"The philosophy behind this is that Turkish Cypriots living in the occupied north should enjoy the same rights and benefits enjoyed by all citizens of Cyprus," Mr [Kypros] Chrysostomides told a news conference in Nicosia.
This is tremendously encouraging, because it suggests that Cypriots of whatever ethnic origins are beginning to accept the notion of the state as a differentiated community called to do justice to everyone within its territorial jurisdiction. So much of the history of Cyprus in recent decades has been marred by an ethnic conception of nationhood--one that ties citizenship to membership in the Greek-speaking Orthodox Christian community. The guerrilla war that broke out in 1955 (in fact only hours after my birth) was fought to force Great Britain to cede the island to Greece outright. Instead it gained for the island an exceedingly tenuous independence that few Cypriots had expected or even desired at that point.
There are still ethnic Greek nationalists in Cyprus. But perhaps the turbulence of the past nearly half century will finally convince them that their quixotic dream should be abandoned in favour of a political and territorial understanding of nationhood.