restricted access An Eternal Balancing Act: Cyprus, Britain, and the Refugee Question in the SBAs


This article analyzes the British approach to the so-called refugee question within the Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) of Cyprus. By drawing on examples from 1974–1975, 1998, and 2015, this paper will show that it is a policy of detachment that connects and defines the British response to this question in their attempt to successfully overcome the issues of precedent and responsibility that are so intertwined with refugee problems. This paper will highlight the importance of what has been termed the detached ideal: contain, manage, and remove. Each step involves balancing pain against gain, action against reaction, and if needed, one side over the other, in the pursuit of the least damaging way of solving this problem. Ultimately, what this paper shows is that in addressing the refugee question on Cyprus, the British government would much rather face criticism outside of its borders rather than issues within them.