Katerina Yennari


On April 23rd 2003 for the first time in twenty-nine years of Turkish occupation in Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriots were able to cross, the dividing green line and walk towards the opposite, and, until then forbidden, direction.

More than thirty years of myths, stereotypes and negative perceptions about each other had been demolished in only the first couple of days after the partial lifting of the restrictions in free movement. The roads that kept alive the communication between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots remained visible. Cypriots managed to open wide holes in the dividing wall. These developments were only the peak of a course through the thirty years of the Cyprus problem.

There is strong evidence that during this course, the European Union acted as the catalyst for the re-establishment of the communication and redefining the perceptions of each community for each other. The EU offered new points of reference and prospects in the relations of the two communities by projecting a common goal - a feature  which was missing for years in the search for a solution of the problem.