International

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Barrier Between Communities Torn Down in Cyprus

April 04, 2008 03:03 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Ledra Street, a market street in Cypriot capital Nicosia, reopened after having been closed since 1964, a step toward mending Greek-Turkish relations.

30-Second Summary

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The Greek and Turkish sides of Cyprus agreed to reopen the street after it was shut down 44 years ago during a spate of interethnic violence.

Authorities from the Greek side closed the border a couple of hours later after what they called “an illegal Turkish-Cypriot police patrol.” UN officials then brokered a deal to keep the gate open.

EuroNews takes a Greek-Cypriot view of the events, reporting in a clip that “the presence of Turkish Cypriot police in the disputed UN-controlled no man's land between the two sides triggered a row and the street's abrupt reclosure.”

The police chief from the Greek side of the city, Kypros Michailidis, said, “After consultations with the UN, we have been given assurances that this will not happen again.”

Eleni Mavrou, the mayor of the ethnic Greek side of Nicosia, said in a speech given in both Greek and Turkish, “While life goes on in both sides, these 70 meters remained frozen in time with the bullet-scarred derelict buildings reminding us of the tragedy of this island.”

Cyprus has been officially divided since July 1974, when forces from Turkey invaded the northern portion of the island after fears that Nikos Sampson, a president installed after a coup, would seek reunification with Greece. The northern part of the island has been governed as the independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since February 1975. Only Turkey recognizes its sovereignty.

See Reuters coverage

Headline Link: ‘Symbolic Cyprus Crossing Reopens’

Video: ‘Cyprus Crossing Reopens, Raising Reunification Hopes’

Reactions: ‘These 70 meters remained frozen in time’

Historical Context: The Cyprus War of 1974

Reference: Cyprus

Related Topic: ‘Greek Prime Minister Makes Historic Visit to Turkey’

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