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    Cyprus Introduction
    Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies


    Figure 1. Administration Divisions, 1991

    THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS came into being on August 16, 1960. The reluctant republic, as it has often been termed, was seen as a necessary compromise by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the two peoples who would live within it, and the three foreign powers who had been parties to its creation. Greek Cypriots preferred enosis, that is, the union of their island with the Greek motherland, rather than the creation of an independent state. Turkish Cypriots preferred that the island remain under British rule as it had been since 1878. If British governance were not possible, many Turkish Cypriots favored partition, or taksim, of the island and the union of the parts of the island in which they lived with Turkey--their ethnic motherland. Greece, for its part, preferred that enosis be achieved once again and that Cyprus, like a number of other islands, be united with the Hellenic motherland. Turkey's principal desire was that Cyprus not come under Greek control and be yet another island off the Turkish coast from which it could be attacked by its traditional enemy. Britain would have preferred a more measured cessation of its rule of the island, but the armed insurrection during the second half of the 1950s made the creation of an independent Cypriot republic seem a way out of a difficult situation. In addition, Britain's military needs could be met by arranging for bases on the island, rather than keeping the island of Cyprus itself as a base.

    Negotiations between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers in late 1958 and early 1959 resulted in three treaties that met to some degree the desires and needs of Greece, Turkey, and Britain. Representatives of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities signed the treaties, but without enthusiasm. The three treaties--the Treaty of Guarantee, the Treaty of Alliance, and the Treaty of Establishment--went into effect on August 16, 1960.

    The Treaty of Guarantee provides that Greece, Turkey, and Britain will ensure the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. It bans political or economic union of the republic with any foreign state and bans activities that would lead to such unions. Forty-eight of the basic articles of the constitution were incorporated into the Treaty of Guarantee, and the treaty's signatories were pledged to uphold the "state of affairs" established by the constitution. Article IV of the treaty states that if this "state of affairs" is endangered or altered, Greece, Turkey, and Britain are obliged to consult together and act to restore it. If joint consultations or actions are not possible, these states may act independently.

    The Treaty of Alliance involves Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey. It establishes a tripartite headquarters on the island and permits the two latter states to deploy, respectively, 950 and 650 military personnel to Cyprus to protect the island and train its army. The Treaty of Establishment grants Britain sovereignty over a total of 256 square kilometers of territory on the island's southern coast for two military bases, Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Between the signing of these treaties in early 1959 and independence on August 16, 1960, a long and intricate constitution was worked out, with elaborate protections for the rights of the smaller Turkish Cypriot community.

    Almost from the beginning, however, governing the island was difficult. Resentment within the Greek Cypriot community arose because Turkish Cypriots were given a larger share of government posts than the size of their population warranted. The disproportionate number of ministers and legislators assigned to Turkish Cypriots meant that their representatives could veto budgets or legislation and prevent essential government operations from being carried out. A Cypriot army, to be composed of both ethnic groups, was not formed because of disagreements about organizational matters. Nor was the crucial issue of municipal government settled to the satisfaction of Turkish Cypriots.

    The complicated governmental system established by the constitution would have had difficulty functioning well even under normal conditions, but the withholding of support for the new republic on the part of many Cypriots made its smooth functioning even less likely. The acrimony, ill will, and suspicion that existed between the two ethnic communities made impossible the spirit of cooperation needed for the system to succeed. Not surprisingly, the early 1960s saw the resurgence of armed groups that had been active during the uprising against British rule. The Greek Cypriot National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston--EOKA) rearmed, as did its Turkish Cypriot counterpart, the Turkish Resistance Organization (Türk Mukavemet Teskilâti--TMT). They were joined by growing contingents of Greek and Turkish soldiers from the mainland, whose numbers were much in excess of the limits set by the Treaty of Alliance. The frustrations of political impasse, coupled with the presence of armed bands, made for an explosive situation.

    In late 1963, the republic's president, Archbishop Makarios III, proposed a series of constitutional changes that, if enacted, would have reduced the political rights and powers of the Turkish Cypriot community. These proposals worsened an already tense situation, and in December 1963 serious intercommunal violence broke out. In the next months, hundreds died. In March 1964, the first members of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNICYP) were deployed to Cyprus, but hostilities continued into August 1964. Only vigorous diplomacy from United States president Lyndon Johnson prevented a Turkish invasion in June 1964.

    Several years of relative peace ensued, but the governing system established in 1960 no longer functioned. Turkish Cypriots had withdrawn from the republic's politics and were fashioning a governing system of their own. In addition, a good part of the Turkish Cypriot community lived in enclaves because many Turkish Cypriots had abandoned their homes out of fear of Greek Cypriot violence.

    Intercommunal violence erupted in November 1967, when two dozen Turkish Cypriots were killed by Greek Cypriot forces under the command of Colonel George Grivas, the leader of the insurgency against the British in the 1950s. The threat of a Turkish invasion led the Greek government to remove Colonel Grivas and thousands of its troops from the island.

    A coup d'état in Athens in 1967 established a military dictatorship that lasted until 1974. Elements of this regime pressed vigorously for enosis. Some members of the junta were even willing to cede parts of Cyprus to Turkey in exchange for a joining of the island with Greece. Greek pro-enosists, joined by like- minded rightist Greek Cypriot groups, put pressure on Archbishop Makarios. In 1970 there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the president. Makarios yielded to the junta on some points, once, for example, accepting the "resignations" of several members of his cabinet known to oppose the Athens government. He, however, would not compromise on the larger issue of the territorial integrity of the republic. Makarios, once a leading exponent of enosis, had come to place more value on the independence of Cyprus as a sovereign state than on union with Greece.

    In July 1974, Greek Cypriot underground groups and the Greek Cypriot National Guard overthrew Archbishop Makarios and selected Nicos Sampson, a notorious EOKA terrorist, as his replacement. Makarios escaped with British help and appealed to world opinion at the United Nations. Within a week of the rightist coup d'état, Turkish forces invaded Cyprus. Turkish officials justified their country's actions by citing the terms of Article IV of the Treaty of Guarantee, noting the impossibility of joint action with Greece and the reluctance of Britain to use military force to restore the "state of affairs" established by the constitution of 1960. A brief truce permitted Turkish forces to consolidate their positions and a quick second campaign in mid-August allowed them to occupy 37 percent of the republic.

    The idea of enosis grew out of the successful Greek revolution of the 1820s. The dream of uniting all formerly Greek lands to the motherland spread during the nineteenth century. At first the movement was confined to the small educated segment of society, but as the general population became literate, the megali idea (grand idea in Greek), as it was often termed, found ever more adherents. The enosis movement had some notable successes. Crete was returned to Greece in the late nineteenth century, and after World War II a number of islands off the Turkish coast became Greek. The movement also suffered major reverses, most notably Kemal Atatürk's beating back the Greek Army when it invaded Turkey in the early 1920s.

    By the mid-twentieth century, most Greek Cypriots desired that their island be united with Greece. The campaign for enosis was strengthened by the world-wide upsurge of anticolonialism after World War II. The enosis movement, which had become coupled with the goal of ending British rule of the island, erupted into armed rebellion in April 1955.

    Cyprus's unification with Greece faced two significant obstacles: the island's proximity to Turkey and distance from Greece, and the presence of a substantial Turkish Cypriot minority who had lived on the island for hundreds of years. Either obstacle by itself could conceivably have been overcome, but together they posed in the end an insurmountable barrier to enosis.

    The island's size and closeness to Turkey meant that the Turkish military would be opposed to its being occupied by Greek forces. In addition, the 800 kilometers that lay between Cyprus and the Greek mainland made it nearly impossible for Greek forces to seize and hold the island successfully.

    The Turkish Cypriot community was the other significant barrier to enosis. Present on the island since it had been seized in 1571 from Venice, Turkish Cypriots were adamantly opposed to living as a minority under Greek rule. Few Turkish Cypriots had objected to British rule, and British policy had been to use them as a counterweight in colonial institutions in order to block Greek Cypriot efforts for enosis. The growing virulence of the enosist movement was noted with concern by the smaller community, and during the 1950s a Turkish Cypriot nationalism emerged that rivalled that of the enosists in intensity. Some Turkish Cypriots came to advocate taksim, that is, partition of the island, as a way to prevent their becoming a minority in a Greek state.

    The gradually widening division of the two communities during the twentieth century was new to the island. For centuries the two groups had lived together in mixed villages or in separate villages close to villages of the other group. Intercommunal relations were harmonious if reserved; intermarriage was rare, but interethnic violence was even rarer. The two groups had even joined together at times to protest despotic rule from Constantinople.

    During the twentieth century, however, the number of mixed villages declined, and the first instances of intercommunal violence occurred. Mounting pressure for enosis was the main cause of estrangement between the communities. Another cause was the increase in schooling and literacy. The two communities used textbooks from their respective motherlands, texts laden with chauvinistic comments emphasizing the rapacity, cruelty, and duplicity of the other community. Centuries of conflict between Greece and Turkey afforded an ample stock of atrocities to strengthen the aversion felt for the "traditional" enemy, be it Greek or Turkish. The commonly practiced British colonial policy of "divide and rule," of setting the two communities' interests against one another to maintain London's hold on Cyprus, also engendered intercommunal animosity. Some writers have charged that the British policy of emphasizing the role of the communities in governing encouraged the growth of ethnic as opposed to Cypriot nationalism. Some scholars have noted that the absence of Cypriot nationalism was perhaps the most fateful legacy of British rule and that it doomed the Republic of Cyprus from the outset. A sense of nationalism might well have muted ethnic differences and bound the island's inhabitants together.

    As a result of these disparate factors, in the late 1950s intercommunal violence became common for the first time in Cypriot history. Violence of Cypriot against Cypriot flared even stronger in the 1960s and ended hopes that the Republic of Cyprus could work as planned in the elaborate and carefully crafted constitution of 1960.

    At the end of his life, Archbishop Makarios stated in an interview with a Norwegian journalist that of all the mistakes he had made in his life, he most regretted the role he had played in the movement for enosis. Even before he became the first president of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, Makarios was the dominant figure on Cyprus. His dominance extended from the early 1950s when he became head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus until his death in 1977. He had began agitating for enosis as a young bishop. As archbishop he was the ethnarch or leader of the Greek Cypriot community, and in that role he continued working for union with Greece, even enduring exile for his role in the rebellion against British rule. He regarded the imposition of the Republic of Cyprus on the island by outside powers as a temporary setback on the way to enosis, and a setback that he could undo. In the late 1960s, however, Makarios stated publicly that he had come to regard enosis as still desirable but impossible to achieve, at least in the near future. Opposed in the 1969 presidential election by a die-hard enosist, Makarios won over 95 percent of the Greek Cypriot vote. The movement's extremists resorted to violence in the early 1970s, even mounting assassination attempts against him. The movement to which Makarios had given so much had turned against him. In 1974 enosists, with extensive Greek aid, staged a coup d'état that caused Makarios to flee the country. The Turkish invasion a week later partitioned the country and resulted in one-third of the island's population being driven from their homes. The powerfully seductive ideal of enosis furthered by Makarios during most of his career had, in his words, "destroyed Cyprus" and made of him a tragic figure.

    As of late 1992, Cyprus remained partitioned. The southern portion of the island was governed by the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus and was home to the island's Greek Cypriot community. This community had made a remarkable recovery since 1974, despite the great material and psychological damage it had suffered from the Turkish invasion. Its economy had flourished and modernized and created a standard of living superior to that of some West European nations. This achievement was made possible by a versatile and skilled work force, a well-established entrepreneurial class, a sophisticated program of government planning, and a highly successful tourist industry that welcomed over a million tourists a year by the early 1990s. Foreign economic aid also contributed to the striking economic recovery, as did the collapse of Beirut as an international business center in the Middle East.

    Prosperity led to social changes and permitted an expansion of the education system. Although Greek Cypriot society remained more traditional than most European societies, women worked more outside the home than their mothers did and young people displayed many of the characteristics of their West European counterparts. Education was widely available and esteemed. The Republic of Cyprus had one of highest rates of university graduates in the world. This was true despite the fact that, until the early 1990s, all Greek Cypriots wishing to study at the university level had to do so abroad because the Republic of Cyprus had no university.

    Greek Cypriot politics matured after the invasion. During the first years of the republic's history, political parties more closely resembled groupings or factions around dominant individuals than organizations with political programs. After the events of 1974, new parties with a more clearly defined political ideology formed. Only the two left-wing parties pre-dated 1974: the Progressive Party of the Working People (Anorthotikon Komma Ergazomenou Laou--AKEL), a doctrinaire yet in practice a moderate and pragmatic communist party; and the United Democratic Union of Cyprus (Eniea Dimokratiki Enosis Kyprou--EDEK), usually referred to as the Socialist Party EDEK (Sosialistiko Komma EDEK), a left-wing party consisting mainly of urban white-collar employees and professionals. In 1976 two right-wing parties were formed: the Democratic Rally (Dimokratikos Synagermos--DISY), led by Glafkos Klerides; and the Democratic Party (Dimokratiko Komma--DIKO), headed by Spyros Kyprianou, who succeeded Archbishop Makarios as president. Kyprianou remained president until his defeat in 1988 by George Vassiliou, a businessman not tied to any party, who had the backing of AKEL and EDEK. In addition to these four main parties, several smaller groups were active as well.

    Domestic politics mirrored those of most other prosperous democratic countries, with individual parties advocating policies in consonance with their political philosophy. The overriding issue in Cypriot politics, however, was the question of dealing with the de facto partition of the island. Here the parties' course was unusual. The right-wing DISY and the communist AKEL generally advocated a more flexible approach to negotiating with the Turkish Cypriots. These two parties favored making greater concessions than had former President Kyprianou, and they were frequently harsh in their criticism of what they regarded as his intransigence or insufficient sense of reality. DIKO and EDEK, for their part, were less willing to yield up long-held positions no matter how unacceptable they were to Turkish Cypriot negotiators. They often condemned what they saw as President Vassiliou's insufficient protection of the country's interests.

    Greek Cypriot politics were stable. There were four main parties in the House of Representatives; the changing majorities in this body reflected the public's evolving opinion on main issues. Most analysts believed, for example, that the results of the May 1991 parliamentary elections indicated that overall the public supported President Vassiliou's willingness to break new ground in intercommunal negotiations. In the elections, DISY won twenty seats in the House of Representatives, one more than in the last parliamentary elections in 1985, and received 35.8 percent of the vote. AKEL increased its number of seats to eighteen, a gain of three, and got 30.6 percent of the vote. AKEL's win was all the more impressive because in May 1990 a faction of its membership, frustrated by a reform of AKEL that seemed too slow to them, had formed a new party, the Democratic Socialist Renewal Movement (Anorthotiko Dimokratiko Sosialistiko Kinima--ADISOK). The new party got 2.4 percent of vote, but won no seats. DIKO took a drubbing, losing eight of its nineteen seats and polling only 19.5 percent of the vote, compared with 27.6 percent in 1985. Although EDEK's share of the vote remained almost the same, falling slightly to 10.9 percent, it gained one parliamentary seat for a total of seven.

    President Vassiliou's popularity would again be put the test by the presidential elections scheduled for February 1993 in which, as of late 1992, there were four candidates. Running once again as an independent, President Vassiliou had the support of AKEL. Glafkos Clerides, unsuccessful in several earlier attempts to win the republic's highest political office, had the support of DISY, the party he had founded and had led since the mid-1970s. DIKO and Socialist Party EDEK formed an electoral front to back Paschalis Paschalides, a businessman active in Cypriot public affairs since the rebellion against British rule. The fourth candidate was an independent, Yiannakis Taliotis, a former deputy mayor of the western port of Paphos.

    In the northern part of the island, 37 percent of Cyprus's territory was occupied by the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" ("TRNC"), unilaterally proclaimed in November 1983 by the Turkish Cypriots and recognized by no state other than Turkey. (Because this state is not recognized by the United States government, its name is within quotation marks.) Protected by an estimated 30,000 Turkish troops based on the island and bolstered by much Turkish aid, the Turkish Cypriot community has formed its own governing institutions, fashioned a functioning democracy with a free press, put in place an education system that extends from the pre-school to the university level, and laid the groundwork of an economy that, despite a Greek Cypriot economic blockade, has registered respectable growth rates and benefited from the visits of over 300,000 tourists a year.

    As of late 1992, the Turkish Cypriot community was headed by the veteran politician Rauf Denktas, a leading figure in Cypriot affairs since the mid-1950s. Denktas was elected president of the "TRNC" in 1983 and again in 1990. Until mid-1992, he was supported by the National Unity Party (Ulusal Birlik Partisi--UBP), which had been the Turkish Cypriot governing party since its founding in 1975. After by-elections in 1991, UBP controlled forty-four of the fifty seats in the National Assembly, the Turkish Cypriot legislative body.

    Despite the UBP's virtual monopoly of parliamentary seats, there was a vigorous political opposition in the "TRNC." Two left- of-center parties, the Communal Liberation Party (Toplumcu Kurtulu Partisi--TKP) and the Republican Turkish Party (Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi--CTP), along with the centrist New Dawn Party (Yeni Dogus Partisi--YDP) and several smaller parties forcefully condemned the policies, both foreign and domestic, pursued by the government and Denktas. These parties generally recommended greater flexibility in negotiating with the Republic of Cyprus over issues relating to the island's partition. The TKP and CTP were also concerned about the role settlers from the Turkish mainland (estimated between 30,000 and 50,000) had in the "TRNC" and might have in a possibly negotiated new federal, bicommunal, and bizonal republic that could eventually replace the Cypriot state that had come into being in 1960.

    The TKP, the CTP, and the YDP had formed an electoral alliance, the Democratic Struggle Party (Demokratik Mücadele Partisi--DMP), for the 1990 parliamentary elections. The party won sixteen seats. The TKP and CTP charged election irregularities and refused to occupy their fourteen seats. The 1991 by-election to fill these seats resulted in ten for the UBP, the remainder going to several smaller parties and independents. Many Turkish Cypriots were appalled at the results of this election, fearing that the election endangered the survival of democratic politics in their country. In the latter half of 1992, ten of the UPB's delegates withdrew from the party and formed a new group, the Democratic Party (Demokratik Parti--DP), headed by Hakki Atun and having Serdar Denktas, a son of Rauf Denktas, as a member. Atun and his partners were generally in agreement with the UBP on the national issue, but charged the party's leadership with extensive financial and political corruption. At the end of 1992, the UBP still controlled thirty-four seats of the fifty-seat Legislative Assembly, but its political dominance and its leader, Dervi Eroglu, were under vigorous attack from the DP, the TKP, the CTP, and some smaller parties.

    This upheaval in Turkish Cypriot politics occurred against a backdrop of international controversy over the failure of intercommunal negotiations, sponsored by the United Nations (UN) in the summer and fall of 1992, to resolve the island's de facto partition. In the first half of 1992, there was more optimism than usual that these negotiations would yield a settlement of the island's division that was acceptable to both ethnic communities. Working from a "set of ideas" that incorporated many hard-won compromises from earlier negotiations, the new UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, thought that an agreement was finally within reach. Meetings in the summer and fall in New York between President Vassiliou and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denkta ended in early November, however, without success. Lack of agreement on the degree of sovereignty each component part of the new federal state was to possess, how much territory Turkish Cypriots would relinquish, and under what conditions Greek Cypriot refugees from areas remaining under Turkish Cypriot control were to return to their homes caused the failure. The secretary general issued a report that unequivocally blamed the Turkish Cypriot side for the failed negotiations. The Turkish Cypriots rejected his judgements as unfair. Talks were scheduled to resume in March 1993 after presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus in February.

    Intercommunal negotiations to arrange a new bicommunal, bizonal federal republic had been underway since 1975. In 1977 Makarios had agreed that the new Cypriot state would consist of the two communities, each with extensive local autonomy in discrete regions, but united via some degree of federation into a single state. In 1979 procedures that facilitated further dialogue were worked out by negotiators from the two communities. Aided by the good offices of the UN, negotiations continued at numerous venues through the 1980s and into the 1990s, but without significant accomplishments. In early 1985, an agreement was nearly achieved, but President Kyprianou backed off at the last moment. Although Kyprianou was censured in the House of Representatives for failure to reach an agreement, his party won the ensuing parliamentary elections. Voter discontent removed him from office in 1988. George Vassiliou, an independent, was elected president, probably because Greek Cypriots hoped he could bring a new openness and fresh initiatives to the negotiating process.

    Over the years, Greek Cypriots had come to accept the concept of a bicommunal, bizonal, federal republic. This meant that some of Cyprus would remain under Turkish Cypriot control. Greek Cypriots would be allowed to return to properties they owned in this area before 1974, or be compensated for them, but attention would be paid to "certain practical difficulties." Also accepted was the principal Turkish Cypriot demand that the two communities be seen as political equals despite their differences in size. The Turkish Cypriot community was not to be seen as a minority, although it made up less than 20 percent of the island's population. It was to have exclusive management of its own communal affairs. Frequent demands that Turkish troops be withdrawn from the island before negotiations began had been abandoned because of hopes that intercommunal talks could have positive results.

    As broad as these concessions were, Greek Cypriots remained adamant on a number of points. They demanded the eventual removal of Turkish troops from the island. Of even greater importance and more difficult to resolve was how to undo the losses suffered by Greek Cypriot refugees. An estimated 160,000 Greek Cypriots had fled or been driven from their homes and lost much property in what became the "TRNC," as compared with about 50,000 Turkish Cypriots who had moved out of areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus. Greek Cypriot insistence on realizing the "three freedoms" of movement, settlement, and ownership throughout Cyprus for all Cypriots was intended to expunge the results of the Turkish invasion.

    Greek Cypriot demands that the three freedoms eventually be realized throughout Cyprus challenged negotiators. The degree and quality of federation, or confederation, that Turkish Cypriots saw as a necessary underpinning for their political freedom also received much discussion.

    Reconciling these varied aims would work only if both communities manifested patience, flexibility, and good faith. Given the great stakes involved and the power of pressure groups within communities (most notably refugee groups), these qualities were often lacking. Observers noted that both parties on occasion demonstrated a desire to win on all points rather than conceding some. A negotiating team having made some gains might suddenly renounce earlier concessions. Concessions granted often resulted in vitriolic attacks from within the negotiators' own community. Confidentiality of negotiations was rare; within hours full accounts of closed talks were available to the public.

    As always in Cypriot history, the success of a new settlement would be affected by external forces. Turkey and Greece would almost certainly be involved in the final agreement and would sign treaties similar to the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance. For both political and military reasons, neither Greek nor Turkish elites could ignore Cyprus because in recent decades events there had affected the larger states, sometimes in ways not to their liking. To reach his objectives, Archbishop Makarios, for example, frequently appealed to the Greek people over the heads of the Greek political leadership. Rauf Denktas, for his part, had so much personal support among Turkey's political and military elites that only the strongest of Turkish governments could coerce him. In effect, he was to some degree independent of Turkey, the country that guaranteed his survival and that of the "TRNC." Conversely, Greek and Turkish politicians often found the Cyprus issue a ready tool with which to attack their domestic opponents; hence there was a narrowing of the range of policy decisions relating to Cyprus available to the leaders of the two nations.

    The end of the Cold War has lessened international concern with Cyprus. The disappearance of the Soviet Union meant, at least in the early 1990s, that Western Europe's security would no longer be threatened by a rupture of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's southeastern flank in the event of a war between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus, as could have happened in 1964, 1967, and 1974. Cyprus's reduced geopolitical significance is reflected by the increasing reluctance of the UN to maintain forces on the island. In addition, instability elsewhere on the globe has taxed the resources of the organization and its member states. As part of a planned reduction of UNFICYP forces, the Danish contingent of several hundred personnel was scheduled to depart from Cyprus by mid-January 1993, leaving 1,500 UN soldiers to man the buffer zone that cuts across the island.

    In the short run at least, the end of the Cold War would most likely benefit Turkey because its size and location made its goodwill and cooperation crucial to the Western powers, as was demonstrated in the Gulf Crisis of 1990-91. Given the continuing instability in the Middle East, in the Balkans, and in some of the former Soviet republics bordering these areas, Turkey's strategic importance would probably endure and make unlikely sustained and significant outside pressures to resolve the Cyprus question. Greece retained, however, its trump card: its ability to block Turkey's membership in the European Community if the Cyprus problem were not settled in a way it found satisfactory.

    Despite the obstacles to a mutually acceptable settlement, hope remained that the creation of a new bicommunal, bizonal, federal state might someday be agreed on. In 1992 after the nearly twenty years of division, the younger members of each community had little or no first-hand knowledge of one another. Some observers believed this lack of familiarity would facilitate polite intercommunal relations along the formal lines established by a new settlement. Young Cypriots had an advantage their parents and grandparents had not had: they knew well how terrible the results would be of another failure to live together peacefully on their small island. Blessed with hindsight and aware of the immense gains a reasonable settlement would bring, perhaps young Cypriots would make their island whole again.

    Eric Solsten
    December 17, 1992

    Data as of January 1991

    NOTE: The information regarding Cyprus on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cyprus Introduction information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cyprus Introduction should be addressed to the Library of Congress.

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