Cyprus: the danger of using the financial crisis to impose a political solution

By Harry Hagopian
March 29, 2013

Cyprus has a special place in my heart, as I spent many years living there as I built up my professional legal, and later ecumenical, career.

The stringent conditions placed upon the European bailout, with taxes levied upon individual investors or account-holders among others, means that there is widespread panic amongst ordinary men and women about their sheer survival. After the disasters in Greece, all we need is for that panic to spread across a fragile Europe and lead to further meltdown elsewhere.

For comment on the financial aspects of the situation, short- and long-term, see 'Cyprus: the anatomy of a Euro crisis' on Ekklesia ( My own concern here is about the political framework and context.

Cyprus was once a confident island with a strong economy. Yet, it is unravelling in front of our eyes, and it would be highly damaging if the financial woes of this island were used to impose a settlement regarding the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

A solution to the division of the island, dating back to 1974, is long overdue. It needs to be admitted that both sides have committed errors and have sometimes shown bad faith. But tackling one egregious issue by introducing another one would be no solution at all.


© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor ( Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is now an international fellow, Sorbonne III University, Paris, consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK), Ecumenical consultant to the Primate of Armenian Church in UK & Ireland, and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is Follow him on Twitter here: @harryhagopian

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