It's one of the most militarized areas on the planet. It's home to the world's only divided capital. Since Turkey illegally invaded the island in 1974, the northern part of Cyprus has been filled with abandoned "ghost cities" and 40,000 armed Turkish troops. With reunification talks potentially resuming, will there finally be a resolution to "the Cyprus problem"?
1. The illegal occupation continues to this day
Cypriots of Greek and Turkish decent lived peacefully side by side for hundreds of years. During a period of intercommunal tension, Turkey hatched plans to partition Cyprus. On July, 20, 1974, under the pretense of protecting Turkish Cypriots and restoring the constitutional government of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey invaded the island and occupied about 4 percent of Cyprus. On August 14, 1974, three weeks after the constitutional government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched a second phase of its invasion. The final result was Turkish occupation of 38% of Cyprus, 170,000 Greek-Cypriot refugees, and approximately 1,500 missing Greek-Cypriots.
More than 40 years later, that illegal occupation continues, with tens of thousands of Turkish troops refusing to leave the Republic of Cyprus.
2. The only viable solution is one "by the Cypriots and for the Cypriots"
The Cypriot people deserve a free republic, one without foreign troops patrolling their streets and one where they have the right to return to their homes. A reunited Cyprus does not need — nor can it succeed with — rights of intervention being granted to foreign powers like Turkey. Full sovereignty means no foreign armies, an no guarantees or rights of intervention by foreign powers.
The Republic of Cyprus is committed to a settlement that leads to a reunified state with a single sovereignty and international personality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions. A united Cyprus is the only solution that respects the sovereignty of that nation and the history of its people.
Such a solution is only possible if Turkey commits to ending its occupation and colonization of the northern part of Cyprus. Past efforts to reunify Cyprus failed because of foreign interference. It is time to get out of the way of Cypriots and give them the ability to resolve "the Cyprus problem".
3. Turkey is a barrier to peace
Turkey: continues to occupy Cyprus with more troops than the US used as a surge force in Afghanistan; is changing the demographics in Cyprus by importing settlers from Turkey; is insisting on the continued presence of occupying troops and a right of guarantee; and threatens military force against the Republic of Cyprus' development of its own Exclusive Economic Zone under the international Law of the Sea. There is no way for Cyprus to become an independent, free country again if Turkey insists on wielding the threat of invasion and the presence of occupying forces.