It was August 30th, 1994. After three days in Cyprus I had already learned that although traffic signs might direct you to Famagusta, the place itself remained unreachable due to the Turkish presence, which had lasted for 20 years. Only a spy-glass in Deryneia’s four-story watch-tower could offer an unforgettable view to the ghost town of Varosha, once a famous holiday resort, which had become a heavily guarded no-go-area right next to Famagusta. In that particular moment I realised that beyond the „no-man’s-land”, a UN buffer zone, which separates two conflicting parties, two political entities operate – the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot states, with the major difference that the former is recognized by the international community despite the domestic legitimacy deficit (the 1960 Constitution factually ceased to exist in 1963, 11 years before the Turkish invasion), whereas the latter may be legitimate in the eyes of the Turkish Cypriots, but representing an outlaw rebellious entity for the rest of the world. The spy-glass had only half opened my investigative eyes. The follow-up observation took me to North Nicosia. I passed the Ledra Palace check-point with the promise to return by 5 PM on the same day while keeping in mind that every single penny I spend there supports the Turkish military presence.

This was the beginning of my curiosity towards anomalous and deviant cases and unconventional situations in the far side. I became attracted to the politically marginal (ethnic minorities, peripheral regions, de facto states) and to manifest borders between minds and territories while searching for conceptualizations from disciplinary margins where political science and geography meet. After years of geopolitical field experience, border studies and praxis in daily politics I got a new start in this study area, which remains as unexplored as it was in 1994. It may seem that the world around us has changed a lot: the “green line” has been opened up in Cyprus, Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by major powers, and the Abkhazians have gained more sovereignty than ever before. Yet the issues and problems to which my eyes were opened on that day in August 1994 are as real as ever in many parts of the world.