During this Middle East crisis, the public debate in Cyprus surpasses the stereotypical reactions of the nation, going beyond irresponsible traders, processors, laundries, and services.
Traditionally, during crises in our region, concerns about tourism, trade, commodity prices, and instability affecting Cyprus were commonplace. However, this time, the focus shifted from decades of ambitious ideas for Cyprus to becoming a hub in various sectors. Instead, the country found a role as a humanitarian bridge, proposing a humanitarian sea corridor from Larnaca to Gaza. While not an immediate implementation, discussions are ongoing on how Cyprus can contribute.
The shift in focus is notable as Cyprus moves away from self-centered concerns, identifying a gap in international community needs and proposing practical solutions. This approach contrasts with grandiose proclamations about regional energy and security formations. Cyprus's willingness to provide assistance, whether it's sending airborne firefighting assets to Greece or Israel, aiding in rescue efforts in Turkey, or offering expertise to Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan, contributes to the region.
The motivation behind these actions extends beyond self-interest, as Cyprus even seeks to support problematic regimes like Egypt. Gradually, Cyprus is establishing its role in the region, moving from being a problem state to a participant in solutions. While the Christodoulides administration faces challenges at home, its efforts in Cyprus' regional role deserve acknowledgment.
To enhance credibility, a comprehensive and courageous foreign policy is suggested, going beyond trivial support for Israel's actions in Gaza. This could involve better-explaining abstentions on General Assembly resolutions or voting for them despite objections. Additionally, effective representation of Turkish Cypriot citizens is crucial for establishing real autonomy.
The article concludes that Cyprus, known for processors, passport sellers, and money laundering, can transform into an equal among regional states. Achieving this shift requires strategic and comprehensive efforts, not just in welcome and case-by-case steps, but in a bold way that challenges allies and entrenched interests.