Forgotten world (21): Cyprus

On four occasions now, I’ve had a week-long feature on NightHawk devoted to parts of the world that tend to be under-reported or even forgotten. You can check out the previous 20 entries here. This week, I plan to run a fifth series of postings on this theme.
Let’s start with Cyprus. On the one hand, this is a beautiful, sun-kissed island in the Mediterraean where 800,000 live and many British tourists go to enjoy cheap food and wine and obtain a good tan while taking in some ancient cultural arifacts. On the other hand, this is a European nation which has been physically and bitterly divided on ethnic grounds since a Turkish invasion of the northern third of the island in 1974.
Two years ago, it looked as if peace talks might at last resolve the division but then negotiations broke down. So the Greek and Turkish communities are still split with a “Green Line” – dividing the two parts from Morphou through the capital Nicosia to Famagusta – patrolled by United Nations troops. Some 30,000 Turkish troops remain stationed in the north.
Today the Cypriot President is Tassos Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader is Mehmet Ali Talat. Talat campaigned strongly in favour of the UN reunification plan which was put to a referendum in 2004 when the Turkish Cypriot community gave it firm backing.
Cyprus is now a members state of the European Union, but there is no way that Turkey will ever be admitted to the EU until its occupation of northern Cyprus is resolved. The EU and UN need to revitalise negotiations on the future of Cyprus and end the international isolation of the north.