11-Jan-2005 -- After having discharged a consignment of Dutch seed potatoes in Egypt, our next employment was to load potatoes, grapefruits, mandarines and oranges in Ashdod (Israel) and Mersin (Turkey) for Sheerness (U.K.) and Vlissingen (The Netherlands). Loading in Ashdod took only about 12 hours, and now we are already northbound to Mersin. Following this track we passed the easternmost tip of Cyprus, and I can add another country to my private list ;-)
Greek colonies were established in Cyprus in about the middle of the second millennium BC, and later the island formed part of the Persian, Roman and Byzantine empires. In 1193 the island became a Frankish kingdom, 1489 a Venetian dependence, and in 1571 it was conquered by the Turks. In 1878 the Turks ceded Cyprus to Great Britain for administrative purposes. In 1914 the island was annexed by Great Britain, and in 1925 it was given the status of a crown colony. In 1960 Cyprus became an independent republic within the British Commonwealth of Nations, and until today Britain retains sovereignty over some military bases (Akrotiri and Dhekelia). In 1974 Turkey invaded and occupied the north part of the island, and in 1983 Turkish Cypriots declared the area an independent state, to be known as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", but it has not been recognized by any country other than Turkey. Four fifths of the population of Cyprus are of Greek origin, one fifth is of Turkish origin. The area of the island is about 3,570 sq. miles (9.250 km²), and the population of the whole island is about 800,000.
The confluence lies quite far offshore, about 26 nautical miles northeast of the northeastern tip of the island of Cyprus. I troubled to classify to which country it belongs: legally it is of course in international waters (outside the 12 nautical miles zone), but according the rules of the project it belongs to Cyprus, or more precisely to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" - but never mind – Confluence is Confluence.
Looking at the chart, the island of Cyprus has the shape of a helicopter, and coming from south we had to round its eastern end. A few kilometres southwest of Cyprus' eastern tip there is a large monastery. The easternmost point is formed by Cape Andreas and a few scattered rocky islets extending further towards northeast, namely a very small one of which I do not know the name (if there is even one?) and a larger one, named Klidhes Islet, on which there is a prominent and important lighthouse. Farther NE of Klidhes Islet there are several rocky shoals, and these latter ones form the real "Eastend" of Cyprus.
After having taken a picture of the whole arrangement in the vicinity of Cape Andreas, we proceeded to the Confluence. From there of course no longer very much can be seen, but at least something. We attach the view towards SW and the one towards WSW, where we can make out the range of the Karpas Mountains.
A word to the Cyprus problem:
Cyprus is an island inhabited by both Greeks and Turkish. These two peoples have a mutual hostile attitude towards each other within living memory. The history of the whole Eastern Mediterranean basin is one of permanent conflicts, hostilities and wars since thousands of years. I have spent a lot of time in this area and meanwhile collected sufficient experience to know that real peace and harmony never and ever will prevail here in this powder keg.
Too many are the differences, the resentments and mutual mistrust. Too many bad things have happened in history. I am sad to say but I see absolutely no way how to settle all these problems in the Middle East. Politicians may meet, conferences and speeches may be held, treaties may be signed as much as they wish... we have learned that they will be violated prior the ink the signatures are written with has dried up.
Regarding Cyprus many say what a pity this island is divided and Greeks and Turks are not able to live in peace and friendship with each other. I, however, daresay it to be the lesser of two evils that both parties are separated, thus at least either of them nowadays have their own territory and so they do no longer get in their way so frequently.