Interviewee: Peter Harrison
Interviewer: Aykan Esen
1) What is your average weekday and weekend like?
– How many hours do you go to school?
I’m in school from 7:30 to 1:30.
– How many hours of homework do you have during weekdays & weekends?
I usually don’t spend more then 30 minutes on homework unless I have an upcoming test…
– How many hours do you have for yourself during weekday & weekend?
Whenever I don’t go to school or I’m not doing homework, I’m either doing political work or having my personal chilling time when I’m either at home chilling or at a club drinking.
2) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in the United States studying Political Science. I definitely don’t see myself back in Cyprus in the near or even far-away future.
3) What is your favorite thing about living in Cyprus?
Speaking as a frequent traveler, I would say Cyprus has the BEST nightlife in any country that I have visited, especially for teenagers. Anyone can enjoy the rich nightlife of Cyprus regardless of age. In fact, there’s a bar (with normal alcoholic drinks) that people my age (I’m 17) don’t go because it’s full of 14 year olds! F.Y.I., Ayia Nappa in Cyprus, has been rated the 2nd clubbing capital of Europe (after Ibiza).
4) What do you dislike most about living in Cyprus?
Many things, if I had to choose only one it would be the close-mindedness of the majority of the people. I’m not saying that all Cypriots are closed minded, but I think we are the most closed-minded country in the European Union… Especially with the Cyprus problem that we have with Turkey! For Cypriots, Turks are 100% evil without questions because “their people killed our people.”
5) What are Cypriot students most passionate about?
Soccer. Definitely Soccer. When people, especially guys, introduce themselves, after asking for each other’s names, they will usually ask which team the other supports. Cyprus is the most violently soccer-related country in Europe and each team represents a political ideology (I’m not kidding!). Omonoia and APOEL are the biggest teams in Cyprus (you might recall APOEL played against Trabzonspor once). Omonoia is a Communist team and APOEL is a Fascist team. Try finding even ONE Cypriot flag at an APOEL match, I challenge you.
6) What do Cypriot students know about Turkey and how do they view Turkish people?
If I were to speak as a stereotypical Cypriot for a moment I’d say: “Turks are Barbarians. They are all murderers who just want to take our land like they did in 1974. They are all Islamic Radicals who are all evil-minded. GOOD TURKS ARE ONLY DEAD TURKS!” You get the picture… Closed-minded much?
7) If someone were to visit Cyprus, where would you recommend they visit first?
Cyprus is a small island so there is no ‘first’ to visit as everything is next to each other. If you’re coming to the North, definitely your first destination should be Kyrenia, which is considered the most beautiful part of Northern Cyprus. If you’re coming to Southern Cyprus you should visit the Clubbing Capital Ayia-Nappa or Tourist Capital Limassol. Regardless on of which part you’re visiting (hopefully both), Nicosia (the only divided capital in the world) is always worth visiting!
8) Any one interesting fact about the Cypriot way of life?
The Cypriot way of life if very similar to the Turkish way of life(even if Cypriots won’t admit it), but it has some minor differences. I can’t think of anything that you personally might find necessarily interesting…. but to I’ll give it an attempt: What kind of Cypriot Coffee does a Cypriot drink? If he’s a Communist, he will drink the “Laiko” brand (literally translated: The People’s) and if he’s a Conservative he will drink the other brands (politics is everywhere). By the way Cypriot coffee equals Turkish coffee.
9) “The long and costly Aegean dispute” between Turkey and Cyprus is still, currently going on. Would you say the territorial issue between the two countries is a “hot topic” amongst Cypriots, in other words is the topic debated in your society? Is it true that Turkish Cypriots are mistreated in the Republic of Cyprus, or is it just an exaggeration of Turkey? What is your personal opinion on the issue?
I have never heard the Cyprus problem being referred to as the “Aegean Dispute” and just for the record we’re in the Mediterranean Sea, not the Aegean. Nonetheless, yes it is in fact a very hot topic and the biggest political issue in Cyprus. I can write a whole book on this but I’m going to summarize it all into one paragraph:
Greek Cypriot’s problems: There are foreign (Turkish) troops on the Island, occupying their property that belonged to them before 1974.
Turkish Cypriot’s problem: Their country (the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”) is only recognized by Turkey so they are economically undeveloped, isolated and have no international representation.
Solutions: (and here is the funny part, it’s in bold because I want you to imagine me shouting out of anger) EVERYONE, ALL THE MAINSTREAM POLITICIANS FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE ISLAND, FROM ALL MAINSTREAM PARTIES, HAVE AGREED UPON A SOLUTION: A Bi-communal Bi-zonal Federation of Equal Political Rights under one international representation in accordance with EU and UN resolutions. Why is it still unresolved? Here’s why:
In 2004: The referendum vote made by Koffi Anan. Turkish Cypriots accepted it; Greek Cypriots (who were going to get the most benefits from it) rejected it.
Since 1974-2003 and 2005-2???: Politicians have refused to do anything about it and argue about every single word in the resolution which that they disagree about. Our current president (who got elected on a platform of peace in Cyprus) had a chance to solve it in 2008. He blew it.
I can rant and rant but I’m sure you have better things to do. If you would like a detailed analysis of the Cyprus problem and what both sides think about it, feel free to ask me about it, I’d be more than happy to help you out
10) The majority (77%) of the Republic of Cyprus’ population is “Greek Cypriot.” Do you think most of the population in your country feels Greek (as a people that is part of Greece) or do most people consider themselves citizens of a distinct country?
With great GREAT sadness: Yes. There are many people who refuse to wear the Cypriot flag… the flag of their OWN country and instead they put out the flag of Greece. At the same time there are people who wisely refute the Greek flag (I’m proud to say I’m one of them) but we are the minority. Most Cypriots worship the Greek flag as if it were their own. (Ever seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?” that’s what I’m talking about). But you have my word: things will change. We are getting an influx of Greek immigrants after the Greek financial crisis. I think the people who used to shout out “Cyprus is Greek” will shut their mouths when the REAL Greeks take all of our Jobs.