We were at a small party Sunday for a friend who ran in the Cleveland Marathon (under 4 hours!). His wife is from Greek Cyprus – though she was largely silent during a long political conversation, when the topic of the border between divided Cyprus being opened last week came up, she very firmly stated that it happened because of our action in Iraq. “The Turks feel pressured by the success fo the war in Iraq and the fact that they didn’t assist – this gesture addresses that.”
Christopher Hitchens seems to agree:
- Along with the slow but now unstoppable movement among the Palestinians for a democratic “civil society” approach to their common problems and their long battle for statehood, this sudden development in Cyprus shows that there is indeed a “wind of change” blowing in the Middle East. Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot proconsul of the occupation, is a renowned hard-liner and chauvinist. It would have been unthinkable for him to have let so much oxygen into his airless dominion unless he felt serious pressure from below. And the recent isolation of Turkey itself, because of its crass decision to miss the “regime-change” train in Iraq, has only intensified
this process. Given any kind of a chance, the people are wiser and more internationalist than their leaders. I don’t know how long this window will stay open in Cyprus but I do know that once it has been opened it will be impossible to shut it completely again. [Slate]
Even if there is not a direct cause and effect, there is no question that the atmosphere is simply different now: the success of the war is at minimum contributory to this action. What is next?