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It is Time For The Reunification Of Cyprus

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The Cyprus dispute is a noteworthy problem that must be resolved in 2017.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north side of the island. To this day, the northern third of Cyprus is occupied by the Turkish military and is under the administration of the self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, which is recognized as a sovereign state solely by Turkey.

The rest of the island is internationally recognized as a country called the Republic of Cyprus (inhabited by Greek Cypriots). Between the two, a buffer zone is maintained by the United Nations to avoid any further tensions.

The Cyprus dispute is of particular importance, as its international complications stretch far beyond the boundaries of the island of Cyprus itself, and involve the guarantor powers under the Zurich and London agreement (Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom), the UN and the EU. The dispute is also the main source of conflict between Greece and Turkey, bringing the two countries close to war in the past. The Cypriot issue is also a critical point for Turkey’s attempt to join the EU.

A reunification would provide a rare good news story for a Europe that has grown accustomed to bad news, with events like terrorist attacks, political tensions, and the refugee crisis.

Despite the considerable obstacles, the reunification is closest than ever.

Lately, there have been extensive discussions for a reunification, aiming at the creation of a federation of two states, one Greek-speaking, and the other Turkish-speaking. However, there are major obstacles that the two negotiating sides have to face.

  • Security is the first: currently, there are 30,000 Turkish troops in the north, which are undesired by Greek Cypriots. Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, has recently stated that he is not willing to remove his forces unless all of the Greek soldiers abandon the island as well.
  • Another issue is whether Greek Cypriots forced to leave the northern part of the island should be allowed to return to their old homes, and vice versa with Turkish Cypriots. This problem could be addressed through a combination of land swaps and financial compensation.

If the two sides agree on the terms, then two separate referendums will be held, one for the Greek Cypriots and the other for the Turkish Cypriots. The same thing had happened in 2004; however back then, the terms were unfavorable for Greek-Cypriots, leading them to vote against the reunification. This should not be repeated this time. The two sides must be a bit more lenient with their demands and negotiate until fair terms are decided upon, and the issues that might hinder the reunification are resolved. This is the moment for Cyprus to leave aside its past and unite as a single country.

 

5 Comments

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  • Mr Manos
    Before you go farward in history you have to look in to past history your past history in Cyprus stings so why should we trust you ,the Island was given to you in 1960 but you were not happy with that you wanted to kill all Turkish Cypriots and for 11 years TC lived in tents caves it,s wonder they survived can I remind you that 103 TC villages became Greek over night.
    Now you are crying the Turkish army is occupying Cyprus they have every right to be there you’d should thank them since they have come to Cyprus there has been peace and Turkish Army will never leave,

    • Before anything else, I would like to say that as a Greek-Cypriot, I do acknowledge that our side have made several mistakes over the course of history (just wanted that to be clear!).

      However, the Turkish Army did not come to Cyprus for the purpose of bringing peace but because it wanted to control Cyprus due to its strategic position on the map – backed by the support of the US who desperately needed a NATO alley in Cyprus.

      If Turkey had come to end the conflict as you argue, it would not have stayed for 44 years, it would not have declared a puppet state in the north, it would not sabotage the reunification talks now as it does. Turkish officials have said that if this negotiations do not prosper, they will consider annexing the northern part of Cyprus (as sovereign state, member of the EU) to Turkey. You are ILLEGALLY occupying Cyprus – the whole of the international community including the UN and EU recognizes that.

      Turkey has deliberately sent over the years Turks from mainland Turkey to inhabit the island in an attempt to change the demographics of Cyprus in their favour (although the vast majority of Cypriots are Greek – approx 72%). Turkish atrocities against Greek Cypriots (some thousand of whom are still missing and even more murdered – from old men to new born babies) have been declared as violations of human rights.

      Turkey does not want Turkish Cypriots to decide for themselves – it is known well around the world anyway that the prime minister is neither a fun-girl nor a cheerleader of the concept of democracy and free-will. On the other side, Greece has resented any claim from the island and is considering Cyprus to be an independent, sovereign state.

      Also, bear in mind that the first civilization that ever lived in this beautiful island, were indeed Greeks. And we have endured Romans, Egyptians, Assyrians, Ottomans, British imperialist….and we will outlast Turkey as well.

      There is no place and no legal stance for Turkey in Cyprus: it is an island belonging to Greek and Turkish CYPRIOTS and whoever else truly loves, cares and wants this island to prosper. We will create a federation of people who cooperate and look forward to a brighter future *united* despite the obstacles that Turkey will keep throwing at us!

    • Thank you for your comment Mr. Ibrahim. I couldn’t answer better than “nchr” below. Yes, Greece has made several mistakes, however Turkish definitely did not come to the island peacefully. This is why I never argued that Cyprus should become Greek. Cyprus belongs to Cypriots, both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots and my opinion is that they can co-exist united and peacefully without the presence of the Turkish military.

  • Anyone interested at the roots of the problem could do well o read Royal Navy Commander Martin Packard’s book “Getting it wrong: excerpts from a Cyprus diary”, to read the comment of US Undersecretary of State George Ball to the author, then leader of the tripartite patrols to bring peace to Cyprus after the mutiny of Rauf Denktash, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, as the UN General Assembly was to certify in March 1964, when it recognized the government of President Makarios as the legal government of The Republic of Cyprus: “our aim here is to divide them, not to unite them”….
    Or for that matter the letter to Millet by the first ambassador of Turkey to the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Emin Dirvana (15 May, 1964).
    http://www.cyprus-forum.com/cyprus36762.html
    Mr. Denktash never answered the substance of this letter to his dying day.

  • I’m with you 110%! The Turkish aggression of 1974 should be completely undone, and then the sovereign nation of Cyprus should decide exactly what to do with the Turkish residents. Even the most radical Islamic states don’t recognize the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

About the author

Manos Makrygiannakis

Manos Makrygiannakis

Manos is an alumni of Yale Young Global Scholars and is currently studying Economics at UCL.

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