A crack in the dividing wall
Cyprus has been divided ever since July 1974, with 37 per cent of its territory under Turkish occupation, and with the two communities living virtually divided by an artificial wall. Contact has been limited and at the arbitrary control of the occupation authorities. The scrupulous and long work of AKEL has made rapprochement between the two communities a policy accepted by all Greek Cypriot political parties and by the opposition Turkish Cypriot forces, as well as and this is very important — by the people of Cyprus. Finding himself in a corner and under pressure from the part of the Turkish Cypriots following the Copenhagen decision on Cyprus and the signing of the Accession Treaty of Cyprus to the EU on April 16, the Turkish Cypriot leader in a somehow unexpected move announced that movement between the two sides would be allowed as of April 23. On that day alone over 2000 Turkish Cypriots visited the free areas having to produce only an ID or other information proving they are Cypriots. Around 1500 Greek Cypriots went to the occupied North. The same picture, only on a larger scale was seen on the next day, with people waiting to cross at three different checkpoints. People could see the rest of their country after almost 30 years or even for the first time in their lives in the case of the youth. People talking to journalists make it very clear that they want a solution, they want to live together, they want peace. In a press release issued on April 24, AKEL (the communist party) welcomed the meeting up of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. "We consider that yesterday was a day that justified the struggles of AKEL and of all those who have struggled and continue struggling for rapprochement considering it a cornerstone in the efforts to achieve a solution as well as in making it viable", the AKEL statement said. "We hope that Denktash's (the Turkish Cypriot leader) move will not prove a tactical one, of a temporary character and aiming at serving expediencies. "AKL considers that the Government's support measures that are going to serve a broad spectrum of needs of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, should be announced the soonest possible. "AKEL welcomes the Government's readiness to undertake all the advisable measures that will facilitate the movement of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots in the free areas. "At the same time it calls on Rauf Denktash to withdraw the control measures which he has announced, i.e. the presentation of passports (from the part of Greek Cypriots) and the granting of entrance permit, in order to facilitate Greek Cypriots to go to their ancestral homes." AKEL said that the meeting up of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots has made a crack in the dividing wall. "We, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, have to intensify our efforts in order to fully demolish the dividing wall and achieve a just, functional and viable solution that will reunify our people and country", the AKEL statement concluded.