Varosha, the derelict coastal city Famagusta in Cyprus stayed unpeopled under the Turkish military captivity after the enforced displacement of 40,000 Greek Cypriot inhabitants during the 1974 war. Seen as the political bargaining chip for the peace negotiations, the city has been fenced off to its people except for the recent openings to public visits since October 2020.
This 3-year ethnographic doctoral study (2018-2021) on Varosha narratives had two research questions to explore: how the Varoshians narrate their place attachment in the context of conflict and how these narrations function as a means of communication. I conducted interviews with 45 displaced Varoshians; 35 with pre-1974 memory, 15 with post-1974 ‘post memory’.
Through the thematic analysis of the verbatim transcriptions of these interviews and field notes taken during numerous participant observations, I discovered a narrative typology of the Varoshian’s place attachment: narrative of loss, the narrative of threshold, the narrative of transformation, and narrative of future. The function of these place attachment narratives revealed as mnemonic resistance to oblivion and to oppression.