First Advisor

Birol A. Yeşilada

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science


Statesmen -- Northern Cyprus, Cyprus -- Politics and government -- 20th century, Rauf R. Denktaş -- Political and social views, Northern Cyprus -- Politics and government -- Decision making


Rauf R. Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot president and leader of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, has made many decisions not to negotiate with his Greek Cypriot counterpart for peace and reunification on the island of Cyprus. Traditional rational choice theories do not explain his willingness to sacrifice political power for his policy goals in risky choices. Prospect theory, a cognitive behavioral theory of decisionmaking, may help to explain why Denktash makes those risky choices by showing that decisionmakers who feel themselves to be in the domain of losses will make risky choices to gain their reference point, the location at which they feel themselves to switch from the realm of losses to that of gains.

Denktash’s negotiating style reveals that he feels himself to be in the realm of losses, meaning that under the precepts of prospect theory, he is empirically likely to make risky decisions. The historical overview of Denktash’s negotiations with the Greek Cypriots shows that Denktash continually makes decisions likely to reduce the very power by which he tries to achieve his policy goals.


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