The Cyprus is­sue and Greece

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

Cyprus but also for Greece and Turkey. The bal­ance of power and ten­sions be­tween Greece and Turkey, the in­flu­ence of Bri­tain, the US and Rus­sia, turned Cyprus into a dis­pute which brought ques­tion­able gains and huge dam­age upon its peo­ple. From 1915, when Greek states­man Eleft­he­rios Venize­los and the British govern­ment first dis­cussed the colo­nial power’s giv­ing Cyprus to Greece in ex­change for Greece en­ter­ing World War I on the side of the En­tente, the Cypri­ots were re­peat­edly at the cen­ter of events they could not con­trol. Of­ten, how­ever, the ac­tions of the Greek and Turk­ish Cypri­ots caused ten­sion be­tween Greece and Turkey, fuel­ing the na­tion­al­ism that put pres­sure on gov­ern­ments and de­ter­mined events. The anti- Greek pogrom in Is­tan­bul in 1955 and the later ex­pul­sion of the city’s age-old Greek com­mu­nity was one con­se­quence of this dy­namic. In 1974, the Greek dic­ta­tor­ship’s crim­i­nal ef­fort to glo­rify it­self by en­gi­neer­ing a coup aimed at unit­ing Cyprus with Greece set off the Turk­ish in­va­sion. Each decade had its own ten­sions, clashes and ne­go­ti­a­tions – be­fore and after the agree­ment es­tab­lish­ing the Repub­lic of Cyprus. The con­sti­tu­tion pro­voked new ten­sions and clashes, and the guar­an­tor pow­ers – Greece, Turkey and Bri­tain – did any­thing but help. Bri­tain, in fact, had brought Turkey into the is­sue ear­lier, en­sur­ing that Cyprus would be a con­tin­ual cause of ten­sion. With all th­ese fac­tors at play, it was im­pos­si­ble to reach a just and vi­able so- lu­tion. As the years passed and the is­land’s com­mu­ni­ties lived apart, the pos­si­bil­ity of their agree­ing to re­unite grew slim­mer. And yet EU ac­ces­sion and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Anas­ti­asi­ades and Ak­inci gave new life to the ef­fort. Greece ob­serves, with min­i­mal par­tic­i­pa­tion. Per­haps this is due to the dam­age that the Greek eco­nomic cri­sis dealt to Cyprus. Per­haps Cyprus’s quick re­cov­ery gave the Cypri­ots con­fi­dence that they can man­age on their own. In any case, the an­swer that Cyprus’s Com­mu­nist Party AKEL fired off at its “sis­ter” party in Greece, when the lat­ter tried to in­ter­vene in the talks, said it all: “The fu­ture of Cyprus is an is­sue for Cypri­ots and it is they who will de­cide what it is.”

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