Monday, May 29, 2006

Cyprus fieldwork: Turkish Cypriot isolation

Cyprus fieldwork notes extracts

Before contemplating Turkish Cypriot isolation, at 1.30pm on the 11th of February 2006, I asked myself,
if the Cyprus Museum is the Museum of Cyprus, why doesn't it have any information or interpretation of the exhibits in Turkish? It should have displays in the two primary local languages - Greek and Turkish - and then in an international language (as it does, in English)... It was nice to see a question mark on a permanent artefact label ('ritual(?)')...

At 11.40pm, I wondered,
ever since it began to occur on an industrial scale, there have been attempts to hamper or halt the looting of Cypriot cultural heritage (Jacques Dalibard, 1976; Mehmet Yasin, 1982; Michael Jensen, 1986; see also (in) John Fielding, 1976; Mehmet Yasin, 1982). It continues apace and will continue as it is as long as locals' economic deprivation and cultural miseducation continue.

Tightening controls on the antiquities trade and educating the (international) public about Cypriot cultural heritage is essential, but even if it does obstruct or discourage some amateur collectors, it will not stop many of the amateur collectors or most of the professional dealers and collectors.

Indeed, by increasing the materials' fame, those who seek to protect Cypriot cultural heritage may actually increase its market value and increase professional looting and trade.

(Whether, then, there would be an overall benefit would depend on a(n impossible) calculation of the disappearance and destruction of cultural property and its context in more liberal, less valuable antiquities markets and in less liberal, more valuable ones.)

The Republic of Cyprus needs to treat Turkish Cypriots as Cypriots with regard to its and their cultural heritage and there need to be bilateral and/or multilateral efforts to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
Rather naively, I then pondered,
Couldn't the UN get
  • Turkey to implement customs union with the island of Cyprus and
  • the Republic of Cyprus, if not to lift economic sanctions, then to help get aid to the Turkish Cypriots, (who are, if they are the Republic of Cyprus and not the Greek Republic of Southern Cyprus) their citizens?
Economic restrictions on the antiquities trade have been, if poorly, applied and education of the buying public conducted, but destruction of Cypriot cultural heritage continues.

Hence, the (re)interpretation of Cypriot cultural heritage and (re)education of Cypriots are key (and may increase the application of Cypriot antiquities trade restrictions [as they increase government and public support for those restrictions and pressure upon those who hinder or evade their application]).

No comments:

Post a Comment