"The shadows of no man's land" : crossing the border in the divided capital of Nicosia, Cyprus
- Nijmegen Centre for Border Research, Department of Geography, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9108, 6500 HK Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Abstract. In May 2004, only Greek Cyprus joined the European Union. The EU did not negotiate with Northern Cyprus as the Greek Cypriot government is acknowledged as sole representative of Cyprus. Despite this, after more than two years of EU membership, the Republic of Cyprus is seen in a positive light by the people of Northern Cyprus. Through the grey zone of the acquis communautaire, north Nicosia and Cyprus profit from European modernisation and the common market. Although the northern part of the island is still often labelled as «occupied territory», in the light of recent European developments. Nicosia, and with it Cyprus, seem to no longer be solely defined by their Green Line. This grey, self-created Option means that the EU has indeed had a significant effect on the «Cyprus issue». For the Greek Cypriot authorities, their hoped-for advantage of a stronger negotiation position in Europe did not turn out as expected. For the north, their fragile socio-economic structures appear to have benefited from the common market with the Republic of Cyprus. Despite the current partitioning of Nicosia, this city may therefore be understood today as a unique example of urban osmosis.The conclusion is made that both the long-term impact of the new osmosis which is taking place at street level in the city of Nicosia, and the city's capacity for co-optation and resistance, should be assessed and perceived not in the form of traditional geopolitical narratives, but in a form more sensitive to its complex context.