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Cyprus Issues : UN Intervention

In 1993, the United Nations initiated a new attempt. to obtain agreement that produced the confidence-building measures (BMs). CBMs essentially involved the opening of Nicosia (Lefkoe) International Airport (closed since 1974) and the permission of the Greek Cypriots to reoccupy Varosha / Maras lest in 1974. They failed miserably.

In 1997, the UN tried to bring the two sides together in two meetings, one in New York, the other in Switzerland. The question of the sovereignty of the North became a crucial issue. Recent developments have made the dispute more difficult to solve. First, the decision by the European Union to open the membership negotiations with the South stopped the UN sponsored negotiations that just began after the quake in Turkey. Second, the establishment of a Joint defence Doctrine between Greece and the South has alerted Turkey about the strategic importance of the island.

Cyprus conflict can be analyzed three different levels. At one level, Cyprus conflict is an inter-communal conflict that began as a colonial struggle against British rule. At another level, it is a regional conflict because of the relationship between Greece and Turkey over territory and resources in the eastern Mediterranean as well as their relationships with the two communities in the island. For Turkey, Cyprus is mainly as strategic matter. Because of its great proximity to Turkey, Cyprus could be dangerous for Turkey if in enemy hands. Cyprus seems as a huge aircraft carrier that threatens the most of the Turkish main cities De) to and industrial areas. Moreover, the historical animosity between Greece and Turkey was another important factor. For Greeks, Cyprus was historically Greek and the part of the Hellenic world. The Turks represent the chosen traumas such as the lost of Constantinople, the destruction of the Byzantine Empire and the eviction of the Greeks from Anatolia after the First World War. Furthermore, it is an international conflict that involves superpower politics, the international and regional organizations (the United Nations and the European Union). At systemic level, the conflict in Cyprus became entangled in the politics of the Cold War. The conflict between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus and other areas were a potential source of weakness on NATO’s southern flank.

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