CIAO DATE: 01/07
Ruf Denktash and Nancy Crawshaw on Cyprus
By Joshua W. Walker
The history of Cyprus is among one of the most well-researched and welldocumented cases of any island in the world. Given its geographic and strategic position as the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea along the main routes between Europe and Asia, located west of Syria and south of Turkey, Cyprus has historically been controlled by several states seeking to gain a foothold for Middle East invasions. Being too small to defend themselves, Cypriots have grown accustomed to a history of living at the mercy of the dominant power in the area. As a result, the island has been bought and sold, transferred from one ruler to another, without the Cypriots ever being consulted.
While the history of Cyprus may be well-known and documented, the interpretations and implications of this history have been far from unified. Generally, for historical and geopolitical reasons, ethnic Greeks get a hearing in the West more easily than ethnic Turks do. Therefore for the purpose of this paper I hope to present a new perspective to the discourse that surrounds the island and the remarkable impact it has on world politics. Even the short historical summary that will be offered in this introduction, when viewed from the polarizing lenses of Greek or Turkish perspectives can be criticized as not offering the proper vantage point for the “Cyprus Problem.” However this paper seeks to introduce two authoritative viewpoints from which we can examine the less broadcast Turkish-Cypriot side of the story.
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