This post was most recently updated on November 7th, 2020
The majority of people think that Cyprus is an Arab country.
But in reality, the Republic of Cyprus isn’t considered an Arab country.
Arab identity is the state of perceiving oneself as an Arab and as relating to being Arab.
Like other cultural identities, it relies on a common culture, traditional descendants, the common land in history, shared experiences including underlying conflicts and encounters.
Today in this article, we will discuss on what Arab countries are and why Cyprus isn’t one of them.
What are the Arab Countries?
Countries that have the majority of their population identify themselves as Arab, participate in Arabic culture, and speak the Arabic language are the Arab countries. There are 22 Arab countries in the world and they are also called the countries from Arabsphere or Arab League.
The 22 Arab nations are:
- State of Palestine
- Saudi Arabia
- The Syrian Arab Republic
- United Arab Emirates
How is a country considered an Arab?
First of all, not all Arabic speaking countries are Arab nations. It’s a common misconception among people. If you speak Arabic, then you must be from Arabic countries. It’s totally wrong.
Also, the Arabs are not a distinct ethnic group, since there are both white Arabs and black Arabs.
Why do people think Cyprus might be an Arab country?
There are mainly 2 reasons.
- Cyprus is near other Arabic countries. Look at the map below.
2. According to the Languages of Cyprus- Government controlled areas (2011), around 1.2% of people in Cyprus speak Arabic.
Now, will it be alright to call Cyprus an Arabic country just because it’s near to other Arabic Nations and a minority of the population in Cyprus speaks Arabic?
I don’t think it would be fair to consider Cyprus as an Arabic country just because of that.
Maxim Rodinson (French Marxist historian, sociologist, and orientalist) has described Arabs as:
Those who belong to the Arab ethnic group, the Arab people or the Arab nation, speak a form of Arabic and consider it their “natural” language; regard the history and cultural characteristics of the Arabs as their inheritance; assert an Arab identity or consciousness.
If we look back in history, we don’t see any connection between Cyprus to Arabs.
Also in the present, the majority of people in Cyprus are Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
As you can see, none of these people are Arabs.
Hence, it’s safe to say that the Republic of Cyprus isn’t an Arab country.
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