Greek Turkish Cypriot couples award shows ethnic division no barrier to love

Greek Cypriot Michalis Michael with his Turkish Cypriot wife Sukran Ozerdem attend an award ceremony at the Stelios Haji-Ioannou Cafe near a United Nations-controlled buffer zone cutting across Cyprus’ divided capital Nicosia on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. For helping to chip away at ingrained prejudices in ethnically-divided Cyprus, the couple was the recipient of a 10,000 euro ($11,084) award from Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

For Greek Cypriot Michalis Michael and his Turkish Cypriot wife Sukran Ozerdem, mistrust born of decades of separation between their rival communities was no barrier to their love.

That became clear to both when their career paths diverged in 2009 after working together for years on a United Nations project to foster cooperation and trust between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

That, Michael said, “made us realize that we cannot live without each other.”

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