Cyprus: Dismal lesson and obscure future

By Roberto Savio | The story of Cyprus story is an excellent example of how inadequate media coverage has now become. Very few will have understood what has really happened, and what its implications are. Following events, without any background or placing them in their contexts, is one of the main reasons for the decline of media as windows on the world, and for having informed and therefore active citizens.

To explain what has happened and what is likely to happen now requires three angles of analysis: how the Cyprus crisis came about, how it stands in the context of the banking sector worldwide, and what its implications for Europe are.

Let us start from Cyprus and, more precisely with the Republic of Cyprus. In fact, when speaking about the Cyprus of the banking crisis, we are referring to three-fifths of the island of Cyprus, the Greek part. The other two-fifths are a separate political entity, the Turkish Cyprus that only Turkey recognises.

When Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta declared the union of the island with Greece in 1974, the Turkish army invaded the northern part of the island to protect the Turkish population, a substantial minority. The result was a serious blow to the island’s economic development. Greek Cypriot losses of land and personal property in the occupied areas were substantial, and they also lost Famagusta, the only deep-water port, and the Nicosia International Airport. The GDP of the Greek sector dropped by one-third between 1973 and 1975. Today, the Republic of Cyprus is a small territory of just over 5,000 km2, and a population of 860,000 people.

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*Roberto Savio, former Secretary General of SID, is founder and president emeritus of the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency and publisher of Other News.
This article was first published in Other News

 


photo: flickr/EuroCrisisExplained.co.uk