21 Reasons Why We Must Unite Cyprus Now

 

1. CYPRUS IS TOO SMALL TO BE DIVIDED

Cyprus is too small to be divided. We are destined to live on this small and beautiful island together. Conflict damages all of us. Unity and prosperity will benefit all of us.

2. BASIC FREEDOMS WILL BE RESTORED

In a united federal Cyprus, it has already been agreed that every individual will have the freedom to move, own property, reside, work and travel freely all over the island.

3. CYPRUS WILL BECOME A STABLE PLACE OF PEACE

Cyprus will have a stable new security framework based on the already agreed principle that the security of one community cannot come at the expense of the security of the other, with Turkey and Greece as close trading partners. Instead of being a source of conflict, a united Cyprus will generate peace, stability and cooperation among all parties. With reunification, Cyprus’ natural resources will be a source of prosperity and cooperation. Without it, they will continue to be a source of tension and conflict. 

4. FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT

Cypriots north and south, east and west share the land, sea and skies. Partition means the island’s coasts; resources and wealth will be exploited without joint planning, by one-sided decisions, and without a common strategy. With federation the existence of a common federal government under the EU umbrella means the EU’s environmentally sensitive rules and regulations will be applied on the entire island.

5. A UNITED CYPRUS MEANS GOOD GOVERNANCE

Politics on both sides of the island are currently marred by nepotism and corruption. Division creates an excuse for corruption to play a role in the decision-making in Cyprus. A united Cyprus will incorporate checks and balances according to European principles. 

6. A UNITED CYPRUS MEANS A EUROPEAN CYPRUS

We will stop raising our children with prejudice, enmity, mistrust and fears. Future generations will have truly European values: multiculturalism, equality, tolerance, solidarity, pluralism and peaceful coexistence. Freed from the fears, security concerns and taboos of today, new Cypriot generations will be self-confident, inspired and open-minded citizens of the world, able to focus on things other than the Cyprus problem. 

7. PROPERTY RIGHTS WILL BE RESTORED

As has already been agreed in the negotiations, everyone’s right to property will be restored. Dispossessed owners will exercise the right to their property through compensation, exchange and reinstatement. Varosha will be returned to its legal owners. Territorial adjustments in a federation will allow the majority of displaced Greek Cypriots (around 100,000) to return to their homes under Greek Cypriot rule. No one will be left with nothing.

8. FAMAGUSTA WILL BE REJUVENATED

The reconstruction of Famagusta will add a whole new seaside resort to Cyprus’ tourist product with the added potential of becoming a brand new thriving eco-city.

9. CULTURAL HERITAGE WILL BE BETTER PROTECTED

Our historical monuments and cultural heritage will be well-protected especially in the northern part of our island. International funds will be available to sustain an integrated strategy to protect and enjoy our common heritage and pass it down to future generations. 

10. OUR DIPLOMATIC ROLE WILL BE UPGRADED  

A united Cyprus will be in the unique position, for the first time, of being on friendly terms with all of its neighbours. In a troubled region this will turn us into a significant regional player, with a major positive impact on our role as a regional diplomat and peace-broker.

11. BEFORE BIGGER POWERS MAKE THEIR OWN DEAL

The geopolitical landscape is changing rapidly, with new and shifting alliances and new interests because of the gas.  For the first time the presence of UNFICYP is at risk. It is not clear how much longer we have to solve the Cyprus problem ourselves, before bigger powers come along and “solve” it among themselves, without any Cypriot input.

12. THE ECONOMY WILL DOUBLE

When Greece and Turkey started rapprochement in the late 1990s, trade and tourism between the two countries ballooned. Economic studies indicate that in twenty years’ time, the GDP of a united Cyprus will be around twice what it would be if Cyprus remains divided. It would go from just over €20bn in 2012 to just under €45bn at today’s prices by 2035, compared with only €25bn without a solution.*

13. FOREIGN INVESTMENT WILL POUR IN

The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, indicated during talks in 2017 that the EU had identified €3.1bn worth of investment for a united Cyprus. Big companies currently based elsewhere will want to take advantage of a safe, stable, EU-member Cyprus on the doorstep of one of the top 20 economies of the world.  Foreign investments will pour in. 

14. YOUR CHILDREN WON’T HAVE TO LEAVE CYPRUS TO FIND BETTER JOBS

A solution would open up the Cyprus market to the €650bn Turkish economy next door, with its 6 million outbound tourists per year and its very high demand for energy. Opportunities will be created for the professional services sector, which is currently over-dependent on a single market. Annual average incomes will be €12,000 higher in 20 years with a solution than without one. More jobs will be created and there will be greater opportunities for the young.* 

15. TOURISM ARRIVALS WILL ACCELERATE

Travel operators will be able to market the whole island with all its natural beauty and great cultural heritage, taking advantage of large and growing market of middle class Turkish tourists. A united Cyprus will become a year-round destination. It would be a hub for business conference tourism and peace conference tourism and niche markets like religious cruise tourism. Tourism will boom with the creation of about €550m additional income per year.* 

16. THE REAL ESTATE SECTOR WILL BOOM

More tourists mean more beds will be needed. Studies show that construction will expand three times as much and reach €2.1bn in 20 years’ time. As the property issues are settled, people will be able to invest in real estate freely all over the island and Famagusta will be reconstructed. It could even be the answer to the NPLs (bad loans) that the banks have been looking for.* 

17. CYPRUS CAN BECOME AN EDUCATION HUB…

A unified education sector, with both sides already teaching in English, can create a strong brand to attract students from all over the world. The sector as a whole is forecast to reach €2.4bn in 20 years, compared with €2bn without a solution.*

18. …AND A REGIONAL SHIPPING CENTRE

Shipping, including transportation and cruise tourism, would be liberated from current constraints. All Cyprus’ ports and airports will become part of the same network, reinforcing the shipping industry as an important income generator for the whole island and making it a regional shipping hub.

19. WE WILL HAVE MORE OPTIONS FOR NATURAL GAS

A solution of the Cyprus problem will offer greater opportunities for exports of natural gas. Without a solution Cyprus’ natural gas will remain a source of tension and could very well remain in the ground. Sharing this resource will bring billions of euros of wealth, expanding job opportunities and lasting peace.

20. IF WE DON’T, PARTITION WILL BECOME PERMANENT

Recent developments already demonstrate that believing that the status quo is sustainable is a dangerous delusion. A negotiated solution now would create the conditions for withstanding the instability and tensions around us. Without a solution, the Green Line will gradually turn into a hard land border with Turkey, opening Cyprus up to any escalation of tension with Turkey, in the seas around Cyprus or in the region. Tens of thousands of troops will remain in Cyprus indefinitely. 

21. FINALLY, WHY NOW?

Because the more time passes new conditions are created on the ground making an agreement harder and harder.

 

* The Cyprus Peace Dividend Revisited