With every generation it seems there is a new crisis in Cyprus. In the 1950s it was the struggle for independence from colonial rule. In the 1960s there were clashes on the island. In the 1970s there was the illegal Turkish invasion and occupation.
In the 1980s there was the unilateral declaration of a pseudo-state in the occupied north. In the 1990s there were brutal killings of unarmed civilians protesting at Turkey's denial of human rights in Cyprus. In the noughties there was a 'crisis' when Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected the Annan Plan.
What all these various crises had in common was the attempt by Greek Cypriots to resist external pressure that would deny them their basic human rights and to strangle their right to independence. The latest financial crisis is hardly different. On this occasion financial muscle has been used to suffocate Cyprus' economic independence under the premise of keeping the Eurozone together. Anyone understanding the geopolitical factors in the region will see this crisis for what it really is.
In the region there is a raging civil war in Syria in which Russia faces the loss of its naval base at Tartus; a recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey; the PKK also last week announced the end of their military campaign and Russia has expressed its displeasure at the loss of financial muscle in Cyprus.
Are the chess pieces slowly being manoeuvred into place for a showdown in the near east between a number of regional powers, with the gas reserves belonging to the Republic of Cyprus being seen as up for grabs?
It is too early to assess what will happen next but the financial crisis is not the end of the story for Cyprus but perhaps the beginning. We have faced bigger problems and ironically what this crisis has done is to unite Greek Cypriots against external pressure. That will mean that any future settlement to the current division of the island will have even less chance of passing if it is seen to be unjust and foisted upon Greek Cypriots by external powers.
Though many will endure hardships, the Greek Cypriots will overcome the current crisis and rebuild their economy – just as they did after they were ethnically cleansed from the occupied area of Cyprus in 1974.
Lobby for Cyprus supports the continued struggle of the Greek Cypriots for proper independence, whether it is political or economic – in a free and truly reunited Cyprus.