Walking around the Old City on the Turkish side, one is struck by the age of the buildings. A Turkish bath and a cathedral-turned-mosque are centuries old. A caravanserai of ochre-brown stone blocks has been lovingly restored to a quadrangle of restaurants and craft shops.
Then one looks down a side street and finds it blocked by a barrier of sheet metal, topped by barbed wire. It bears a red sign with a black silhouette of an armed soldier and says, “military zone, entry prohibited.” Peeking over the barrier, one sees dilapidated buildings that nobody has entered for 40 years and a road overgrown with weeds.
It is a reminder of Cyprus’ bloody past; the 1960s and ’70s when Turkish and Greek Cypriots killed each other. It is also an indictment of the present. Germans tore down their wall 25 years ago, but Cypriots have learned to live with their division.
In a bid to shake them out of this complacency, the UN has announced the resumption of negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots next month. And on April 26, Turkish Cypriots are poised to elect a leader whose record as mayor of Turkish Nicosia in 1976-90 makes him their best chance of reaching a settlement.
Mustafa Akinci finished second in the first round April 19 …………..
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