Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Puzzled about Cyprus

The international community keeps pushing for a reunification of Cyprus. I have never really understood their eagerness. Their last proposal - that was rejected by the Greeks in a referendum - astonished me for its lenience towards the Turks. In my opinion you don't have a country when foreign (Turkish) troops are stationed there forever. The guarantees for the Turks against Greeks buying land also astonished me: the Greek did not get any guarantees against the Turks taking over more and more due to higher population growth and immigration from Turkey. This would become a hot issue when Turkey would become an EU member and as a consequence Turks from Turkey would get the freedom to settle on Cyprus.

In my opinion there is only one solution: partition. This is what the Turks advocate. The Greeks object because they think the Turks have taken more than their share of the island (1/3 of the island for 1/5 of the population). So I expect that a solution can only be reached when the Turks give up some of this territory.

Internationals may protest to such a solution as rewarding or acceptance of ethnic cleansing. And some of both communities who want to return to their old homes will object too. But unlike Bosnia where everyone speaks the same language Cyprus has two very different languages and cultures. I am pessimistic on the possibility to rebuild the delicate trust that was broken several decades ago.

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