Cypriots Search for Unity Amongst Ethnic and Religious Divisions

March 15, 2004

Source: Reuters-UK

On March 15, 2004 Reuters-UK reported, "When Cyprus joins the European Union on May 1, it will usher in a population which has never ceased to question its identity. Ask an islander what their nationality is and the answer will differ, even among members of the same ethnic community. It could be Turkish, Greek, Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot. Rarely is just 'Cypriot' the answer on an island where one side follows the Greek Orthodox faith and the other Islam...'Within the European context, there is nothing wrong in keeping our own identity. Our cultural diversity is our wealth,' [says liberal party leader Mustafa Akinci.] Greek Cypriot peace activist Nicos Anastassiou agrees. 'We don't have a nation in the traditional sense of the word. There are bonds, but one cannot minimise or get rid of the differences in our ethnic backgrounds. As long as the identity is not used in an antagonistic way we have our multi-culturalism to celebrate,' he said."