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13 June, 2024
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University seminar explores identity dynamics in occupied Cyprus

Migrants' struggles in divided Cyprus


In an upcoming seminar scheduled for May 23, 2024, at Göteborgs University, Athanasia Hadjigeorgiou from the University of Central Lancaster Cyprus and Bart Klem from Göteborgs University will shed light on the topic "International students, forced migrants, and legal liminality in the de facto state of Northern Cyprus." The seminar, organized by the Human Rights seminar series in collaboration with the Centre on Global Migration (CGM), will take place from 10:00 to 12:00 at C417, School of Global Studies.

During the presentation, Hadjigeorgiou will leverage her legal expertise to navigate the complex landscape of Cyprus. Despite its geographical isolation and exclusion from the Schengen area, Cyprus remains a magnet for irregular migrants and asylum seekers. She posits that the unrecognized status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) plays a pivotal role, acting as a deceptive 'gateway to Europe'. Many mistakenly believe they've reached Europe upon arrival in TRNC, only to confront the reality of the island's division and the absence of EU law. Consequently, they endeavor to cross the demilitarized buffer zone into the Republic of Cyprus irregularly, exacerbating the legal ambiguity and vulnerability faced by migrants as they traverse the de facto and de jure realms of Cyprus.

On the other hand, Klem will introduce a forthcoming article, potentially targeting PoLAR, based on extensive fieldwork conducted in the TRNC. This paper delves into the intricate dynamics surrounding legal identity documents within the TRNC, weaving together the narratives of migrants and non-migrants within a single analytical framework. It probes into how diverse legal identities shape the life trajectories of individuals, encompassing Turkish Cypriots of Cypriot descent, those with mixed Turkish heritage, Turkmen labor migrants, and asylum seekers from Kurdish and other backgrounds. Depending on one's legal identity, Northern Cyprus can be perceived as a modern European crossroads, a liberal extension of Turkey, a sanctuary, or even an open-air confinement.

This seminar promises to offer valuable insights into the legal challenges faced by international students and forced migrants in Northern Cyprus, providing a platform for discussion and analysis of these complex issues.

[With information sourced from Göteborgs University]


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