The Refugee Dilemma

One reason Greek Cypriots rejected last April UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the reunification of Cyprus was that an overwhelming majority of them felt it did not do justice to the claims of refugees displaced during the 1974 Turkish invasion. This was also one of the few occasions when international public opinion became aware that there was a refugee problem on the island, because few people knew that refugees from that war still exist.

When Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 after an abortive attempt by the Greek military junta in Athens to carry out Enosis (unification with Greece), 250,000 or so Greek Cypriots were uprooted from their homes. Some fled in terror from the invading army, some were expelled - the usual complex, morally problematic picture that emerges in such situations.

Although overwhelmed, the Greek Cypriot community reacted with humanity, solidarity, and prudence. Initially, refugees camps were set up, but the Greek Cypriot government decided that while it will not surrender the refugees' claim eventually to return to their homes in the North, it would do its utmost in the interim not to leave them vegetating in squalid camps.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/1bfV5Ow;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.