Agia Napa, Larnaka, Lefkosia, Deryneia
Praia! Nenhum Verão, digno desse nome, visitou este ano as terras alfacinhas onde o frio e a chuva não gozaram férias. A necessidade de calor avolumou-se e a ilha de Chipre publicitou a estação prometida.
Agia Napa saciou os desejos veraneantes: sol, água azul turquesa, diversão diurna e nocturna. O centro da cidade é luminoso, ruidoso, alcoolizado e mais algumas coisas inerentes aos excessos da juventude predominantemente russa e inglesa. No epicentro da confusão resistem as ruínas de um antigo mosteiro para testemunhar os pecados humanos. Longe do centro o ambiente é muito mais pacato e familiar.
As praias abrigam-se muitas vezes em pequenas baías naturais que tanto acalmam as águas, pouco turbulentas, como delimitam o espaço e o tornam acolhedor. É possível saltar de praia em praia levando apenas uma toalha para, entre banhos de água, apanhar banhos de sol. Há praias cheias de gente com música. Há praias menos populares e mais sossegadas onde se adormece.
A sul da ilha passeei pelas praias Nissi, Landa, Makronisos e na costa oriental, a norte do Cabo Gkreko, por Pernera, Potami e Protaras.
A visita à cidade de Larnaka não cativou. Da avenida principal, em frente à praia Finikoudes, ou da marina, supostamente extravagante, não se guardarão memórias relevantes... É uma cidade trabalhadora e pouco turística.
Sabia que a ilha cipriota está dividida em duas partes. Também não foi novidade que Nicósia, a capital do país, permanece separada apesar da possibilidade recente (desde 2003) de passagem da Green Line controlada pela ONU.
O passeio por Nicósia centrou-se na zona histórica dentro das muralhas venezianas do século XVI cuja forma é singular: um circulo cravado de 11 bastiões que para uns é a forma de um floco de neve e para outros de uma granada.
A área controlada pela República é plenamente europeia. A zona pedonal é comercial, iluminada e cuidada. A norte, na área turca, existe uma pequena área turística repleta de bugigangas mas pouco depois constata-se uma realidade mais crua: as ruas são sujas, o lixo cresce nas bermas, há casas abandonadas e em ruínas... Existe pobreza. Não consigo pensar em Nicósia como uma única cidade. Há duas cidades distintas que tardarão a ser semelhantes.
A situação política/geográfica/militar/religiosa/linguística de Chipre é manifestamente ignorada numa Europa unida. Não é devidamente censurada uma invasão que perdura desde 1974 e que foi absorvida pela União Europeia. É justificável a presença de Capacetes Azuis da ONU a patrulhar uma faixa que rasga a ilha desde então?
Não é fácil descrever o pulso da UN Buffer Zone. Há um lado cinematográfico nas viaturas brancas da UN, nos convincentes avisos à proibição de fotografar... Existem postos de vigia camuflados com militares e arame farpado abundante como nas guerras dos filmes. As bandeiras içadas encaram-se frente-a-frente e são desenhadas nas montanhas para que bem se vejam do outro lado da linha.
Apesar da burocracia é fácil circular entre a República, internacionalmente reconhecida, e a zona ocupada pelas forças turcas. A zona neutra tanto atravessa campos abertos delimitados como, no caso de Nicósia, se esconde atrás de vedações no intervalo dos prédios. Existem excepções, que são mesmo únicas, como a povoação de Pyla totalmente absorvida na área da Green Line. Na pequena praça central não existem vedações e as pessoas convivem... Na presença visível de fardas da UN.
A divisão assume proporções incompreensíveis em Ammochostos junto à zona costeira de Varosha. A cidade, internacionalmente designada por Famagusta, está literalmente abandonada, fechada e sem vida. Sim, existe uma "cidade fantasma" bem real que se desfaz desde a invasão turca em 1974. Da vizinha Deryneia, na República, é possível espreitar as ruínas cinzentas e apodrecidas que a diplomacia, ou a paz armada, não devolve às pessoas.
No Cultural Centre of Occupied Famagusta há informação abundante e habitantes locais interessados em dois dedos de conversa que, com um olhar cabisbaixo, lamentam incansavelmente o desinteresse da comunidade internacional. A incredibilidade permanece mais densa que a esperança.
Da amena conversa retive o tom veemente com que fui corrigido quando me referi à "fronteira". Existe somente um país e dentro de um país não há fronteiras. A palavra-chave é "ocupação". Concluíram com factos: nenhum país além da Turquia reconhece que o Chipre termina na zona neutra.
De Lisboa foram chegando notícias de chuva abundante e de caos no trânsito. Tais fatalidades foram ignoradas porque o sol e a areia cipriota criaram anticorpos para as intempéries. No regresso a casa, à semelhança da viagem de ida, a greve dos pilotos da Air France obrigou ao involuntário desperdício de Euros e de horas de vida. Todos os problemas parecem menores depois de resolvidos e sugerem um falso transtorno irrelevante.
Modern History of Cyprus (wikipedia.org)
Until Independence In 1878 as a result of the Cyprus Convention, the United Kingdom received as a protectorate the island of Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire in exchange for United Kingdom's military support to the Ottoman Empire should Russia attempt to take possession of territories of the Ottomans in Asia. The British faced a major political problem on the island. The indigenous Cypriots believed it their natural right to unite the island with Greece following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The British authorities carried out the first census in 1881, the total population of Cyprus was 186,173, of whom 137,631 (73,9%) were Greeks, 45,438 (24,4%) were Turks and 3,084 (1,7%) were minorities of Maronites, Latins and Armenians. However, Cyprus' status as a protectorate of the British Empire ended in 1914 when the Ottoman Empire declared war against the Entente powers, which included Britain. Cyprus was then annexed by the British Empire on November 5. During the course of the First World War Britain offered to cede Cyprus to Greece if they would fulfill treaty obligations to attack Bulgaria, but Greece declined. As a result of this, Britain proclaimed Cyprus a Crown colony in 1925 under an undemocratic constitution. International recognition of the new Republic of Turkey resulted from the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 in which the new Turkish government formally recognised Britain's sovereignty over Cyprus. Greek Cypriots believed the circumstances were right to demand union of the island with Greece (enosis), as many of the Aegean and Ionian islands had done following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In the years that followed, Greek Cypriots' demands for enosis (union with Greece), which the British opposed, developed rapidly during the 1930s, leading to the destruction of the Government House in Nicosia which was burnt down in Greek Cypriot riots of 1931. In 1948, King Paul of Greece declared that Cyprus desired union with Greece. In 1950 the Orthodox Church of Cyprus presented a referendum according to which around 97% of the Greek Cypriot population wanted the union. The United Nations accepted the Greek petition and enosis became an international issue. In 1952 both Greece and Turkey became members of NATO. After the war, a delegation from Cyprus submitted a demand for enosis to London. The demand was rejected but the British proposed a more liberal constitution and a 10-year programme of social and economic development. Led by Archbishop Makarios, the Greek Cypriot demand for enosis emerged with new force in the 1950s, when Greece began to accord it support on the international scene. This attempt to win world support alerted Turkey and alarmed the Turkish Cypriots. The British withdrawal from Egypt led to Cyprus becoming the new location for their Middle East Headquarters. The Turkish Cypriots in 1957 responded to the "Enosis demand" by calling for partition (taksim). Taksim became the slogan which was used by the increasingly militant Turkish Cypriots to counter the Greek cry of 'enosis'. In 1957 Küçük declared during a visit to Ankara that Turkey would claim the northern half of the island. On August 16, 1960 Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom, after an anti-British campaign by the Greek Cypriot EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters), a guerrilla group which desired political union with Greece, or enosis. Archbishop Makarios III, a charismatic religious and political leader, was elected the first president of independent Cyprus. In 1961 it became the 99th member of the United Nations.
1974 Cypriot Coup D'État and Turkish Invasion (wikipedia.org)
In July 1974, the President was overthrown by a coup carried out by Greece. Turkey, after failed UN meetings for international support, invaded Cyprus on July 20 under Article 4 of the Guarantee Treaty of 1960, which allowed Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, if attempts to get multilateral support failed, to unilaterally intervene to restore democracy in Cyprus in the event of a coup. In a two-stage offensive, Turkish troops took control of 38% of the island and 200,000 Greek Cypriots fled the northern areas which were under occupation, whilst at the same time 60,000 Turkish Cypriots were transferred to these northern occupied areas by the United Nations and British SBA authorities after an agreed temporary population exchange by Turkish and Greek leaders. Since then, the southern part of the country has been under the control of the internationally recognised Cyprus government and the northern part under the control of the government of Northern Cyprus. In 1983, the 1974 Turkish Cypriot-controlled area declared itself as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey.
United Nations Buffer Zone (wikipedia.org)
A buffer zone in Cyprus was first established in 1964, when Major-General Peter Young was the commander of the British peace force (a predecessor of the present UN force) set up in the wake of the intercommunal violence of the early 1960s. After stationing his troops in different areas of Nicosia, the general drew a cease-fire line on a map with a dark green crayon, which was to become known as the "Green Line". The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus is a demilitarised zone, colloquially known as the Green Line, that runs for more than 180.5 kilometres (112.2 mi) between the two de facto partitions of the island, the Greek Government of Cyprus-controlled area in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus-administered area in the north. Patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), it was established in 1974 following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and has an area of 346 square kilometres (134 sq mi). The zone stretches for 180 km from the western part of near Kato Pyrgos to the east just south of Famagusta. It cuts through the centre of the old town of Nicosia, separating the city into southern and northern sections. There is also a buffer zone around the Kokkina exclave in western Cyprus. The width of the zone ranges from 3.3 metres (11 ft) in central Nicosia, to 7.4 kilometres (4.6 mi) at the village of Athienou. Some 10,000 people live in several villages and work on farms located within the zone; the village of Pyla is famous for being the only village on Cyprus where Greeks and Turks live side by side. Other villages are Deneia, Athienou and Troulloi, while Lympia and Mammari lie partially within the zone.
UNFICYP Mandate (un.org)
The function of UNFICYP was originally defined by Security Council resolution 186 (1964) of 4 March 1964 in the following terms: “[...] in the interest of preserving international peace and security, to use its best efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting [between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities] and, as necessary, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions”. UNFICYP became operational on 27 March 1964. Following the hostilities of 1974, the Security Council adopted a number of resolutions expanding the mandate of UNFICYP to include supervising a de facto ceasefire, which came into effect on 16 August 1974, and maintaining a buffer zone between the lines of the Cyprus National Guard and of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot forces. In the absence of a political settlement to the Cyprus problem, the mandate of UNFICYP has been periodically extended by the Security Council and the Force has continued its presence on the island to supervise ceasefire lines, maintain a buffer zone, undertake humanitarian activities and support the good offices mission of the Secretary-General.
UNFICYP Facts and Figures (un.org)
- Current Strength (30 September 2014) 919 total uniformed personnel (854 troops + 65 police) 37 international civilian personnel 111 local civilian staff - Country contributors Military personnel Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Hungary, Norway, Paraguay, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and United Kingdom. Police personnel Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, India, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. - Financial Aspects Approved budget (07/2014 - 06/2015): $59,072,800
Crossing the Green Line (wikipedia.org)
After a nearly 30-year ban on crossings, the Turkish Cypriot administration significantly eased travel restrictions across the dividing line in April 2003, allowing Greek Cypriots to cross at the Ledra Palace Crossing just outside the walls of old Nicosia. On 3 April 2008 at 9 a.m. local time (06:00 UTC), the Ledra Street roadblock crossing through the UN buffer zone was reopened after 34 years, in the presence of Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials who cut a ribbon in Kykkou street, the road between Ledra Street and what is known as Lokmaci point in the Turkish controlled part of Nicosia. Addressing the ceremony, Presidential Commissioner George Iacovou said this day is "an auspicious occasion" as it signals the opening of the fifth crossing point in Cyprus.
Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou (wikipedia.org)
In August 1996, in order to commemorate the 22nd year of Cyprus being a divided country, over 200 bikers from several European countries had organized a rally from Berlin (the last divided city in Europe other than Nicosia) to Kyrenia. They left Berlin on 2 August and were planning to arrive at their destination on the 11th where they would be joined by Cypriot bikers. Simultaneously, around 2,500 members of the far right Turkish organization Grey Wolves were being transported to the northern part of Cyprus by the Turkish Government in order to confront the European and Cypriot bikers. Due to heavy political pressure (even by the U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali) being applied to the Cypriot Motorcycle Federation to cancel the 11 August event, CMF finally succumbed. This was met with disapproval by a large portion of the bikers and other protesters, who decided to march on their own. Among them was Tassos Isaac, who together with other demonstrators, entered the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus near Deryneia, just south of the town of Famagusta. During the confrontation in the UN buffer zone between the Cypriot bikers and the Turkish Grey Wolves, Isaac found himself trapped in barbed-wire without his co-protesters noticing he was left behind. Soon, a large group of Grey Wolves ran towards him and attacked him. They continued for several minutes, unchallenged by the nearby UN peacekeepers. By the time the Cypriots managed to take him back from the mob, aided by the UN peacekeepers, Tassos Isaac was dead. According to a video footage that captured the attack, along with the UN peacekeepers, a Turkish Cypriot policeman was also watching nearby without intervening. Tassos Isaac's funeral was held on 14 August 1996 and was attended by thousands of people. Following the funeral of Tassos Isaac a group of unarmed Greek Cypriots re-entered the area where Isaac was murdered in order to demonstrate. Among these demonstrators was Solomou who was a second cousin of Isaac. At around 2:20 pm, Solomou distanced himself from the rest of the demonstrators and walked towards a Turkish military post in Deryneia. With a cigarette in his mouth, Solomou climbed the flagpole with the intention of removing the Turkish flag but was shot by Turkish soldiers three times; in the mouth, in the neck and in the stomach. The whole scene was taped by bystanding journalists and was seen on live television. Solomou's funeral was held on the 16 August in Paralimni, among thousands of people and an official Cypriot day of mourning.
Famagusta; Greek: Ammochostos (wikipedia.org)
From independence in 1960 to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus of 1974, Famagusta flourished both culturally and economically mostly due to the British investors on the island enjoying lower tax rates compared to the United Kingdom. The town developed toward the south west of Varosha as a tourist centre. In the late 1960s Famagusta became one of the world's best-known entertainment and tourist centres. These modern buildings were mostly built in Varosha. Architecture in Famagusta in this period thus reflects a desire to merge history and modernism in the pursuit of progress. From its origins as a small port in the seventh century, Famagusta in the 1970s had become a town which now displayed the universal trends of the modern architectural movement. The contribution of Famagusta to the country's economic activity by 1974 far exceeded its proportional dimensions within the country. Apart from possessing over 50% of the total hotel accommodation of Cyprus it also offered the most substantial deep-water port handling (1973) 83% of the total general cargo and 49% of the total passenger traffic to and from the island. Whilst its population was only about 7% of the total of the country, Famagusta by 1974 accounted for over 10% of the total industrial employment and production of Cyprus, concentrating mainly on light industry compatible with its activity as a tourist resort and turning out high quality products ranging from food, beverages and tobacco, to clothing, footwear, plastics, light machinery and transport equipment. There has not been an official census since 1960 but the population of the town in 1974 was estimated to be around 60,000 not counting about 12,000-15,000 persons commuting daily from the surrounding villages and suburbs to work in Famagusta. This population would swell during the peak summer tourist period to about 90,000-100,000 with the influx of tourists from numerous European countries, mainly Britain, France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. During the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on 14 August 1974 the Mesaoria plain was overrun by Turkish tanks and Famagusta bombed by Turkish aircraft. In two days the Turkish Army occupied the city, which had been completely evacuated by its Greek Cypriot population, who had fled into surrounding fields before the army's arrival. Most believed that once the initial violence calmed down they would be allowed to return. As a result of the Turkish airstrikes dozens of civilians died, including tourists.
Unlike other parts of the Turkish-controlled areas of Cyprus, the Varosha section of Famagusta was fenced off by the Turkish army immediately after being captured and still remains in that state today. The Greek Cypriots who had fled from Varosha were not allowed to return, and journalists are banned. It has been frozen in time with, today, houses, department stores and hotels empty and looted, even to the tiles on bathroom walls. Swedish journalist Jan-Olof Bengtsson, who visited the Swedish United Nations battalion in Famagusta port and saw the sealed-off part of the town from the battalion's observation post, described the area as a "ghost town"; he wrote in Kvällsposten on 24 September 1977: "The asphalt on the roads has cracked in the warm sun and along the sidewalks bushes are growing [...] Today, September 1977, the breakfast tables are still set, the laundry still hanging and the lamps still burning [...] Famagusta is a ghost-town." Turkish Cypriots continue to live north of Varosha, especially in the walled city. These sections of Famagusta contain many unique buildings.