History, Culture, Politics, and Travel in the Balkans, Turkey, and Cyprus



Flouting International Law: The Turkish Military Presence in Cyprus

When Cyprus became independent from Great Britain in 1960, the Treaty of Guarantee was signed between Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, and Great Britain. Article I bans Cyprus from unifying with another state. Article II requires Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (the guarantor powers) to respect the territorial integrity of Cyprus. Article IV allows the guarantor powers to re-establish the status quo in Cyprus:

“In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present Treaty, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom undertake to consult together with respect to the representations or measures necessary to ensure observance of those provisions. In so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each of the three guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty.” Continue reading “Flouting International Law: The Turkish Military Presence in Cyprus”

Cyprus: From Crusader Kingdom to Venetian Colony

After being part of the Roman and Byzantine world for over a millennium, Cyprus’ existence in the later part of the Middle Ages was much more global. From a mere Byzantine province, Cyprus became an island on the crossroads of the world. Under the House of Lusignan and then the Venetians, Cyprus became involved in larger enterprises such as the Crusades and Venice’s mercantile empire. Three agreements by outside powers created these situations for Cyprus, its future determined not by its native islanders, but by three agreements by foreigners.

Coat of Arms of the Lusignan Dynasty, in the 14th century Bellapais Monastery | Picture by Wolfang Sauber

Continue reading “Cyprus: From Crusader Kingdom to Venetian Colony”

Museums of Stone: The Ten Castles of Cyprus

Cyprus is at the crossroads of east and west. Over its long history it has been ruled by the Byzantines (395-1191), the Frankish Lusignan Dynasty (1192-1489), Venice (1489-1571), and the Ottoman Empire (1571-1878), among many others. One of the hallmarks of Cyprus’ varied history is a series of ten castles, built and adapted by these various rulers, which still dot the island today.


Continue reading “Museums of Stone: The Ten Castles of Cyprus”

To Unify an Island: Cyprus Works Toward Unification

While most of the world has been focused on Brexit in Europe and unrest in the Middle East, between the two landmasses the third largest island in the Mediterranean has been undergoing a chance at unification for the first time in over 40 years.

Flag Map of Cyprus and Turkish Northern Cyprus, Wikimedia.

Continue reading “To Unify an Island: Cyprus Works Toward Unification”

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