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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.4, No.3, Fall 2005 78 A TURKISH-CYPRIOT PERSPECTIVE: RAUF DENKTASH AND NANCY CRAWSHAW ON CYPRUS 1 Joshua W. Walker* The history of Cyprus is among one of the most well-researched and well- documented cases of any island in the world. Given its geographic and strategic position as the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea along the main routes between Europe and Asia, located west of Syria and south of Turkey, Cyprus has historically been controlled by several states seeking to gain a foothold for Middle East invasions. Being too small to defend themselves, Cypriots have grown accustomed to a history of living at the mercy of the dominant power in the area. As a result, the island has been bought and sold, transferred from one ruler to another, without the Cypriots ever being consulted. While the history of Cyprus may be well-known and documented, the interpretations and implications of this history have been far from unified. Generally, for historical and geopolitical reasons, ethnic Greeks get a hearing in the West more easily than ethnic Turks do. Therefore for the purpose of this paper I hope to present a new perspective to the discourse that surrounds the island and the remarkable impact it has on world Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.4, No.3, Fall 2005 79 politics. Even the short historical summary that will be offered in this introduction, when viewed from the polarizing lenses of Greek or Turkish perspectives can be criticized as not offering the proper vantage point for the Cyprus Problem. However this paper seeks to introduce two authoritative viewpoints from which we can examine the less broadcast Turkish-Cypriot side of the story. A History of Conquerors Greeks were the first to gain control of Cyprus in the thirteenth century B.C., and they continued to dominate the island until the Ottoman takeover of 1571, after which Turkish immigrants began to inhabit the island. During the weakening of the Ottoman Empire and in the wake of the Ottoman Empires war with Russia, the United Kingdom negotiated to become the protecting power over Cyprus. Great Britain officially gained sovereignty over the island in 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, and Cyprus became a British Crown Colony the following year. 2 This history of domination has left an indelible impact on the island, most notably through the presence of two distinct communities of Greeks and Turks. Though considering Cyprus their historical homes, these communities are too small to defend themselves and have looked to their respective homelands for protection against their occupiers. Historically these inhabitants have never been consulted by their rulers and have not developed a sense of Cypriot unity. In the wake of World War Two and the disintegration of the British Empire, this historical pattern was followed when an independent Cypriot state was negotiated and conceived of by the former occupiers of the island, Britain, Greece, and Turkey....
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 351 taught by Professor Shaw during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.
- Fall '08