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Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 18:44 GMT
Cyprus seeks new flag
The United Nations has advertised a competition for artists and musicians to come up with a new national flag and a new national anthem for the divided island of Cyprus if a deal is reached over its re-unification.
Rival Cypriot leaders, who have been meeting to discuss a possible deal, agreed to the competition last week.
They have until a UN deadline of 28 February to strike an agreement which would ensure a reunited Cyprus join the European Union in May 2004.
"The [new] flag and anthem must represent the commitment to a common future in a spirit of co-operation, tolerance and reconciliation in a reunified and independent Cyprus," the UN advertisement, published in local newspapers, said.
No financial reward will be offered to the winner.
"It's for the honour, the glory and the prestige and something the winner can tell their grandchildren about," a UN official said.
The deadline for submission of applications for the competition is 17 February.
The flag should be easy enough for a child to draw; the anthem need not have lyrics, but just a catchy tune of between 30 and 60 seconds long, the UN said in the advert.
Anyone is eligible to enter the competition, including foreigners, and joint applications from Greek and Turkish Cypriots were particularly welcome, the UN said.
The existing flag of Cyprus, which came into being when the island gained independence from Britain in 1960, is the only one in the world with a map of the country.
It was designed by a Turkish Cypriot artist.
The flag for the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Ankara, is a reverse image of the Turkish flag - with a red star and crescent.
Greek and Turkish Cypriots sing the national anthems of their respective mother countries.
The island's two leaders have to decide what the Republic of Cyprus should be called after a settlement.
Possible names are said to include: "Cyprus", "Union of Cyprus" or "United States of Cyprus".
Even though I am Turkish, I think that the flag of Cyprus should be one similar to the flag of Greece. The island has always had a vast Greek majority and we must respect that. Creating a Cypriot flag with a Greek influence, would be a sign of respect that would be a step forward in Greece-Turkey relations.
The flag has been there since Cyprus' independence in 1960. At the time the island was unified with the two nations. AND the island bore the CYPRUS flag which was accepted by the Greeks, even though it was designed by a Turkish-Cypriot. NO crescent and/or moon should be added because those signs are not a representation of the Greeks in any way.
Volkan Mehmet, London
The flag should stay the same. They all accepted it before the island was divided. Now that the aim is to remove the division, the flag should be restored throughout.
Hendrik Jan Slettenhaar, United States
The current flag is the flag for both communities. It contains no symbols of Greece or Turkey and is mutually acceptable. Any crescent on the flag would just represent the invasion and Turkish domination that should be avoided at all costs. Keep the current flag.
Top third: the Turkish red for the north part
Middle third: the 'copper' / dark yellow for Cyprus
Bottom part: Greek blue for the south
and in the middle the peace symbol as from the old flag.
Peter Hanssen, Edinburgh
I think it is a disgrace to change the island's flag, because Cyprus is one country, and ONE country only. Having another flag and another anthem is pitiful, and government should do something about it...
I agree with changing the anthem, because currently, the Cypriot anthem IS the same as the Greek anthem, but I disagree with changing the flag. The current flag is the Flag of CYPRUS, not the flag of Greek Cypriots. Some may say that would be a good sign of a new beginning, so I am not set all-dead against it either.
I don't see the reason why a new flag is required. The existing flag showing the island's map should be used. I don't see how anyone could complain since although the flag is currently used by the Greek community it was in fact designed by a Turkish Cypriot!
As an artist, and a person who believes in world peace, I think a shade of blue as a background and a green and yellow linear type drawing (ie a green and yellow line crossing, and even tying a knot with each other). The reason for yellow and green is that it represents peace, and ironically doesn't represent the Greek or Turkish flag. I also think its about time that the world woke up to the fact that there are Turkish Cypriots existing in Cyprus and always have been. I just hope this new flag and anthem will not be a means to an end of Turkish Cypriots, just as the Greeks have so many times tried to wipe out. PEACE.
I think the UN has an excellent idea. Cyprus should definitely do what the South Africans did after apartheid: make a brand new flag with colours and patterns that symbolize the ethnicity and history of all citizens. Design is a highly developed art these days - it shouldn't be too hard.
The navy blue background with the
golden map of Cyprus surrounded by
the golden stars of the European
Union, that the Turkish Cypriots
held during their demonstrations for
reunification, would be an excellent
The existing flag is one of the nicest in the world. OK, many Turkish Cypriots may not see it as theirs, but it was designed by a Turkish Cypriot in the first place, so it would not be a defeat to accept it.
If that is impossible, the idea of putting the golden map of Cyprus on a navy blue European flag, would not be a bad compromise.
Alexander Apostolides, Cyprus
The current flag with the design of the Cyprus map and the two olive branches is very suitable for the 'new union'. The current flag shows the two communities coming together in peace.
Tom Francis, Turkey
Adding a crescent to the existing flag would be nice. But I am not very optimistic that the Greek Cypriots will accept the idea since it would mean recognizing the Turkish existence (not minority) in the island which their administration is keen on denying.
A flag is just a flag. It won't solve the psychological divisions that will still exist after reunification.
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