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Alexis Heraclides

Abstract

This article attempts an overview of the 55-year Cyprus problem. Seven reasons are identified and examined as fundamental causes of the ongoing conflict from its inception until today: (1) the detrimental role of nationalism, (2) intractability, (3) mutual suspicion and demonisation, (4) non-acceptance of the other side's collective identity and self-definition, (5) the negative role played by leaders and their constituencies, (6) the normative dimension and (7) the role of external parties. The first six of these causes are regarded as self-standing, with mutual non­ acceptance at its apex as probably the most crucial obstacle against reconciliation. As for external parties their role is seen as secondary, particularly from the 1960s onward, in what is above an ethnic conflict.

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