from the people of Cyprus.

This significance of this research is that it may enhance awareness of the Cyprus problem as a whole and provide a different angle in which to study the conflict with hope for a potential solution.