They met though social media, inspired by their love of music. But musicians Larkos Larkou and Hatice Ardost are no ordinary couple, and until at least a decade ago their relationship would have been unheard of in a country riven by conflict and distrust.
“It’s not really a subject of discussion in our household,” Larkou, 43, says somewhat awkwardly as he sits cradling a cup of tea by the kitchen counter at the home he shares in Cyprus with Ardost, 34, his wife.
“Whether Hatice is a Turkish Cypriot and I’m a Greek Cypriot might be a subject for others, but for us, this is completely natural.”
Ardost nods vigorously. “Two human beings being together is not a miracle.”
Their union is emblematic of a gradual thaw in relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus, home to one of Europe’s most enduring conflicts.
Diplomats are now hopeful that a deal is within reach to solve the Cyprus conundrum after years of failed initiatives.
But while politicians slog it out at the negotiation table, Cypriots on both sides of the divide have taken matters into their own hands. People-to-people contact is now flourishing after an easing of crossings between the two sides in 2003, which followed decades of isolation.
Ardost and Larkou are among a small, but growing community of mixed-marriage Cypriot couples, transcending psychological and physical barriers. They married within two months of meeting in 2014, and are expecting their first child later this year.
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