Sunday, April 25, 2004

Cyprus Votes Not to Reunify

The Wahington Times reports that the referenda intended to establish a federal dual-state on the island of Cyprus have been defeated.

Since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island, Cyprus has been divided into a northern Turkish region and a southern Greek region. Recently the UN and EU have been promoting a double referendum to reunify the country as a precondition of its entry into the EU. Failing to pass either referendum would mean only the Greek region would be recognized by the EU.

Features of the proposed "solution" included:

1. The right of return of some Greek Cypriots to the homes in the north which they fled during the invasion.
2. A reduction of the area under Turkish control.
3. A reduction of the number of foreign troops (both Turkish and Greek).

No provision was made for the evacuation of Turkish settlers (those who came to the island after the 1974 invasion) from the northern region.

If the details of this plan sound vaguely familiar, they should. They are very similar to previous Israeli policies with regard to the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. The main differences are that the Greek Cypriots are not engaged in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks against the occupying Turks and there have been no serious demands for the Turks' unilateral withdrawal from their occupied territories. Oh, and the Turks invaded the island in 1974 to prevent talks of Cyprus unifying with Greece, while the Israelis invaded the West Bank and Gaza in retaliation for an act of war by a coalition of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Since the proposed reunification would essentially validate the Turkish invasion, the Cypriots are right to reject it.

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