Will the Island of Love reunite?

Greetings from the the Republic of Cyprus where clear signs of summer are in the air and I have already reverted to wearing short sleeve shirts.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the divide in Northern Cyprus last weekend elections were held. The resounding winners were the UBP, spearheaded by Dervis Eroglu, who was actually a former Turkish Cypriot ‘Prime Minister’. His party won 44.06% of the vote, giving them an outright majority in the 50-seat parliament. With contrasting fortunes, the ruling Republican Turkish Party (CTP) who are aligned with the current Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, took just 29.25% of the vote, thus becoming an early Political consequence of public discontentment due to a weakend economy in addition to the perception of ongoing international isolation.

Subsequently, this vote was nothing short of significant defeat for the CTP and also personally for the credibility of Talat, who only last year proactively started peace talks with the Cypriot Republic leader President Demetris Christofias.

The UBP advocates a two-state settlement on Cyprus and are reported to be at odds with the present federal model now being discussed by Talat and Christofias. As UDP party now controls parliament, it may give Talat less room for manoeuvre in the existing complex talks that are filled with emotion and delicate topics.

Talat did make a statement that the peace talks would not be affected and the UBP said it did not seek to scupper negotiations. However, clearly there is concern, especially as the UDP
have already requested more direct involvement in the process.

A source in the UBP said: "We are most definitely going to send a representative to the talks with Talat, and this is something that Talat has accepted." Diplomats say the Talat-Christofias talks offer a glimmer of hope that the conflict can be resolved. They are both viewed as moderates and are ideologically rooted in the left.

Greek Cypriots want a deal to be an evolution of the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus they run, rather than the union of two states. The events of the weekend could well affect the outcome of talks and the future of the the divided Island. Cyprus has so much Tourism potential and if the Island is unified it may once again rise to be the king of the Mediterranean.  

Happy World Day!
Grant Holmes
Editor, Perpetual Traveller