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Travelling to the ‘Other Side': the Occupied Zone and Greek Cypriot Views of Crossing the Green Line

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Since the Turkish offensive on Cyprus in 1974, the United Nations buffer zone has functioned as a major barrier between the island's Greek and Turkish populations. Greek Cypriots were not permitted to cross into the Turkish north and vice versa. However, on 23 April 2003, these restrictions were lifted, resulting in a flood of cross-border travel by members of both communities, which has continued to grow into more than four million visits as of the end of 2004. There are many reasons why people travel to the other side, ranging from looking for the land of their ancestors, to gamble in the north's casinos, to visit sacred places, and out of sheer curiosity to see what the ‘other side' is like. Nearly half of the Greek population, however, has not crossed into the Turkish part of the island for a variety of reasons, including ethical constraints and lack of interest. Based on a survey of 3,060 respondents, this paper examines the perceptions of Greek Cypriots in crossing the Green Line into the north for tourism and recreational purposes and analyses the reasons approximately half the population refuses to cross.

Keywords: Cyprus; barriers; borders; conflict; ethics; partitioned states; politics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: College of Tourism and Hotel Management, Nicosia, Cyprus 2: School of Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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