This case study details the development and progress of a bi-communal Conflict Resolution Trainer Group on the divided island of Cyprus. The Trainer Group consists of 30 Greek and Turkish Cypriot members and can be defined as an internal grassroots structure aiming to initiate a range of peace-building projects. The report begins with a short description of the historical development of the Cyprus conflict. The main section of the report deals with the origins and the development of the Trainer Group as one of the most successful social initiatives on Cyprus. The analysis focuses on the obstacles the Trainer Group encountered when implementing their initiative and on how the spectrum of activities of the Trainer Group could be broadened by the support of foreign actors.
Negotiating the right of return is a central issue in post-conflict societies aiming to resolve tensions between human rights issues and security concerns. Peace proposals often fail to carefully balance these tensions or to identify incentives and linkages that enable refugee return. To address this gap, the article puts forward an alternative arrangement in negotiating refugee rights currently being considered in the bilateral negotiations in Cyprus. Previous peace plans for the reunification of the island emphasized primarily Turkish Cypriot security and stipulated a maximum number of Greek Cypriot refugees eligible to return under future Turkish Cypriot administration. The authors’ alternative suggests a minimum threshold of Greek Cypriots refugees plus self-adjustable incentives for the Turkish Cypriot community to accept the rest. The article reviews different options including linking actual numbers of returnees with naturalizations for Turkish settlers or immigrants, Turkey’s EU-accession, and territorial re-adjustments across the federal border. In this proposed formula, the Greek Cypriot side would reserve concessions until refugee return takes place, while the Turkish Cypriot community would be demographically secure under all scenarios by means of re-adjustable naturalization and immigration quotas. Drawing parallels with comparable cases, the article emphasizes the importance of making reciprocity and linkages explicit in post-conflict societies.