The European Union And A Divided Cyprus

1513 words - 6 pages

The Implications for the European Union of Cyprus being divided between Turkey and Greece

The island of Cyprus is the third largest in the Mediterranean with the 2002 population around 705,5000. Its main economic activities include banking, craft exports, merchant shipping, and tourism, which accounts for twenty percent of business (europa.eu.int). For almost thirty years it has been split between Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots. The ongoing feud between the two groups and the split of the island in 1974 has lead to much political tension in Europe, especially with the European Union expanding its membership and adding, as of now, only half of the island of Cyprus in May 2004.

History

Cyprus has always been a center of international trade because of its key location in the Mediterranean between Europe and the Middle East. Greeks settled here in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, bringing the Greek language with them. Because of its close proximity to Turkey, Turks also moved to the island (europa.eu.int). In 1960 the island gained independence from British rule (eubusiness.com 11/4/03). The two groups of occupants had a bi-communal structure with each group speaking their own language and holding to their own traditions until 1963 when violence broke out between the two groups. The United Nations sent peacekeeping forces, which are still there to this day. In August of 1974 the Greek Cypriots tried to join Greece and the Turk Cypriots called for forces from Turkey; this act split the island. The capitol of the island, Nicosia, still has a wall splitting the two sides, much like the Berlin wall (europa.eu.int). The two sides are separated by barbed wire, pillboxes, and soldiers carrying guns (The Economist Jan 18-24 2003). The south side of the island, occupied by Greeks is now called the Republic of Cyprus. The north side is referred to as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but is only recognized as a country by Turkey (europa.eu.int). While the Greek side has much prosperity and low unemployment rates, the Turkish side has much poverty and is underdeveloped (The Economist March 15-21 2003). There have been numerous efforts at peace since the 1970s, but none have worked (eubusiness.com 11/4/2003). The summer of 1996 is an example of this, when there were many incidents of hostility among the line between the two sides, leaving several dead (europarl.eu.int). In July of 1990 the Republic of Cyprus applied for membership to the European Union in the name of the entire island (europa.eu.int). The European Union agreed to admit Cyprus, along with nine other candidates into the union in 2004 (The Economist Jan 18-24 2003). This accession to the Union was unanimously approved by Cypriot parliament (eubusiness.com 11/4/2003). Cyprus has always been considered ?European.? It has been a full member of the Council of Europe since 1961 and has concluded an Association Agreement with Eruopean Economic Community in 1972...

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