After years of existing as a split country, despite being recognized by the rest of the world as one and the same, a peace deal between Northern and Southern Cyprus is in the works. In the past, Northern Cyprus (technically part of Turkey and known as Turkish Cyprus) was inaccessible to tourists without special permission from the Turkish government, but a peace deal could open up the historically rich region once again.
This will finally give travelers from around the world the ability to take in all of the splendor that Cyprus has to offer, without the difficulties of travel restrictions.
Cyprus News: Reasons for the Split between North and South
In 1974, Turkey invaded the Northern region in order to prevent the island from unifying with Greece; therefore expanding their territory while preventing a neighbor from growing their own.
However, this caused agitation between the people from Cyprus with Turkish heritage and those with Greek heritage. For decades there were mass migrations across the border as displaced groups were forced to pick a regional side, and were often subject to persecution from the other.
In 1983 North Cyprus declared independence as a sovereign entity, which led to sanctions placed on it from organizations across the world that would prefer for the region to remain united. Since then, only Turkey has recognized North Cyprus' independence, which has meant a lot of difficulty for the region in the North in terms of travel and international trade and commerce.
Because of this, there are no direct international flights to the area, and residents are even prohibited from participating in international events like the Olympics. For years there has been growing dissatisfaction among Northern Cyprus residents who feel as though they have less and less in common with Turkey's recent move towards Islam, and yet they have had no ability to look elsewhere for a place to call home.
Long-Term Effects on Travel to Cyprus
Obviously the difficulty of travel to Cyprus has inhibited traveler's abilities to explore the different cultural and ethnic heritages of each. However, with recent economic and political troubles affecting Greece and Turkey, both countries have sought to restore the tourist-based economies in the region.
In May 2015 the Turkish Cyprus government finally relieved the travel requirements between the two republics, and both regional and foreign travelers will no longer have to get visas to venture on their North Cyprus holidays.
Next Steps in Enabling Northern Cyprus Tourism
Politicians in both North and South Cyprus, along with representatives from Turkey and Greece, have been meeting for some time now about the conditions required for formal peace talks to proceed. However, in recent months, both sides have committed to finally resolving the disputes that have hindered tourism.
Many residents of the North hope that, with restrictions easing between the two regions, there will be an influx of commerce and services that previously weren't available in their area. Tourists from around the world and the owners in the area's hospitality economy also hope that a greater flow of local and regional traffic will reignite and restore the area's global presence.
Only time will tell what fortunes may befall the vastly undiscovered tourist destination of Northern Cyprus, but the relief of age-old travel restrictions certainly is promising; both for Cypriots and travelers alike!
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