Just as the domestic political environment in Cyprus has changed dramatically over the past fifty years, so too has its relationship with the wider world. When the island achieved statehood, the European empires were in decline and the Cold War was at its height. In this geo-political climate, the Republic of Cyprus opted to join the Non-Aligned Movement. Today, it is a member of the European Union. This has undoubtedly given it a degree of political security. However, questions remain as to whether the EU can really deliver on expectations. Thus the question of whether Cyprus should pursue closer relations with NATO is increasingly gathering attention. But behind this examination of how Cyprus has aligned itself on the world stage since independence lies a far more significant story of growing autonomy for the people of Cyprus. Having been a colony of one or other of the countless empires that had dominated the Eastern Mediterranean, independence has given Cyprus a degree of freedom to choose its orientation that has never been known before. That the Republic of Cyprus could effectively choose whether to join NATO or the Non-Aligned Movement, and that it has been able to accede to the European Union, highlights the degree to which it has been able to develop its own place in the world over the past fifty years
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