Students take a Turkish class at the Home for Cooperation cafe situated in the buffer zone dividing the Mediterranean island of Cyprus on Jan. 11, 2017. / AFP / Amir MAKAR / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY NADERA BOUAZZA
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Between two checkpoints in Europe's last divided capital a coffee shop provides a venue for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to overcome their differences and dream of a shared future.The venue's location in no man's land makes it accessible to Cypriots from both sides, says the 25-year-old Turkish Cypriot.Nine years later, Turkish Cypriot leaders declared a breakaway state in the north that is only recognized by Ankara.As Cypriot leaders press peace talks this week in Geneva towards reunifying the island, Home for Cooperation is a concrete example of both communities coming together, says its manager Lefkia Heracleous. When the center opened, its teachers only had a few students, says Heracleous, but now they offer five classes of Turkish and three of Greek a week.For more than a decade, Peace Players has coached Greek and Turkish Cypriots aged 12 to 20 in the art of dribbling.
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