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International Relations Security

Cyprus: A Mediterranean Symptom

UN Buffer Zone - Ledra, Cyprus / Photo: Jpatokal, Wikipedia

The division of Cyprus embodies most of the challenges that the Mediterranean region is facing today.

In 1974, following the Greek coup attempt, the Turks invaded the island and now occupy the northern part – called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – which is recognized only by Turkey.

Since that time, the frozen conflict over Cyprus has been a sticking point for both the EU and Turkey: the EU for having one of its member states occupied by a foreign country; and Turkey for having its EU accession hopes slowed down.

Cyprus represents a divided region, divided between a Muslim and a Christian community; between an aging side looking for comfort and a youthful one looking for opportunities; between a peaceful Europe with a high GDP and a conflicting Arab world that struggles to adapt to globalization.

It is also divided by a physical wall, the Green Line, which until 2003, was not possible to cross.

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ISN Weekly Theme: Euro-Mediterranean Relations

Turkey flag
Photo: Vyacheslav Argenberg/flickr

It’s the real-life version of Samunel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations: The Euro-Mediterranean region. The area is home not only to some of the most breathtaking sites in the world, it’s also the meeting place of European and North African/Arab cultures. After years of starts and stops the EU and non-EU members in the region are attempting to join together in a sustainable partnership, but hopes aren’t high.

This week, we’re examining Euro-Mediterranean Relations as our weekly theme.

  • In the latest edition of ISN Podcasts, also part of our Special Report, Dr Bichara Khader says that the issue South-to-North migration in the Mediterranean region is a sticking point due to various factors, including the tendency to group the desire to move from one place to another for a better life with illegal acts.

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