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The Cyprus Problem What Everyone Needs to Know Paperback – 21 Apr 2011
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the book is a very welcome addition to an already extended literature on the Cyprus issue, which is surely no small feat. (Marianna Papastephanou, The European Legacy)
About the Author
James Ker-Lindsay is the Eurobank E.F.G. Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Crisis and Conciliation: A Year of Rapprochement Between Greece and Turkey and E.U. Accession and U.N. Peacemaking in Cyprus.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ker-Lindsay has written a short, easily accessible book on a topic with a long and tortuous history. To have achieved what I believe is a balanced factual outcome on this subject, is to be applauded. Reading in April 2013, just after the financial events that have shattered the economy of the Republic, I can't help but feel that at least a couple of additional chapters may soon be written. The bailout /bail and also the discovery of natural gas, spring to mind.
Yes, I did learn about the bi-zonal, bi-communal federated solution and much, much more.
If you have any interest in Cyprus I heartily recommend you read this book. (My review is based on the Kindle version)
Here is a sample of the even-handedness, accuracy and impartiality on offer:
In August, the United Kingdom invited Greece and Turkey to attend a conference on peace and security in the eastern Mediterranean. Although not directly stated, the real purpose of the event, to discuss Cyprus, was well known. It was an important moment. Britain now appeared to admit that Cyprus was not purely an internal matter after all. Instead, it directly involved the two countries, which were widely perceived by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to be their `motherlands'. However, Makarios was furious about the invitation to Turkey. He accused London of reigniting a Turkish interest in Cyprus thirty years after Ankara had given up its claim to Cyprus under the Treaty of Lausanne and refused to attend. The talks went ahead anyway but were beset by violent anti-Greek riots in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir. The conference soon broke down. (pp. 22-23)
Four points need to be made with regard to this passage:
(1) The "real purpose of the event" was not "to discuss Cyprus", but to use Turkish opposition to Cyprus' liberation to make Greece back down.Read more ›
It all but skims over the 1974 invasion and the events between the 1st and 2nd phases where neither party complied with it's obligations; it does not deal with the complications caused by the political turmoil in Greece where the new civilian government was constantly looking over it's shoulder in case the army intervened once again. To my knowledge Kissinger had more of a grasp of events than the book gives him credit for.
On the plus side I thought it was well balanced; criticism by Greek and Turkish Cypriots is inevitable as their opinions are often prejudiced by their side's distorted interpretation of facts.
The criteria by which a nation identifies itself are language, religion, geographical boundary and some distinctive economic or cultural identity. In the case of Cyprus there is no geographical boundary between the two communities and economic and cultural life is rather similar, so language and religion are the divisive issues. The Greek and Turkish languages remain mutually incomprehensible with surprisingly little borrowing during Ottoman rule. But the main historical divide has been between the Ottoman empire's uniformly Sunni Muslim populace and the uniformly Orthodox Christian community of the former Byzantine Empire. Byzantium was conquered by a Muslim Arab empire. The Greek language disappeared and Christians were converted to Islam. On the periphery of the Ottoman empire some Greek-speaking and religiously orthodox communities persisted. The aspiration for enosis and I Megali is probably a nostalgia for Greek-speaking Byzantium. The Islam-Christendom boundary persists on the Armenian border and in Bosnia. The 1919 genocide has still not been remedied. The Serbian - Bosnian war erupted again in the 1990s.
Turkey is in a good position to bring this historical divide. Although the current government in Turkey is more explicitly Muslim, it is nonetheless able to reach pragmatic solutions, for example in peace deals with its Kurdish minority. It could make apologies to Greek villages expelled in 1919. Restitution to Armenians for the genocide is long overdue. Hagia Sophia is highly symbolic: having been the central cathedral for Byzantium, it became the central mosque for the Ottoman empire. It was made into a museum in 1935 by Ataturk.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good resource for the general reader. One would get a clear idea about the numerous aspects of this multi-layered issue.Published 15 months ago by I.J. Manayath
Very poor. Displays a cursory knowledge and poor grasp of the issues involved. Indeed, some of the author's pronouncements are so ludicrous and ignorant, you wonder if he hasn't... Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2014 by Kimon
Anyone with interest in The Cyprus Problem would find it interesting to read but in my vie would not be much better able to understand the issues involved let alone any possible... Read morePublished on 4 Nov. 2013 by M.Pandeli