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Media Watch 2003

28 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Alexia Saoulli
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 28 May 2003
Poll shows mixed feelings about crossings

MORE THAN 50 per cent of Greek Cypriots recently polled in a questionnaire said Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots could live together happily. However only 10 per cent out of those asked said they had visited the occupied areas more than twice, since the checkpoints were opened last month.

The telephone interview poll was carried out by Larnaca’s Intercollege on behalf of Antenna and took pace between May 13 and 21. It included a random sample of 1174 people from around the island and covered men and women aged between 18 and 55.

Forty per cent of the sample said they had visited the occupied north and six per cent said they might visit it in future. Of this 40 per cent, 87 per cent had been once or twice, 10 per cent had been three or four times, two per cent had been five or six times and only one per cent had been across more than seven times.

Over two-thirds polled said they felt like strangers in their own country and 22 per cent admitted feelings unsure in the north. Despite these feelings, 93 per cent of those who had crossed said Turkish Cypriots were friendly.

Of the 54 per cent who had not been to the occupied part of the island, over half said the reason was because it “isn’t right”, 32 per cent they hadn’t found the time and 10 per cent said they felt scared.

Meanwhile, 52 per cent of those asked said they wanted to maintain the image of the occupied areas the way it had been before the 1974 Turkish Invasion.

The poll also highlighted Greek Cypriots’ distrust of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s regime, with 68 per cent saying they believed this development (of free movement) was a “political trap”

Two thirds of those who crossed said they believed showing passports to cross the Green Line was a recognition of the Denktash regime.

And even though 55 per cent said both communities could live together again of the nine per cent who said they were living in a Turkish Cypriot’s home, only 52 per cent said they would return it they were compensated by the government.

Despite waiting to return to their homes for 29 years, only 42 per cent of Greek Cypriots said they would return to live in the place they or their parents were born."