I’m on my way to Moldova, a small country wedged between Romania and Ukraine. Before getting there though I spent a few days in Istanbul and am currently in Northern Cyprus.
This is disputed territory Turkey took over in a 1974 invasion (or liberation, depending on your perspective) of the northern half of the island before officially handing it over to the Turkish Cypriots in 1983.
If you want to get all UN about it, Northern Cyprus is officially called the Turkish Republic of Cyprus; it’s independent yet unrecognized on the world stage; a “green line” separates north from south; the Greek Cypriots in the south believe the island should be unified; so too the Turkish Cypriots in the north but in a somewhat different way; negotiations to unify have been going on since the invasion/liberation; this means the United Nations is here and so too the European Union; about 2,000 people on both sides were disappeared in the 60’s and 70’s; efforts to find their remains are just a few years old; since 2003 travel between north and south has normalized; Northern Cyprus is under trade embargo from the rest of the world making it sort of like the Cuba of the Mediterranean but in a completely different way; and there’s currently an effort to give reparations to the Greek Cypriots who lost land and were otherwise driven out of the north.
And, probably important, major natural gas reserves were recently discovered just over the border on the Greek side of things.
These are the few things I’ve learned in the few days I’ve been here.
I’m trying to rest my mind though so instead of digging into the mess I outline above, I traveled to the very northeast of the island. The pictures here are of vegetation from a beautiful beach called Golden Sands, some goats and a donkey from a Greek Monastery that dates back to 15th century, and Salamis, a Roman “gym” that dates back to the early first century.
Images come courtesy of a little point and click Cybershot I’m carrying around and lightly cleaned up in Photoshop. The “filtered” feeling comes from using a flash even though I’m shooting in bright light. You can select an image to enlarge.
Next stop, Moldova. I’ll be there for the week advising the government on its social media and open government strategies. I also hope to get back to FJP blogging once I’m there. — Michael