Cyprus and Its People: Nation, Identity, and Experience in an Unimaginable Community, 1955-1997

By Vangelis Calotychos | Go to book overview

2 How Might Turkish and Greek Cypriots See Each Other More Clearly?

Peter Loizos

"To bait fish withal--if it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge. He hath disgrac'd me, and hind'red me half a million, laugh'd at my losses, mock'd at my gains, scorn'd my nation, thwarted my bargains, cool'd my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."

-- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice III, I, 11. 1253-1273

It is important to remember that Greece and Turkey have come close to war over Cyprus, and their Aegean differences, at least six times since 1960--over Cyprus, in 1963-64, in 1967, and July-August 1974, over the Aegean oil exploration issue in May 1974, February 1976, and in March 1987.1 It would be unwise to ignore the importance of the long-standing issues which divide them. Those issues can be resolved by wise leadership, but it will require that simultaneously in Ankara, Athens, Nicosia and the TRNC there are leaders with the determination and the support to sign comprehensive settlements. That is an unusual political configuration in the region's recent history.

-35-

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Cyprus and Its People: Nation, Identity, and Experience in an Unimaginable Community, 1955-1997
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