Cyprus Problem | ‘the World’s Most Peaceful Frozen Conflict’

Cyprus Problem - 'the World’s Most Peaceful Frozen Conflict'Cyprus Problem – ‘the World’s Most Peaceful Frozen Conflict’

The status quo has proved to be very durable, described in some reports as, “the world’s most peaceful frozen conflict” despite all the political rhetoric. The inability to reach any sort of solution has led to a slow but steady de facto normalisation and creeping recognition. This has produced many of the benefits that would be associated with a political settlement, within the framework of a two state kind of settlement and without any reintegration of the two communities.

Nobody has died since 1996 and 10 people have died since 1974. Excellent work is observed by the bi-communal committee seeking to identify the remains of the missing casualties from the 63 – 74 violence. In 2013 both sides cancelled for the sixth consecutive year running, their once vigorous military exercises. Ceasefire violations along the Green Line typically consist only of a new line of sandbags or insults hurled by bored young conscripts on Saturday nights. Visitors throng shops and cafés in regenerated pedestrian districts on both sides of the heart of the divided capital, Nicosia.

The two sides have long cooperated over the capital’s waste water, which flows into the Turkish Cypriot north. Emergencies elicit a quick response, partly because Greek Cypriots make an exception for pre-1974 Turkish Cypriot entities like the chamber of commerce and municipality. Joint action to solve power outages in the south and fighting an oil slick in the north show how the two distinct entities can work normally once political obstacles are removed.

This self-solving approach even applies to the Turkish Cypriot airport of Ercan. In theory, no one recognises it except Turkey and the “TRNC”, but it is no less busy – servicing flights from Turkey – than the main Republic of Cyprus airport in Larnaca. Despite the GC Government ruling out its legislation, thousands of Greeks still use it, since international connections via Istanbul are faster and cheaper. GC pilots are now employed by Turkish Airways and I won’t mention recent footballers and casinos!

The communities are going their separate ways. Fewer TC’s are crossing the border for free health care and most no longer speak both languages. More GC’s are settling with the IPC as a result of the ROCs financial problems. The island is normalising itself with little political manoeuvrings.

Whilst the argument for official, recognised separation is rarely raised by the ROC it is becoming more widely spoken about in other circles. A Spanish think team recently said, “the international community is becoming increasingly frustrated … if the two sides do not want to live together or either side’s goals are unattainable, then, instead of being forced into a new and unworkable marriage, they should agree a divorce on friendly terms”.

The U .S. Congressional Research Service concluded last year that “a ‘two-state’ solution seems to have become a more prominent part of the Turkish Cypriot/Turkey rhetoric and unless a dramatic breakthrough occurs early in the negotiations… this reality may gain more momentum.”

The solution is never going to be a political one but peoples actions, especially the younger generations might just make it possible.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.