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“I don’t want my little daughter to go through the same thing in her life,” said Sozen, who was inspired to become a professor of politics in order to help find a solution, even though his self-described “life mission” sometimes exhausts and frustrates him. Polls by his group indicate that Turkish Cypriots, who have leaned toward living apart because of fears of being dominated, and Greek Cypriots, who have tended to prefer a one-state island dominated by their majority, are moving further from the compromise of a power-sharing federation.

Greek Cypriots fear encroachment from Turkey, a rising power that objects to Greek Cypriot plans for off-shore oil and gas exploration. They highlight past suffering, but gloss over the question of 1960s attacks on Turkish Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots resent the Greek Cypriot rejection of unification in a 2004 referendum.

“As more time passes, it’s not good for the result, meaning that people are not moving toward the solution spirit. On the contrary,” said Sozen, noting that the problem is exacerbated by a gap between Cypriots and their leaders. “People are alienated in the sense that the common people are shut away from the official process. The general public is not really informed by what is happening.”

In February, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said negotiations with the Greek Cypriot leader left “a zucchini taste in the mouth,” a Turkish way of saying they have grown bland.

His Greek Cypriot counterpart, President Demetris Christofias said in May that talking to Eroglu was like trying to knock down a wall by throwing eggs at it.