As it turns out from recent relevant literature, an ever increasing number of active citizens in Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, on both sides of the divide, are becoming aware of the dead end road of their 20th century confrontational legacy. This legacy is closely connected with an ethnocentric nationalism, which presupposed ethnically ‘pure’ nation states exclusive of any other ethnic, cultural, or religious identities.1 As the Europeans, in the aftermath of two destructive wars, sought a new paradigm to transcend the futility of nationalism by gradually moving towards the post-modern concept of the European Union, the Helsinki accord of December 1999 marked the beginning of the historic shift from the nationalist ridden adversarial relations of Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, towards a win-win approach and a genuine effort to peacefully settle their differences within the European framework. This process, took on a new dynamic when the AK Party came to power in Turkey and sent out the message of a new conciliatory approach particularly on the Cyprus problem, which, at the time, had attracted worldwide attention owing to the launch of the UN initiative in the form of the Annan Plan.
Cyprus: A Last Window of Opportunity?
The basic premise of this article is that conditions have ripened for an overall settlement of the Cyprus conflict, provided a rational approach prevails in addressing the issues that still remain unresolved. The article first shows that the root of the conflict has been ethno-nationalism and the derivative concept of a nation state. Second, after demonstrating through an historical “flashback” that nationalism has led to a dead-end road in Cyprus, it presents convincing evidence that a steadily increasing number of citizens in both communities of the island are realizing the need to transcend the ethnic division and reach a federal settlement. Finally, based on policies favorable to the exploitation and transportation of hydrocarbon (i.e., the materialization of the Nabucco pipeline strategy), the article, while admitting the complexity of the situation, makes a strong point that natural gas may become a catalyst for a solution in Cyprus. Because, it would benefit all parties involved: Cyprus, Turkey, the EU and other Eastern Mediterranean countries.
The Republic of Cyprus should contribute towards easing tension by finding a way to safeguard that the two communities will equitably share the benefits of hydrocarbon resources.
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