|dc.description.abstract||The discovery of a highly promising natural gas field in 2011 introduced economic and political opportunities for Cyprus, at the same time it risked intensifying its decade-old conflict, called the Cyprus problem. This protracted conflict over power-sharing of the island has led to episodes of violence and a lasting social, political and demographic divide between its two ethnic communities: the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community. Their respective motherlands, Turkey and Greece have been crucially involved in their dispute as well. The division in Cyprus became cemented in 1974, when after a Greek-led coup on the island, the government of Turkey send military troops and erected a physical border that separated the two Cypriot communities. Turkish troops stayed, as did communal trauma, separation and mutual antagonism. While internationally supported peace efforts have helped prevent violence in Cyprus after 1974, there has been no success in reuniting the communities under a new government. Peace talks have been a tremendously complex and seemingly impossible endeavor. While over the years they have broken down over similar causes, their dynamics, progression and outcomes have also been influenced by new and external developments. Using McAdam and Fligstein’s theory of fields and a method of ‘explaining outcome process tracing’ this research asks how the politics surrounding Cypriot gas, involving the two governments in Cyprus as well as the Turkish government, has affected the Cyprus talks between 2011-2017.
It is found that gas has incentivized the recontinuation of the Cyprus talks in 2014, but also that political contention over the rights and ownership of gas have had a predominantly negative effect on the progression of peace talks. That contention has repeatedly damaged mutual trust between parties, negatively affected the atmosphere at the negotiation table and caused negotiations to come to a standstill. Lastly, it is found that the issue of gas has been used by parties as leverage to push for more a favorable peace settlement.||