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Virginie Ladisch

Abstract

In the search for a solution to the ‘Cyprus problem’, the focus of debates and discussions has been on power sharing agreements, land exchanges, right of return, and economics, but there has been little to no focus on reconciliation. In the aftermath of the referendum in which Cypriots were given an historic opportunity to vote on the reunification of the island, this research places the concept of reconciliation at the centre of the debate about the Cyprus problem. Based on data gathered in 2005 through forty interviews with Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot politicians, businessmen, activists, academics, organisational leaders, economists, and members of civil society, this article presents Cypriots’ views on reconciliation. Drawing from literature on reconciliation in conflict divided societies as a framework, it will analyse the various perceptions Cypriots hold about the definition of reconciliation, what initiatives can be used to promote reconciliation in Cyprus, the obstacles on the path towards reconciliation, and the sequencing of reconciliatory measures. Overall, this article seeks to present an alternative to strict political engineering projects that characterise the current debate about the Cyprus problem, by encouraging creative approaches to conflict resolution such as truth commissions, revised history curricula, and joint projects that foster mutual understanding and shared commitment to peace.

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