why 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 Northern Cyprus. Its territory, the result of the 1974 Turkish invasion and whose status is still disputed, extends over the northern third of the island. The US and the EU should close Turkish banks that operate in or finance the operations of Turkish banks in Northern Cyprus. Only a joint intervention by key eastern Mediterranean countries such as Egypt and Israel could ease tensions between Greece and Turkey and thus between the two political parties in Cyprus.

The UN 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. The Iraq comparison does not imply military action, of course, although Cyprus and its allies have the right to one day forcibly expel Turkish outposts on the island if other coercive measures fail. 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 the military regime in Greece collapsed and the Greeks embraced democracy. When Turkey invaded Cyprus, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a series of resolutions that were symbolic but toothless.

Cyprus has successfully diversified its largely agrarian economy into one based on services - including a large tourism sector - and light industry. In 1983, Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Ankara recognises. The project will remedy the problem of energy isolation of Cyprus, the last EU member not connected to the European grid. All states that maintain relations with Cyprus must also close the representative offices of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in their territories.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island supported by the Greek government. After receiving Cyprus' highest honour, the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, from President Nicos Anastasiades, Menendez said that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could reach a reunification agreement if left to negotiate on their own. He founded the Movement for Peace and Democracy in 2003 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 on political issues. The EU and the US should also ban Turkish Air and any other company serving Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus from European airspace, and sanction any Turkish or international company doing business in the occupied area.

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 Iraq model. Turkey strongly opposes the EastMed pipeline, which will carry natural resources from Cyprus and Israel to mainland Europe.

Latisha Busler
Latisha Busler

Lifelong beer ninja. Subtly charming twitter nerd. Subtly charming tv junkie. Incurable web ninja. Evil coffee junkie.