The second peace process at stake is the new attempt to unify Cyprus, which has been divided since its constitutional breakdown in 1963 and Turkey’s invasion in 1974. Indeed, it is bizarre that the capital of an EU member country is divided by a dead zone patrolled for decades by United Nations peacekeeping troops.
The continued division of Cyprus is blocking both the EU accession talks with Turkey and increasingly necessary cooperation between the EU and NATO. But now, under President Nicos Anastasiades and the newly elected president of Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci , there is a real possibility, after years of stalemate, of reaching a settlement that can re-unify the island. UN-supported talks have acquired new and important momentum.
But a settlement will not be possible without the clear support of the Turkish government. The new administration’s stance will thus be critical: Turkey has much to gain by supporting a solution in Cyprus; but it could also revert to old habits and spoil today’s unique opportunity.
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