Firstly, since South Cyprus was accepted into the European Union, (I won’t go into the illegality and immorality of that action again), at a governmental level, the Greek Cypriots will have only one commercial or economic incentive in their success.
The only commercial and economic benefit that South Cyprus will gain is the ability to export off-shore petro-chemicals and hydro-carbons through Turkey rather than going to the expense of building a processing plant on the island or exporting through Israel. The first option may make commercial and economic sense, but it runs contrary to the Greek-Cypriot political bigotry and ideology that they have held since the 1960s.
Turkish Cyprus may benefit from the cessation of trade and political embargoes, but I doubt that the average family will see a dramatic fall in their everyday household expenses. Politically the major benefit will be in the sports and athletic fields (no pun intended!). Athletes and sports people will be able to compete internationally under the (Turkish?) Cypriot flag.
As far as travel and trade are concerned, airlines and shipping companies will be able to operate direct/non-stop services, which should reduce costs. “Foreign” – non-Turkish based airlines may seize the opportunity to operate flights through our airport, Ercan. Hopefully this will introduce much-needed competition and reduce the present, usually exorbitant, costs of air tickets.
Various “world” leaders from America to Europe have crept out of the woodwork to publicly state that they back the latest efforts for “re-unification” of the island. This may simply be political posturing so that, should the talks succeed in the coming weeks, months (years/decades/centuries?), they each can say “they would have failed without my support”. Or these statements may conceal something more sinister. Behind closed doors they may be saying to both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot teams “there are gas and oil reserves in your area, which we need to get our hands on, so sign the agreement or both countries will suffer”!
Turkey “we will never abandon our Turkish-Cypriot friends” has found that support of Kibris is a major stumbling block in its application to join the European Union. Perhaps, although operating to a different agenda, Turkey is also interfering behind closed doors! “Sign on the dotted line so that my EU application can proceed”!
Another reason for Turkey to interfere by forcing us into an agreement is the current economic crisis in that country. A portion of the Turkish government’s money is spent on Turkish Cyprus where some is spent on paying the salaries and pensions of our bloated and inefficient civil service. The subsidy that Turkey gives us may not form a large portion of its total budget, but the transfer of our shortfall to the European Union coffers would be an easy and cost-effective option!
I maintain, as I have always maintained, that there are two widely different cultures on this island, but because of world economics and whether we, (both Turkish and Greek Cypriots) like it or not, may soon be forced into a “shotgun” marriage!
The other day we were at a friend’s house for a social afternoon and were introduced to some “new” friends. Later in the afternoon I was asked why I grew up, and subsequently lived, in Rhodesia.
Well, the obvious answer was that, as I was only 9 years old when my family and I emigrated, I didn’t have much choice in the matter, or much input into the decision to do so! I explained this, although in much less brusque terminology!
However, the question did give me reason to ponder - why? As far as I can remember from my early life in the UK, we were a “middle” class family. My father was the sole bread-winner, and (presumably), the decision-maker. We were able to buy a new individually architect-designed bungalow in a picturesque location in a village, so why move at all, or especially emigrate?
This may be a very long shot and even a very “sideways” look at the reason, but I think that the seeds were sown during the Second World War!
Between 1939 and 1946, when he was finally de-mobbed, my father had served in the army in Europe, both before and after Dunkirk, ending up in Burma (now Myanmar). Military service during a war is seldom pleasant, but after VJ day in August 1945, life in Burma must have been both relaxed and pleasant!
Should any reader be confused that many soldiers in the “Far East” weren’t demobilised until many months after cessation of hostilities, the reason was logistics. A troopship would take around 2
months to do the round-trip between Burma
and the UK. There were insufficient ships available to bring all troops “home” within days, or even weeks. Precedence would, of course, have been given to repatriating the emaciated prisoners of war, who, despite suffering from malnutrition, had been forced by the Japanese to work on such projects as shown by the film “The Bridge on the River Kwai”.
I have never been to Burma or the Indian sub-continent, but all the wildlife in other films that I have seen, show the area to be bright, colourful and sunlit (excepting the occasional monsoon!) During, and after the war, fruit, vegetables and meat would have been freely available.
How different would a grey, drab, bomb-site riddled Britain, where rationing of almost all food and materials existed (I can remember sweet rationing ending in the early 1950’s), have appeared to my father on his return?
My sister Sheila, who is 6 years older than me and now lives in New Zealand, mentioned in a e-mail a few years ago that, before we emigrated, our father always expressed a desire to live “somewhere in the sun”!
So, Emperor Hirohito (now deceased), you could well have been directly responsible for my upbringing in Rhodesia!
Until next week!