Letter: A way forward for Cyprus

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The Independent Online
Sir:Your readers might be interested to hear the views of a "neutral" Cypriot (letters, 19 August).

As a member of a small community of Armenian Cypriots, I grew up in a Cyprus which was largely peaceful and all Cypriots worked together and most went to school together. However even in those days Cyprus was made up of segregated communities. Towns and villages had separate Greek and Turkish quarters. After working side by side or attending the same schools, Greeks went home to their quarter and Turks to theirs. There was very little integration outside school or their workplace.

There has never been a Cypriot identity. Even in the "good old days" Greek Cypriots pledged allegiance to the Greek flag and sang the Greek national anthem, the Turkish Cypriots pledged allegiance to the Turkish flag and sang the Turkish anthem.

The 1960 Zurich agreement on independence was in effect imposed on the Cypriot people. It states that Greeks and Turks share power on a ratio of 70 per cent and 30 per cent. The population then was made up of 82 per cent Greeks and 18 per cent Turks. Armenians, Maronites and Latin Christians were included in the 82 per cent.

The Greek Cypriots always claimed that the 1960 Zurich agreement was unfair to them and in 1963 tried to renegotiate better terms. Of course the Turkish Cypriots objected and so inter-communal strife began.

Cyprus has in effect been partitioned since 1963. In my opinion the best that can be achieved now is a loose confederation made up of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot zones, with freedom of movement between the two, guaranteed by the original Zurich signatories, Britain, Greece and Turkey.

NAZARET SHAMLIAN

London N10

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