Tocci, Nathalie. (2000) The 'Cyprus Question': Reshaping Community Identities and Elite Interests within a Wider European Framework. CEPS Working Document No. 154, September 2000. [Working Paper]
Since 1963 the ‘Cyprus question’ has proved one of the most intractable intercommunal conflicts within the international system. Despite the assiduous involvement of the United Nations, the long list of negotiations and inter-communal talks have failed to yield any concrete agreement. What are the roots and causes of the ‘Cyprus question’ and what explains the international community’s repeated failures to resolve it? This paper argues that the causes of the ‘Cyprus question’ comprise two crucial dimensions. First, the conflict is caused by the underlying inter-communal dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which is in turn triggered both by real and by imaginary conditions of division and disparity. Second, the ‘Cyprus question’ is the product of a delicate balance of elite interests. Clearly, a solution to the problem must reflect both dimensions. An initial settlement that represents preferable payoffs than the current status quo to both community elites, must be brokered. Thereafter it is possible to tackle the real conditions of division and disparity, which cause the underlying intercommunal conflict. The overarching framework of prosperity and stability provided by the European Union could contribute in both respects by facilitating the formulation and implementation of an initial inter-elite settlement and accelerating the ultimate eradication of the underlying conflict between peoples.
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