Cyprus: The Impact of Diverse Nationalism on a State

Cyprus: The Impact of Diverse Nationalism on a State

Cyprus: The Impact of Diverse Nationalism on a State

Cyprus: The Impact of Diverse Nationalism on a State

Excerpt

This study of the complex current Cypriot crisis is intended for the layman as well as the scholar who is perplexed by the Cypriot political issues of recent years. The research material was compiled after many years of investigation into the causes and effects of the Cypriot communal conflict. The sources for this work are personal interviews with leaders of both communities in Cyprus, as well as books dealing with political science and the Cypriot question. My information is based not only on scholarly research but also on social and political contacts with both communities on the island. I was born in Cyprus and am a Turkish Cypriot who is now an American citizen; my background has been an asset as well as a liability because I tend to sympathize more with the Turkish Cypriot cause--family members and friends still live on the island and were affected by the recent events. I was fortunate to have been born in the small town of Kyrenia, which was an integrated community, and I had and still have connections with many Greek Cypriots whose friendship I cherish and value. I have attempted to the utmost of my ability to do justice to the subject by remaining as objective as is humanly possible.

After recent visits to the island of Cyprus, I have reached the conclusion, based on empirical evidence, that the two Cypriot communities cannot co- exist under the constitutional system, as it existed from 1960 to 1963, because of the nationalism of the two ethnic communities and their unwillingness to compromise their legal differences under the governmental structure established under the Zurich and London Agreements of 1959. The two communities seem to have coexisted in harmony and mutual respect as long as the political control remained with a more powerful third force, Great Britain, who administered Cyprus from 1878 to 1960, and the situation did not provide any opportunity to compete for political power. However, as soon as there was a change in the political climate, the veneer of peace and tranquility came under a great stress. The tensions and antagonisms that had remained dormant for so long finally shattered the peace in December, 1963.

The escalation of the civil war between the two ethnic groups was checked by the intervention of Great Britain, Greece, and Turkey at the invitation of the president and vice-president of Cyprus. In 1964 and 1967 Turkey took unilateral military action and carried out air bombardments against the Greek positions that were endangering the Turkish Cypriot enclaves. It was during this time that war between Greece and Turkey was imminent. Fortunately, reason prevailed and the two countries once again resorted to diplomatic talks to work out an amicable solution to the Cypriot crisis. After the coup d'état in 1974, President Makarios was ousted from power and forced to escape to Western Europe. Turkey, justifying its action under the treaty commitments . . .

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