Can a Cyprus Solution Provide a Blueprint for Palestine? 51


There is a depressing familiarity to the Cyprus peace talks which have just broken up in Geneva. The proposals, issues and arguments are extremely similar to those which featured in the rejected Annan plan in 2004, and before that in talks I helped broker between Denktash and Clerides in 1994.

I was head of the FCO’s Cyprus Section from 1992-4 when we made a concerted effort to achieve a resolution, based on the fact that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots had leaders of commanding authority, who had as young men been partners in a law firm together. As usual, I attempted to use very personal diplomacy to convince the parties of my own sincerity. This caused one of my more threatening FCO career hiccoughs when I had a private, long and enjoyable lunch with Rauf Denktash. Denktash afterwards gave an enthusiastic report of it to a close confidante, who happened also to be an MI6 agent. MI6 issued an intelligence report based on this agent’s account, including that I had stated that our Ambassador to Cyprus, David Dain, was much too close to the Greek Cypriots and his positions were not always the reflection of the view in London. There were also some unflattering comments on Dain’s personal vanity.

I had not actually made the remark straight out about Dain’s view not reflecting London, though Denktash had probably picked up my sub-text correctly. I am sorry to say the more personal remark was probably accurate. You see, Denktash hated Dain with a passion, and to have responded to that with a straight defence would not have helped persuade Denktash to trust me. Plus I was in fact truthful about London perception. What was not helpful was for MI6 to include these remarks in their report. They did so because MI6 did not actually want us to achieve a peace settlement on Cyprus. It is the old Imperial divide and rule. A united Cyprus would very soon start demanding the return of the British sovereign base areas. So there you are – I was undermining David Dain and MI6 were undermining me. Welcome to how the British government really works – and those of you who have read Sikunder Burnes already will precisely recognise the syndrome.

But on the substance, the outlines of the settlement were very similar to those currently being discussed. A federal system, with specific provisions for rotation of executive posts, and a land division giving the Turkish region approximately 29%. I was personally troubled by the idea of any ethnic provisions in the constitution – reserving or rotating specified posts according to ethnicity seemed to me wrong then, and still does now. But it was put to me strongly that these were the established understandings on which a settlement might be reached, so that was the basis of the Denktash/Clerides talks in 1994, and of the Annan plan a decade later. To me, its fundamental flaw was a failure to permit free movement for all Cypriots throughout the island. For North and South Cyprus to be separate states inside a national federation seems to me reasonable, and revolving executive positions between North and South Cypriots is also reasonable, but not if people are defined ethnically rather than by place of residence, and not if there are ethnic settlement restrictions internally. I believe these proposals still exist in the current negotiations.

However I was just a facilitator and I am not a Cypriot, so I tried, over 20 years ago, to help broker an agreement including ethnic provisions which I personally disliked. The biggest practical difficulty was agreeing the territorial division – while around 29% was not hard to settle, precisely which areas was. The major problem was the extremely strong political influence of the Morphou community among Greek Cypriots. The Turkish side was willing to give up the Karpass Peninsula. This made much sense – in Greek Cyprus, every centimetre of shore is covered in cement and every grain of sand with a sunbed. The Karpass has miles of the most beautiful and undeveloped beaches on the island. By comparison, Morphou has famous orange groves. These have much less commercial value but a hold on the psyche you probably have to be a Greek Cypriot to understand. To give up Karpass leaves Turkish Cyprus integral. To give up Morphou splits it in two. Plus there was then a surviving Greek Cypriot community in Rizokarpass. If I could have persuaded Clerides to give up Morphou for Karpass, I think we could have made great ground in 1994.

We failed because both Greek and Turkish Cypriots were less interested in actually reaching an agreement than in asserting their victimhood. The truth of the matter is that it is both pointless and difficult to ascribe blame to the two communities. You could choose any starting point in a thousand years. Many original Cypriots naturally changed religion and ethnicity according to their masters at the time. The island’s history of both civilisation and conflict is truly fascinating. In the modern conflict, the attempt by Greece to annex Cyprus as the first act of a military dictatorship was very wrong. The wave of ethnic cleansing and atrocity following the subsequent Turkish invasion was also very wrong. Turkey’s deliberate and aggressive importation of settlers to change the population balance was wrong. But we are where we are. Greek fury that the world does not accept their simplistic story of Turkish invasion and persecution lay behind the Greek rejection of the Annan scheme in the 2004 referendum. For the EU to admit Cyprus to membership before a settlement was reached was a massive mistake.

There should be much more protest at the fact that, in 2016, Britain still maintains ownership of large parts of the territory of Cyprus and bases substantial military forces in occupation there. This is straightforward Imperialist aggression. Britain uses Cyprus purely in order to interfere militarily in the Middle East, which a large majority of people now realise is not in the interest of the ordinary British population. By giving up its Cypriot territory, Britain could contribute very substantially to breaking the impasse in negotiations.

So here we are again, another decade on and another peace process. My experience of Cyprus was a massive help to me in understanding the Balkans, where the underlying issues are precisely the same. But I also see an interesting parallel with Palestine.

Rather than two state entities, the international community has always insisted that Cyprus must remain a single state, but one which will have a federal structure with provisions for sharing and rotating executive power between communities. While Turkish mass importation of settlers might have been illegal, talks have proceeded on the basis that people are where they are and reverse ethnic cleansing is not the solution.

For me, these principles should also apply to Palestine. There are not two viable states in Israel/Palestine, the land of the Palestinian authority having been split into a few tiny and isolated Bantustans. What is needed is a unitary state of Palestine incorporating all the land of Israel/Palestine, with Federal states within it, and power sharing and rotation arrangements. The principle that people are where they are should apply to the bulk of illegal settlers in Palestine as in Cyprus. Compensation arrangements should be very important; reverse ethnic cleansing on any large scale should be shunned. A deal on Cyprus has been stalled for fifty years, but at least people are talking. It is time for Israelis and Palestinians to start a conversation too, and for the international community to acknowledge that the “two state solution” was only ever a sham, a cover for the slow but very sure Palestinian genocide we are witnessing.

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51 thoughts on “Can a Cyprus Solution Provide a Blueprint for Palestine?

      • Shatnersrug

        Do you have any idea on overthrowing the Murdoch empire – as I learned from you, Murdoch has a aggressive financial interest in the shape of Genie oil, and therefor – being that he rules Britain – or at least British politicians, I can’t see him supporting a closure of British bases in Cypress – or anywhere else where his interests could be protected by British military force.

        Unfortunately until the defeat of Murdochian ideology – and that will take more than just the passing of the man – I can see no way that Britain can progress in a positive manner.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Don’t have a theory about it. Just interested in your ideas.

    Seems to me that the sovereign bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia have increasingly complicated the peace process in Cyprus, given Britain’s increasing, covert bombing in Syria from there, the phasing out of Diego Garcia as a military center, and London’s possibly going it alone in foreign policy, especially towards Russia.

    • lysias

      If by London’s going it alone towards Russia you mean Britain continuing hostility towards Russia even if Russian-American relations warm up, wouldn’t that be a crazy policy? Another Suez that wouldn’t even have the justification of substantial British interests being at stake?

  • Ron Showalter

    “It is time for Israelis and Palestinians to start a conversation too…”

    Please do not fall back into the rhetoric of oppression.

    “Conversation/debate” are words used purposefully by oppressors/propagandists to inoculate our thoughts w/ the idea that there is some sort of parity in situations where – especially vis a vis Israel – there can be none.

    There is no moral equivalency between the two sides of the Israel/Palestine “conflict”: Israel is a murderous, supermacist state that was originally/illegally given land that did not belong to them by a group of Western powers and that has subsequently used every minute of its existence to further wipe out the indigenous population there.

    From it’s shakiest of “legal” beginnings and onward, Israel has been a rogue genocidal state in violation of scores of UN violations but since they enjoy the aegis of the US/Western world’s protection they carry on with limitless impunity extending even to our ability to think/discuss the situation.

    Example: How many people understand that Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation is conducted under the auspices of accepted international laws against occupation? Hardly anyone it appears as we must ceaselessly listen for calls of “debate/conversation” so that both sides can be heard.

    Due to the realpolitik, it appears that only via the ground-up – e.g., BDS – can there be any possible change to the situation.

    Israel must be recognized as the international pariah it is by everyone and hopefully we can then influence are leaders to do the right thing.

    Bleak.

    • Kief

      Indeed. It’s amazing how many seemingly intelligent people are swayed by the spoken word as though it’s Jack’s Beans, certain to grow into a larger-than-life stalk.

      Pay no attention to words unless behaviors back them up.

  • Phil Ex Frog

    A blessing and a curse. The good and bad. We the chaps from the FCO came to help, to tell Johnny Foreigner how best run the show, for their own good. I remember the long nights of wee drams charming their leaders and bedding their womenfolk. They all loved me but alas to no avail. Still the planes keep coming. The soldiers camped. My good efforts forever thwarted by the other side of the river. Oh the ambiguities of empire! Buy my book!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,

    There are two salient facts that convincing me that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is intractable:-

    1.”… reserving or rotating specified posts according to ethnicity seemed to me wrong then, and still does now.” Ethnicity and religion are central in the state of Israel.

    2. The US is central to any lasting settlement of the conflict but is never an honest broker. On something as fundamental as not building beyond the 1967 border and not expanding settlements there is no effort on America’s part to ensure that Israel abides by international law.

    How then does any honest diplomat move forward when such conditions obtain? Israel in effect is cossetted by the US in its wrongdoing.

  • K Crosby

    You’re whistling in the wind Craig, the oiz’s never intended to do a deal with the rightful owners of Palestine. They’ve spent the last 70 years emulating the Germans in Poland and the British in…. well, everywhere. Your idea depends on good faith and there isn’t any.

  • Sharp Ears

    I see Dain got his KCVO.

    He’s as pretentious as Crawford. Name drops too.

    Sir David Dain KCVO CMG This is Virginia Crowe talking to Sir David Dain in his house in Cornwall on 29 September 2003.
    Reasons for joining the Diplomatic Service in 1963BDOHP Biographical Details and Interview Index
    DAIN, David (born 30 October 1940)
    CMG (1991), KCVO (1997)
    Career (with, on right, relevant pages in interview)
    https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/media/uploads/files/Dain.pdf

    His photo taken at a do at the Greek Embassy in 2013,
    Sir David Dain, Chairman of the Anglo-Hellenic League with Vassiliki Campbell Country Manager of the National Bank of Greece
    http://www.allaboutshipping.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ELVENIZELOS-04062013-060-300×225.jpg

    • Sharp Ears

      When googling Dain, one of those Google privacy things came up which you have to sign ‘I agree; before you can proceed. Is Dain a member of a protected species or something?

      So I used DuckDuckGo.

      Anyway, this article came up as 5th in the list and when looking for an image of Dain, the cover of Sikunder Burnes was on the page!

      • Shatnersrug

        No, it’s because you are signed into your gmail account and they’ve just altered their terms and conditions, undoubtedly in their favour.

        Sign out and search again

  • Ba'al Zevul

    One of the great insolubles, I fear. The ideal would presumably be an undivided community, but that is always going to be subject to the whims and the propaganda of both mainland powers. I’m told that before the Greek aggression, people got on well enough, regardless of ethnicity, and for a very long time after the division, the Greeks declined to occupy Turkish properties in the south, and vice versa in the north.. Trouble is, Cyprus is a strategic asset. The south is already as much Russian as British sphere-of-influence, no doubt aided by the Moustache Petes who still want enosis, and gather in Limassol bars to plot it. If we go, I trust I will not be accused of Russophobia if I suggest that Putin will be very happy to fill the vacuum, (1)as a lever with the Turks in his back yard, (2) to consolidate his relations with the Orthodox Greeks and their kin in the Balkans, and (3) as backup for Tartus in Syria and elsewhere in the ME. He might also like our very sophisticated listening facilities on Troodos.

    If I were a Russian, I would be all in favour of our going. I’m not, and I don’t.

    • Macky

      ” I’m told that before the Greek aggression, people got on well enough, regardless of ethnicity, and for a very long time after the division, the Greeks declined to occupy Turkish properties in the south, and vice versa in the north.”

      The two people got on so well that before the WW2 they often both demonstrated together against the harshness of British Colonial Rule; right about the Greek holding the empty Turkish properties for decades, wrong about the Turkish side doing so, as they imported Colonists from Turkey immediately after to change the ethnography of northern Cyprus; they overdid it, as these new settlers were so despised by the indigenous Turkish-Cypriots, that many left for Britain.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        I’ll stick to what I said, Macky. There was some reciprocity between indigenous Cypriot communities, though it probably wasn’t universal on either side, and is pretty well invisible now. The available history is so unrelentingly partisan, either for the Greeks or the Turks, that any source I supply will be contentious. I’ll just add – from different personal sources – that the Greeks during the EOKA actions were regarded by UK troops as absolute scum for their treatment of anyone who got in their way…we rather liked the Turks, who were a lot less barbaric. As, I may say, I do. Each to their own. I believe the weather’s nice in Moscow in winter, eh, Macky?

  • Macky

    What no mention that the UK as a Guarantor Power, failed & is still failing in its legal obligation to end the illegal Turkish occupation !

    No mention that your misleading “ attempt by Greece to annex Cyprus “, hides the factor that is was the CIA backed Junta of the Colonels who were tricked into trying to assassinate President Makarios, and uniting Cyprus with Greece.

    “You could choose any starting point in a thousand years“

    Er, the Turks conquered Cyprus in 1571, a full century after they conquered most of Greece.

    “We failed because both Greek and Turkish Cypriots were less interested in actually reaching an agreement than in asserting their victimhood. “

    Subjective nonsense; far easier to appear impartial by trying to blame both sides equally.

    The “we are where we are now” argument is an immoral & an open invitation for Countries to annex territory belonging to others; why bother having laws at all !

    And you were the head of the FCO’s Cyprus Section ! No wonder Cyprus is still divided, if you were the best they put on the case !

    • Shatnersrug

      Oh macky there is no need to be rude to your host – you’ve enjoyed commenting on here for many a year. It maybe your view that Craig was in denial or Naive at the time – certainly the “Britain as a force for good” propaganda is believed much stronger within some government organisations than amongst even among the public. And maybe Craig felt he could be a personal force for good – as he demonstrates here, this experience opened his eyes to the true nature of British foreign policy.

      I think dismissing Craig’s attempts to be a good man shows a sense of armchair politics and very little experience of the game on the ground on your part

      • craig Post author

        Oh Macky is just parroting the Russian/Orthodox propaganda as always. It’s not actually necessary we know it already.

        • Macky

          Feeble Craig, very feeble; if “we are where we are” is your view to solving such crimes, why did you bothered posting about the plight of the Chagossians who were dispossessed even earlier than the 2000, 000 Greek Cypriots who were dispossessed in 1974 ?

      • Macky

        Sorry but I recognise deliberately misleading hogwash when I see it; such “sloppy” or “loosely worded” self-ingratiating statements are the bedrock foundations used in justifications for imperialism. I’m sorry to say that Craig may be out of the FCO, but the FCO is definitely not out of him.

        • craig Post author

          So it is “imperialism” not to accept the Greek annexation of Cyprus? You seem extremely muddled today. Ask Moscow for a reboot.

  • Gulliver

    It’s Rizokarpaso, not Rizokarpass.

    My father was born in Rizokarpaso but left for a new life in England in the 50’s, my paternal grandmother (ya-ya) lived there for many years after the occupation, only leaving when her health started to cause concern. A few years ago my father was told he could go back for a “visit” if he filled in enough forms and jumped through enough hoops. He declined.

    Another reason why any settlement is going to be extremely difficult is the issue around property ownership with many Turkish and EU citizens buying land in the North. Compensation is not going to work for everyone.

    • craig Post author

      Gulliver. Compensation will have to work for pretty well everyone. The idea of returning into the ancestral house and evicting the current occupants is a pipedream – on both sides.

      • Gulliver

        I should perhaps rephrase my last sentence, compensation is not going to be accepted by everyone, I know for a fact it would not be accepted by my father and that many feel the way he feels, including 2 of his brothers who never left Cyprus. People on both sides lost their homes, I think it’s something like 50,000 Turkish Cypriots and 170,000 Greek Cypriots and I fear that this issue will only be amicably resolved when those people are no longer with us.

        It’s also worth mentioning that returning to your ancestral home may not be so much of a pipe dream: –

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolides_v_Orams

        • Macky

          ” 50,000 Turkish Cypriots and 170,000 Greek Cypriots ”

          Not really a fair comparison; the Turkish Cypriots were always/are free to either return to their properties, and a great many have, or “sold” (ie accepted compensation) their homes to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. A great many, some say the majority opted to go & live in the UK, as they didn’t like living with the Settlers from Turkey. Also for many years they were forbidden by the Turkish rulers in the North to cross over to the South, but now there thousands of Turkish Cypriots living quite happily in the South. Contrast that to what has happen to the enclaved Greek Cypriots, virtually eliminated either through violence, intimidation or Israeli like methods like no returning back if you have to go to a hospital or school in the South.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Rizokarpaso….

      Forgive me, but until the Karpass peninsula is annexed to the south, shouldn’t that be Dipkarpaz?

      /ducks hail of bullets

  • Macky

    As you were enjoying your lunch so much with Rauf Denktash, did you know that he admitted, on the BBC series “Britain’s Grim Legacy”, that it was the Turks who planted bombs in their own Consulate to pretend the Greeks had done ? ; a false flag operation that worked so well, that hundreds died in the resultant inter-communal fighting;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1tUGnWqw2M

    • craig Post author

      Indeed. But that was one of only scores of incidents, and you have entirely missed the point. As soon as Denktash found out what had really happened, he told the truth abut it – and that interview is from 1974. He was straightforward and honest and trying to explain and defuse communal hatred, including by telling such hard truths. I must say that I found such candour and openness generally lacking on the Greek side who were utterly unwilling to admit to any of the numerous crimes committed on their side. Your blaming the Colonels. Makarios and Enosis entirely on the CIA is ludicrous. No Greeks were involved, eh? Giggle.

      • Macky

        No, that interview was from 1984, a full decade after the invasion, ample time for “facts on the ground” & “we are where we are” excuses so favoured by yourself.

        That Greeks Cypriots weren’t so open & candid with British officials such as yourself, is probably due to knowing that the Brits were not honest brokers.

        As to your attempt to blame for the Greek people for the Colonels rather than the CIA, well that’s as despicable as it’s not surprising.

      • Macky

        “But that was one of only scores of incidents,”

        You wouldn’t be trying to downplay that it was the spark, indeed the false-flag dishonest spark, that really set-off the inter-communal violence, from which both sides have never really recovered ?

  • Republicofscotland

    Even if the British decided not to help maintain the division, for their own benefits. Would both parties actually agree on a resolution?

    A similar case can be made for Israel and Palestine, but again would both parties agree to it?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Unfortunately, leaving aside conspiracy theories, there are still four, not two, sides. While it is obviously in Greek and Turkish Cypriot interests to return to the coexistence they have enjoyed before, nationalist Greeks and nationalist Turks – neither necessarily Cypriot – are also involved. Which is tragic, really, since Western Turkish and Western Turkish Greek DNA’s are probably indistinguishable due to their long combined history in the Aegean area as well as Cyprus.

  • fwl

    Is there a divide and rule textbook or does it just come naturally / out of experience? Which powers have avoided the tactic yet still flourished?

    Is there a hypocrites textbook or is that also learnt on the job?

  • M.Boyd

    [Mod: Caught in spam-filter. Timestamp updated.]

    Craig, the ADL categorises a one state solution as anti-semitism since it advocates abrogating the Jewish character of the state.

  • bevin

    [Mod: Caught in spam-filter. Timestamp updated.]

    “Ethnicity and religion are central in the state of Israel.”
    They have to be, but fundamental is the phenomenon of anti-semitism. Without the continuous influx of migrants and investment Israel would very soon wither away leaving a land with a large population of the descendants of Europeans among a much larger population of the descendants of the population indigenous to the land in, say, 1940.
    Israel only makes any sense to Jews as a refuge from persecution and, the truth, happily, is that there really is, outside of the Labour Party*, very little persecution of Jews. In point of fact practitioners of the various rituals and customs derived from Judaism are generally integrated comfortably within the societies of which they form parts.
    To the Zionists this is dreadful news, which is why Israel consistently sets out to provoke and disgust international opinion by such crimes as Operation Cast Lead etc, which are themselves intended to produce violent reactions which can then be re-cycled by propagandists as ‘anti semitic’ ‘existential threats’ and so on.
    What Israel’s rulers fear most is calm, peace and fraternity among the peoples of Palestine. Because if that were to break out the in migration of young people and the investment of money in, for example, West Bank properties would peter out.
    The problem in Palestine, therefore is racist zionism and the fascists who administer it. Until both are addressed there will be no peace there.
    As to BDS, I’m all for it but, unlike South Africa, the Zionist economy is not very susceptible to economic pressure. Indeed the Zionists welcome it and use it as evidence of the fragility of their refuge and the the need for all who sympathise with Jews to sacrifice for the cause.
    And the first thing that supporters of Zionism are required to sacrifice is their morality, their sense of decency, their commitment to justice and their consciences.

    *This is a joke

  • Sharp Ears

    I was looking up Asil Nadir who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012 for fraud.

    ‘On 22 August 2012 Asil Nadir was found guilty on ten counts of theft of nearly £29m from Polly Peck. The jury found him not guilty on three counts. The jury had been advised at the start of the trial that the 13 were specimen charges and the overall amount allegedly stolen was about £146m. He was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.’

    Transferred to Turkey

    ‘In April 2016, Asil Nadir was transferred to a Turkish prison. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “It is right that foreign criminals are properly punished but not at the expense of British taxpayers. This government is committed to removing foreign criminals to their own countries. Since Asil Nadir has now repaid the £2 million he owed the Legal Aid Agency, plus £5 million in compensation he paid earlier, arrangements were made with the Turkish government for his removal as part of our Prisoner Transfer Agreement.’

    Handy that.

    PS Is Sir Philip Green still on the yacht Lionheart in the Med or has he headed for warmer climes?

  • Sharp Ears

    A pleasant stopover for the captain and crew of HMS Bulwark in Haifa. Rugby, football and a visit to Jerusalem the golden. The ex nightclub bouncer Lieberman and the UK Ambassador Quarrey were included in this joint PR exercise.

    British warship docks in Haifa as part of growing cooperation with Israel
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/British-warship-docks-in-Haifa-as-part-of-growing-cooperation-with-Israel-473381

    Meanwhile 700 Bedouin await the demolition of their homes.
    https://www.rt.com/news/367857-bedouin-village-israel-demolition/

  • bevin

    John Helmer has an excellent piece on the Cyprus nehgotations at his blog. the link below is from Russian Insider
    http://russia-insider.com/en/four-nails-coffin-mean-victory-cypriot-sovereignty-backed-greek-principle-and-russian-arms/ri17748

    In my experience the 2017 word of the year- nominated here- appears in this excerpt:

    “Typical two-faced Norwegian,” comments a Cyprus source close to the Foreign Ministry. “Eide is ingratiating, and claims to be even-handed. In practice, he’s doing what NATO and the US want. A ventriloquisling.”
    “Ventriloquisling”!!!

  • Old Mark

    Depressingly familiar indeed; the mooted ‘Cyprus’ solution which, as Craig writes, is ‘for North and South Cyprus to be separate states inside a national federation’ appears to be once again dead in the water. However If this concept won’t fly in Cyprus (where it would indeed make economic and political sense) it is difficult to see how the hell it can be made to work in Israel /Palestine, where any solution that negates the concept of Israel as a ‘Jewish State’ is considered almost blasphemous by the same ‘international community’ that in other contexts is so keen to avoid solutions based on a formal recognition of ethnic divisions.

    Bosnia is other the prime example of the ‘international community’ attempting to apply a single state sticking plaster solution to a territory disputed by, in that case, 3 constituent national groups. (Confusingly Dayton created a ‘federation’ based on 2, not 3 separate states, shoehorning the Bosnian Croats & Bosnian Muslims into one half of a 2 way ‘federation’ ).

    FWIW Dayton also is in serious danger of unravelling, given yet another referendum result which ‘went the wrong way’ as far as the ‘international community’ is concerned-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37465653

  • nevermind

    Great post and so many similarities…

    There should be much more protest at the fact that, in 2016, Britain still maintains ownership of large parts of the territory of Cyprus and bases substantial military forces in occupation there.
    and
    There should be much more protest at the fact that, in 2016, the US still maintains ownership of large parts of the territory of Gt. Britain and bases substantial military forces there.
    I’ve been to Cyprus in 1969 and was astonished how much different views existed in Famagusta then, Greeks were trading with Turks, but it was hush hush, nobody wanted to be seen doing it. Turks and Cypriots have lived together for hundreds of years in harmony, despite the many attempts by the Turks of occupying it.

    For whatever reason this situation still exists, my bet is on the need for surveillance of the ME during the cold war, it suited the west to keep these two at loggerheads and divided. Today, my hunch, its the tapping into the sea floor cables data streams that pass by Cyprus, not just the ME’s but also for further afield, East Asia and China, full spectrum surveillance.

    With Turkeys tacit decoupling of its western options, NATO’s once trusted ally is flip flopping in anger for being marked as the fall guy, at NATO’s/US accusations of having shuttled arms to ISIS, and Putin is once again in the dictators good books. This could spell a period of acute tension in Cyprus, an old festering pustula that needed lancing right after the Turkish occupation in 1974.

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