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New Left Review I/29, January-February 1965


James Hughes

The Cypriot Labyrinth

The communal fighting which broke out between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on December 21st, 1963, seems, at the moment of writing, to have reached a stalemate. Of the 104,000 Turks, some 60,000 are crowded, either into their own quarter of Nicosia, or in the strip of land running northwards towards the Kyrenia range where the Turkish Army Contingent is dug in. Elsewhere there are similarly embattled concentrations; the result of evacuations (not always voluntary) of Turkish Cypriots in vulnerable areas, carried out in the January lull in hostilities. In other towns like Limassol, the Turkish minorities grimly sit it out, dependent for their safety on the patrolling un Force and, more importantly, on a certain Greek reluctance to recommence battle with their exfriends and neighbours. The United Nations Force (unficyp) has had some success in dismantling strongpoints, reopening communications, and preventing outbreaks of violence. Its individual members have shown, with one or two exceptions, a commendable restraint in the face of golden opportunities for gunrunning. Yet the political outlook is almost as gloomy as ever. So many conflicting interests are involved that a solution satisfactory to all parties can be ruled out. But it is clear that any effort to resolve the present impasse which does not take into account the sequence of events which led up to it must be rejected, or, worse, create conditions for yet another crisis in a year or two’s time. It is the purpose of this article to put the situation into some kind of historical perspective.

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