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Cyprus Issues: Psychological Barriers

Psychologically and socially, the two ethnic groups remained largely divided. The first psychological barrier is the issue of the lack of the common Cypriot identity and the emphasis of Turkish and Greek identity. Although both communities have lived on the same island for over 400 years, they have maintained their Turkishness and Greekness. When the Republic of Cyprus was established in 1960, there was no Cypriot nation other than two different communities or nations. After the independence, the two communities continued celebrating the national holidays of Greece and Turkey which were mostly directed against each other. Moreover, the official flag of Cyprus appeared only at certain places, such as Makarios’ presidential palace. On other places and occasions, the Greek and Turkish national anthems and flags were used during these celebrations. When the Cypriot Turks raised the red-and-white flag of Turkey and the Cypriot Greeks displayed the blue-and-white one of Greece, both communities reinforced their sense of separateness and their loyalties to Greece and Turkey. As a result, there has been no sign of common political culture and mass legitimacy for the new state-Cyprus.

Proposals for Solution

Various proposals have been floated for the solution of the problem from time to time. Generally speaking, these proposals proved futile because they suffered from two main defects that made them unacceptable to the Turkish community. Firstly, instead of treating the two communities at par with each other for political purposes, they considered the Turkish Cypriots to be no more than just a minority.

Secondly, most of the plans visualised the reunification of the divided island, withdrawal of the Turkish armed forces, return of the Cypriots two communities to areas inhabited by them before the landing of the Turkish troops, and Cypriot the setting up of a joint government with proportional representation to the two communities on the basis of their population. Having been betrayed once by the Greek Cypriots through their unilateral demolition of the entire edifice of the mutually agreed partnership republic and having suffered immense human and material losses at the hands of the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots have been naturally quite wary of these proposals.

Another important factor that has been hindering the solution of the Cyprus problem is the fact that right from the start, the UN has recognised the Greek Cypriot administration as the “legal” government of the whole of the island, completely ignoring the factors leading to the partition of Cyprus and the stand taken by the TRNC. This factor alone has been responsible for making the Greek Cypriot administration indifferent to accepting any solution that is not hundred percent to their liking. Accordingly,. they have seldom felt hard pressed to peace for an expeditious solution of the problem. In the meantime, they have been trying to between blackmail the TRNC militarily by threats of positioning Russian missiles in Southern Cyprus. They have also manoeuvred the entry of Cyprus into the European Union (EU), violating an international agreement according to which none of the Cypriot communities can join any international organisation without the consent of the other. Cyprus is admission in the EU have very adverse repercussions both for the TRNC and the Turkish Republic.

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