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Vamık D. Volkan, M.D., DLFAPA, FACPsa.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dr. Vamık D. Volkan and His Olive Trees...
 
 
 
 
 
Özler Aykan
 
 
 
 
I interviewed Dr. Vamık Volkan under the olive trees in his yard at his home in Northern Cyprus.
As we spoke, I sensed the appropriateness of this setting under these trees, traditional symbols of peace,
because Dr. Volkan and his work represent peace...
 
Vamık D. Volkan was born into a parallel world of two ethnic groups, Turks and Greeks, living side-by-side in Nicosia, Cyprus.
He grew up there, leaving as a young man in 1950 to pursue his education in Turkey.
At this time, inspired by the volcano-like appearance of Beşparmak Mountains in Northern Cyprus,
he adopted the surname “Volkan” (“Volcano”),
since in those days the Cypriot Turks did not have surnames and he needed one to live in Turkey.
 
 He had been surrounded by teachers as he grew up...
His father, mother, sisters, and brothers-in-law were elementary or high school teachers, and his uncle was a medical school teacher.
Therefore, it was no surprise when he too decided to follow suit and pursue the academic life by entering medical school.
Following graduation from the Medical School of the University of Ankara in 1956,
he decided to go to the United States, and arrived there in February of 1957,
with his violin under his arm, a Mozart repertoire in his mind and only USD 15 in his pocket...
He had studied violin as a teenager and while attending medical school in Ankara, he played in an orchestra composed of amateur musicians.
 
During the next few years, a time when it was very hard for Turks to survive in Cyprus,
he focused on his residency training in psychiatry at the North Carolina Memorial Hospital, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Influenced by a psychoanalyst mentor, Vamık D. Volkan read
countless psychoanalysis books, day and night, until he became like a walking library...
He now realizes that this was also a mental defense he adopted to repress and deny
his worries about his family’s wellbeing back on the island where ethnic violence had erupted.
 
The Greeks eventually relaxed the hard conditions on Cyprus, and in 1968,
as soon as he obtained his American citizenship enabling him to reside in USA, Volkan managed to go back to Cyprus.
This was his first visit to his native land since he had left the island some ten years earlier. 
 
Nowadays, he simply enjoys the ability to travel freely to his home country whenever he wishes.
He spends several months each summer at his home near Kyrenia and likes to relax under his nearly hundred-year-old olive trees... 
 
As an academician and master of psychopolitics, Vamık D. Volkan remains devoted to world peace and continues
to read, write and teach others about what he has learned.
Traveling all around the world working for peace has become something of a lifestyle for him.
Yet, he looks forward to returning each year to his summer house in Cyprus
or renewal and inspiration under his beloved olive trees...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Özler Aykan:
Vamık D. Volkan:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Özler Aykan, in front of Vamık D. Volkan's house in Cyprus.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Copyright © Vamık D. Volkan and Özler Aykan 2007.
 
All rights reserved. 
 
 
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Editor: Özler AYKAN
Last modified on: May 28, 2012