Ethnic conflicts and international politics : an analysis of the communal regional, and global dimensions of the Cyprus problem
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The thesis assesses the impact of international factors on relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots during and after the Cold War. Through an analysis of the Cyprus problem it explores both why external actors intervene in communal conflicts and how they influence relations between ethnic groups in plural societies. The analytical framework employed throughout the study draws on contributions of International Relations theorists and students of ethnic conflict. The thesis argues that, as in the global political system, relations between ethnic groups in unranked communal systems are anarchic; that is, actors within the system do not recognize a sovereign political authority. In bipolar communal systems dominated by two relatively equal groups, the struggle for security and power often leads to appeals for assistance from external actors. The framework notes that neighboring states and Great Powers may heed calls for assistance, or intervene without a prior request, if it is in their interest to do so. The convergence of regional and global interests in communal affairs exacerbates ethnic conflicts and precludes the development of effective political institutions. The impact of external intervention in ethnic conflicts has the potential to alter the basis of communal relations. The Cyprus problem is examined both during and after the Cold War in order to gauge how global and regional actors and the structure of their respective systems have affected relations between ethnic groups in Cyprus. The thesis argues that Cyprus's descent into civil war in 1963 was due in part to the entrenchment of external interests in the Republic's constitution. The study also notes that power politics involving the United States, Soviet Union, Greece and Turkey continued to affect the development of communal relations throughout the 1960s, 70s, and, 80s. External intervention culminated in July and August 1974, after a Greek sponsored coup was answered by Turkey's invasion and partition of Cyprus. The forced expulsion of Greek Cypriots from the island's northern territories led to the establishment of ethnically homogeneous zones, thus altering the context of communal relations dramatically. The study also examines the role of the United Nations in Cyprus, noting that its failure to settle the dispute was due in large part to a lack of cooperation from Turkey, and the United States' and Soviet Union's acceptance of the status quo following the 1974 invasion and partition of the island. The thesis argues that the deterioration of Greek-Turkish relations in the post-Cold War era has made a solution to the dispute unlikely for the time being. Barring any dramatic changes in relations between communal and regional antagonists, relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots will continue to develop along the lines established in July/August 1974. The thesis concludes by affirming the validity of its core hypotheses through a brief survey of recent works touching on international politics and ethnic conflict. Questions requiring further research are noted as are elements of the study that require further refinement.