Mersinlik Fire Viewed as a Metaphor For Society

North Cyprus News - Kantara Fire

Sunday, 26 June, 2022

Following the fire which raged for four days in Mersinlik, spreading towards Tatlisu and burning around 11,000 acres of land, Clinical Psychologist Çağay Dürü* has written the following opinion piece for Yeniduzen. He writes the following:

A society that bases its existence on “victimisation” is doomed to destroy itself and its environment. Victimisation will turn into “happiness” after a while, because the aggrieved person/society will feel resentful in order to eliminate this victimisation and will deem all kinds of aggression against itself”.

North Cyprus News - Clinical Psychologist Çağay Dürü, - Turkish Psychological Association
[Clinical Psychologist Çağay Dürü]
Turkish Cypriot Identity

Dürü argues that since forming their own society, the Turkish Cypriot identity has been defined from a position of defence against external attacks, including that of rampant Greek Cypriot nationalism.

This has led to the idealisation of a “homeland”, an entity created to protect them. This has caused the Turkish Cypriots to be forced into a passive role as a society, Dürü says. “The nature of the relationship established with the motherland, which is expected to be protective, and the inadequacies in the socio-economic field are the reasons why the individual/society blatantly burns its forests”, he states. 

Dürü goes on to say that “as a victimised society we got revenge by fighting (!) in 1974, but we didn’t do it with our own strength and in a restorative way, and the lands we captured became a reminder, a part of the trauma by identifying with the war; These lands did not become a homeland, could not. War is traumatic even for the winners! The individual/society behaves in a way that punishes himself, as the aggression of the victor leads to unconscious guilt. The nature of the situation brought about by the traumatic experience causes the repetition of self-punishment. We’ll see if this repeated self-punishment reaches the level of total destruction of society. The trend points to this”.

Duru asks if it’s possible to reverse this trend. It is possible he says, albeit difficult. Some societies have achieved this. 

First of all, it is necessary to start with the understanding that the evil/aggression/persecution that is sincerely attributed to others is a part of us as well, and a sincere reckoning/confrontation is required. Unless this confrontation is made and the story of historical reality is not spoken, the traumatic experience will repeat itself as fires, economic crises and individual/social depression”.


*Çağay Dürü (PhD) is a Clinical Psychologist who gained his doctorate by writing a thesis on PTSD and is a member of the Turkish Psychological Association.

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