how is cyprus divided?

Cyprus is de facto divided into two-thirds of the southern part of the island controlled by the Greek Cypriots and one-third by the Turkish Republic of the North. The Republic of Cyprus is the internationally recognised government of the Republic of Cyprus, which controls the southern two-thirds of the island. All states that maintain relations with Cyprus must also close the representative offices of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in their territories. More recently, the Greek government in the Republic of Cyprus has taken unilateral decisions on hydrocarbon initiatives, which has created significant tension with Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.

In 2003 it founded the Movement for Peace and Democracy in support of the UN Annan Plan for a united Cyprus within the European Union, and has also advocated a policy of greater independence from Turkey in political matters. The project will remedy the problem of energy isolation in Cyprus, the last EU member not connected to the European grid. When Turkey invaded Cyprus, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a series of symbolic but ineffective resolutions. Cyprus has managed to diversify its largely agricultural economy into one based on services - including a large tourism sector - and light industry.

Cyprus has been through numerous wars and foreign occupations, and one of the legacies of this history is the division between the Greek and Turkish parts of the island. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) maintains the separation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, but has failed to stop (let alone reverse) Turkey's ethnic cleansing in the northern third of the island. Instead of empowering Erdoğan and Turkey's puppet government in northern Cyprus by treating it as an equal with the internationally recognised Cypriot government, perhaps it is time for the international community to adopt an Iraqi model. The EU and the US should also ban Turkish Air and any other company serving Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus from European airspace, and should sanction any Turkish or international company doing business in the occupied area.

Only a joint intervention by key countries in the eastern Mediterranean such as Egypt and Israel could ease tensions between Greece and Turkey and, consequently, between the two political parties in Cyprus. Turkey has tried to promote its brand of Islamism in northern Cyprus, building mosques and funding allied local politicians. In 1983, Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Ankara recognises. Turkey has already moved away from the old UN and EU frameworks for a solution when, in recent weeks, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ruled out federalism and insisted on a two-state solution in which the international community would formally agree to the permanent division of Cyprus.

The same is now true of Turkey in Cyprus; Turkey's original casus belli, to protect the Turkish Cypriot community against the Greek military junta, disappeared within a week when Greece's military regime collapsed and the Greeks embraced democracy. Since 1975, there have been more than four dozen additional resolutions, none of which have deterred Turkey from further consolidating its control of northern Cyprus.

Latisha Busler
Latisha Busler

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