Cyprus First Division , Turkish Cypriot | Military Stories

Division of Cyprus

The republic of Cyprus is the most well-known. They only control the southern part of Cyprus even though their flag depicts the entire island. They are also internationally recognized and part of the European Union. As for the northern part of Cyprus, it is controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey. Separating the two countries is an UN bufferzone, spanning the entire 180km long border. It should be obvious that the two countries don’t get along, but what is the cause of the divide, and what role does Turkey play? 

First division of Cyprus

North South division of Cyprus

Historical/Ethnic Reasons and 1974 War 

Historically, Cyprus wasn’t that divided, populated mostly by people of Greek descent. However, in 1570, Cyprus was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, resulting in the development of a Turkish community in Cyprus. When Cyprus gained independence from Britain (a story for another time) in 1960, government power was divided between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. However, both parties weren’t content, especially the Greek, who were pushing for Enosis. (Pause) This led to a coup d’etat by theGreeks in 1974 to take control of the islands. Turkey, who supported the Turkish Cypriots as a result launched an attack the same year. And though condemned by the international community, took control of the northern part of Cyprus, causing the divide. 

Current Status of Cyprus (and opinions oflocals/world) Nowadays, Cyprus remains divided. And Turkey, despite the constant criticism,still stations troops in Northern Cyprus. The locals are also torn between keeping the status quo or working towards reunification.

According to an opinion poll in 2010, 84% of Greek Cypriots and 70% of Turkish Cypriots assumed that: "the other side would neveraccept the actual compromises and concessions that are needed for a fair and viable settlement". Disadvantages of the Split (For the three parties) However, it is obvious that the current situation in Cyprus is far from ideal. For the locals, many were forcefully displaced from their homes back in 1974 and cannot return due to the divide. The constant military threat from both sides also adds to the pressure and unease. 

Embargos and sanctions have also been putin place on Northern Cyprus. For Turkey, the Cyprus dispute is one of the main reasons why the EU won’t accept its membership application. Turkey doesn’t recognize the republic of Cyprus, a member of the EU, so understand ably that won’t work. Efforts to resolve the conflict As such, over the years, the republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus have held numerous talks to try and find a solution. 

However, despite meeting for dozens of times, leaders of both sides have all failed to find a viable path forward. There are two main road blocks to a successful negotiation. The first is the question of Turkish influence. After one of the more recent meetings in February 26th, 2019, the president of the republic of Cyprus remarked that the issue of security for all the Cypriots cannot be ignored and referred again to the Turkish troops on the island, an aspect which Northern Cyprus is still reluctant to address. 

Later that year, Turkey also began drilling for oil in Northern Cyprus waters, sparking another wave of controversy from the EU and the Republic of Cyprus. The second roadblock is the question of whata unified Cyprus would look like. The Turkish Cypriots are especially concerned because they would immediately become a minority after reunification. In addition, the animosity that has built-up on both sides towards the other casts a doubt on whether the peace will last after returning arion. 


Looking Forward as such, unfortunately, even after over 40 years of division, the republic of Cyprus,Northern Cyprus, and Turkey still cannot put their differences aside and come to a compromise. And as time goes by, it’s looking harder and harder for them to come to a consensus. We can only wait and see how it all plays out in the future. 

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