Another side of Cyprus
Cyprus is a beautiful Mediterranean island country at the crossroads of more than 10,000 years of history. Mycenaeans, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, Ottomans and the British ruled the island and now, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronite Cypriots, Latin Cypriots and Armenian Cypriots are sharing the island.
Cyprus has been a ‘de facto’ divided island in the middle of the Mediterranean and has such bad reputation that Nicosia is the last barbed wire divided capital city in Europe since the early 1960s.
Since then, the island has been split into two parts, Northern Cyprus and Southern Cyprus. The administration of the Republic of Cyprus - the internationally recognised and EU member government of Cyprus rule Southern Cyprus, where Greek Cypriot community populates almost the entire South. Northern Cyprus constitutes 37 percent of the island and populated by Turkish Cypriots and is controlled by the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognised only by Turkey).
European Union is the biggest peace project that unifies and combines the daily lives of people from 27 different countries, cultures and societies. The model of European Union ensures to provide liberal democracies and a respectable place for everyone. This model is supposed to provide European diversity through innovative actions connected to European citizens’ daily life, such as democracy at local level, institution functioning, cultural identities, local economy, social services, health, living conditions and safety.
Youth is the basic progressive action group of Europe and it cannot be limited within the borders of EU. Co-operative, analytic, interrogative thinkers will rule the Europe. So Youth has it all across the Europe. Having the chance to travel all around Europe is the greatest chance for young people as I think this is one thing that youth always looks for. Travel freely, work freely and live freely is the main objectives for being youth.
EU is working a kind of federal state. Globalisation has indeed a political sphere and this is where a debate about Europe’s responsibilities goes hand in hand with the global promotion of federal values. The volume of the EU and decision making process make EU to work so clumsy. This is the negative and most important point of the EU.
EU is a great opportunity for young people to create such a world, which does not include weapons, wars and tears.
Being a Turkish Cypriot Young person in EU
As I mentioned above, Cyprus is a divided island and only South of Cyprus is the member of EU and so EU Law does not apply to the North. Turkish Cypriot young people do not have the same opportunity as other European youth have. We have the territory which is not in EU, but personally everybody is a citizens of the EU. Our language, Turkish, is not an official language, our universities are not fully recognised, we do not have EU institutions and representatives in North. Because of the political barriers Turkish Cypriot youth feels like the second class EU citizens. We do not have the opportunity to exercise all benefits of the EU which is supplied for youth. So, for now EU is a kind of destiny for us to go for. We are looking for more relations and cooperation from the EU member countries.
I am a young progressive lawyer in North Cyprus who gained diploma in UK. However, it is hard for me to find a job in EU because of the language problems. We have been living isolated from the world since 40 years and of course our priorities were different. I graduated last month and I need to join army in Cyprus for a year. After that I will try to get my own office and start to work.
Cypriots: The way we are
Whoever said that civilization started on the table and variety was the spice of life surely had Cyprus in mind. Food is one of the most important ‘tool’ for Cypriots. We build our relations on food. We spend long time on table by chatting, drinking, sharing. We put more than 20 kinds of food ? which we call MEZE ( ‘taste, snack’ often consists of variety of little dishes hot or cold, spicy or savory) - on the table. This makes the conversations last longer and be more tasty.
Cypriot people speak really loud and it can be funny that when we speak among ourselves, foreigners always think that we are arguing and shouting at each other. We are really sincere and emotional people, who like to use our hands while we are speaking.
Future the way I’d like to see
I wish only one thing for my future. To see Cyprus united and for it to be in the EU. It will open many doors, which we have been waiting to be opened for a long long time.
Urun Solyali, Cyprus
Images: Cyprus, Barbed wire in Nicosia, Meze
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