November Books 22) The Cyprus Question and the EU, by Andreas Theophanous
This book was given to me by the author in 2006 (you can see it on top of the pile of papers in front of him in this photograph) and I have been putting off reading it ever since. As I expected, most of it is a fairly standard uncritical rant from the headline Greek Cypriot nationalist perspective. One would scarcely realise from the book that the Turkish Cypriots had ever had any legitimate grievances. I found the analysis particularly lacking in two areas. First, the description of US interests and activity in the Eastern Mediterranean relies entirely on sympathetic politics with literally no reference to primary sources beyond a single out-of-context quote from Richard Holbrooke. The second big lacuna is that Theophanous, in common with the Greek Cypriot establishment, does not appreciate the key importance of bizonality for the Turkish Cypriots in looking for a settlement. All the most difficult issues of the talks - property, security, governance - are essentially rooted in the need for Turkish Cypriots to have their own space under their own control. This has been accepted in principle by successive Greek Cypriot leaders, but the history of the negotiations has been a consistent policy of eroding that commitment. I don't see any reason for optimism.