By Mykola Demchuk.
Even though peace deal failed I still want to share with you my own experience in Cyprus and how peace can be built without political will.
Ukraine has a similar situation as Cyprus with occupied territory and self-declared states. However, I do not hear anything about youth involvement from both sides of Ukraine to promote peace and cooperation. Thus, I think Cypriot experience could be a good example for Ukraine.
Just yesterday I came from Cyprus where I was participating in the youth exchange against human trafficking. Besides the project, I was interested in knowing Cyprus better that’s why I was asking many questions my Cypriot friends.
As you know Cyprus is divided into two parts i.e. Greek Cyprus or Cyprus and The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (also known as self-declared territory according to UNSC resolutions). This post is dedicated to youth from both sides and their involvement in building a peace between Greek and Turkish communities who are living in different parts of Cyprus.
While crossing check points on my way to self-declared part of Nicosia, which is the only divided capital in Europe, we met Turkish Cypriots who were giving the branch with the sign about peace on it (you can see on the photo above). Closer to check points of both sides there are many signs and nice campaigns about a peace organized by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Along with this there is also a special place between two borders where youth from both side organize sports, education and social events together. Good experience to eliminate hatred and grow up in peace and respect to each other. I must admit that Greek and Turkish youth are living peacefully and are focused only on cooperation. I am happy to observe this.
There are many events that bring together youth from Cyprus and the state in the North where they are cultivating peace through discussions of how to foster entrepreneurship together, build trust and eradicate stereotypes.
One question is do they want to be reunited again? According to the answers I have got I can say that most of Greek Cypriots (I did not ask this Turkish Cypriots) do not want the reunification because of the economic reason. It comes as no surprise that Greek Cyprus is much more developed and rich land compared to Turkish part of Cyprus. Not all of Greek Cypriots are ready to suffer for reunification. They just want peace and stability and they have already got used to the current situation. To put it in nutshell, Greek Cypriots say “yes” for building peace, but for reunification say mostly “no” because of fear to face economic, migration and social problems.
All of this information is purely my personal experience and perception.
Feedback and comments are welcome.