Monday 10 August 2020

Human Settlments (Cyprus, 1976)

This much I know: this stamp is from Cyprus, dated 1976. The Greek text along the top translates as Human Settlements and we are given the word Habitat too. The image on the stamp suggests a modern development – dense blocks, roads, even little roundabouts for turning vehicles. Beyond that, I’m stumped. I’m sure the logo top-right will mean something but I don’t know what it is…

So what was going on in Cyprus at the time? Cyprus had long been a point of argument and conflict between Greece and Turkey and, whilst a notional power-sharing agreement had been brought in in 1960, this was soon followed by UN peacekeepers suggesting that power-sharing wasn’t working quite as anticipated. In 1974, Greek Cypriots carried out a military coup, taking control of the island. Unsurprisingly, Turkey responded by invading / reclaiming the north of the island and, after a period of back-and-forth, declared it to be the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus.

This declaration led to the expulsion of Greek Cypriots from this territory. So I’m wondering if this stamp is about re-housing displaced peoples in new communities rather than just about building new housing. There seem to have been programmes to reactivate the Cyprus economy after the island was split and perhaps this was one.

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