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Low Hopes in Cyprus

Progress But No Promise of a Reunification Deal

A barrel near the barricade in the UN-controlled buffer zone in Nicosia, Cyprus, January 12, 2017. Yiannis Kourtoglou / Reuters

As an international conference on Cyprus got underway in Crans–Montana, Switzerland on June 28, dozens of Turkish and Greek Cypriot protestors gathered at checkpoints along the UN-patrolled buffer zone in the capital of Nicosia. Singing songs and banging drums in the early summer heat, the demonstrators carried an array of banners. “We want a solution now!” read one. “No more waiting!” demanded another.

Indeed, 54 years have passed since this green line first divided the Cypriot capital. In 1963, intercommunal violence broke out between the island’s Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority, threatening the country’s stability and bringing UN peacekeepers to the island. Tensions continued, however, eventually culminating in a Greek-backed coup d’état in 1974 that sought to join Cyprus to Greece. In response, Turkey invaded and captured the north, leading to the de facto division of the island. Over four decades of uneasy peace followed, punctuated by efforts

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