Cyprus

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The Republic of Cyprus is a republic, located on the island of the same name in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Independence from the UK was approved in 1960 with constitutional guarantees by the Greek Cypriot majority to the Turkish Cypriot minority. The overall guarantor powers were Turkey, Greece and Great Britain. Throughout the 1960's, the Greek EOKA terorists followed a policy of ethnicly cleansing the Turkish Cypriot population, in their ultimate aim to make the island Greek and unite with Greece (ENOSIS).

In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government and unite the island with Greece was met by military intervention from Turkey who exercised its powers under the treaty of guarantee it held. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but it is recognized only by Turkey. UN-led talks on the status of Cyprus resumed in December 1999 to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.

The capital is Nicosia.

Chronology

1571-1878 Three centuries of Turkish rule under the Ottomans. Only resistance offered by Venentian strongholds of Nicosia and Famagusta. Islanders themselves glad to see end of oppressive Venetian rule. Orthodox church recognised again and Archbishopric restored. Feudal system abolished, but heavy taxes imposed, using church as tax collectors.

1625-1700 Great depopulation of Cyprus. Plague wipe out over half of the population

1821 Greek Cypriot side with Greece in revolt against Turkish rule. Island's leading churchmen executed in punishment.

1869 Suez Canal opens.

1878-1960 British occupation. British take on administration of the island, ceded from the Ottomans, for its strategic value, to protect their sea route to India via the Suez Canal. In exchange, Britain agrees to help Turkey should Russia attack again.

1914 Cyprus annexed by Britain when Turkey join with Germany and Austro-Hungary in World War I.

1925 Cyprus becomes British Crown Colony.

1931 First serious riots of Greek Cypriots demanding Enosis, union with Greece

1939 Greek Cypriots fight with British in World War II, but remain set on Enosis after war is over. Turkish Cypriots however want British rule to continue.

1950 Archbishop Makarios III elected political and spiritual leader. Heads the campaign for Enosis with support of Greece.

1955 Series of bomb attacks, start of violent campaign for Enosis by EOKA (National Organisoation of Cypriot Fighters) led by George Grivas, ex-colonel in Greek army, born in Cyprus. Grivas takes name of Dighenis, legendary Cypriot hero and conducts guerilla warfare from secret hideout in Trodos mountains. Estimated to have 300 men maximum, yet successfully palgues 20,000 British troops and 4,500 police.

1956 Britain deports Makarios to Seychelles in attempt to quell revolt. Turkish Cypriots used as auixiliaries of British Security Forces, allegedly torturing EOKA captives during British cross-examinations.

1957 Field Marshal Sir John Harding replaced by civilian governor Sir Hugh Foot in conciliatory move.

1958 Turkish Cypriots alarmed by British conciliation and begin demands for partition. Inter-communal clashes and attacks on British.

1960 British, Greek and Turkish governments sign Treaty of Guarantee to provide for independent Cypriot state within the Commonwealth and allowing for retention of two Sovereign Base Areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri. Under the treaty, each power has the right to take military action in the face of any threat to the constitution. Cyprus truly independent for the first time. Archbishop Makarios (Greek Cypriot) is first President, Dr Kutchuk (Turkish Cypriot) Vice- President. Both have right of veto. Turkish Cypriots, who form 18% of the population, given 30% of places in government and administration, 40% in the army and seperate municipal services in the five major towns.

1963-1973 Greek Cypriots view the constitution as unworkable and propose changes which was rejected by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish government. Inter-communal fighting escalates and UN Peace Keeping Force sent in, but powerless to prevent incidents. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots ethnically cleansed by Greeks.

1974- 1976 Military government (junta) in Greece supports coup by Greek National guard to overthrow Makarios. Makarios forced to flee. Puppet regime imposed under Nicos Sampson, former EOKA fighter. Rauf Denktash, Turkish Cypriot leader, calls for joint military action by the UK and Turkey, as guarantors of Cypriot independence, to prevent Greece imposing Enosis. The Turkish prime minister travels to London to persuade the UK to intervene jointly with Turkey, but fails, so Turkey exercises her right under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee and lands 40,000 troops on the north coast of Cyprus. Turkey describes this as 'a peace operation to restore constitutional order and protect the Turkish Cypriot community'. UN talks break down and Turkish forces are left in control of 37% of the island. Refugees from both communities cross to respective sides of the de facto border. Turks announce Federated State in the north with Denktash as leader. UN Forces stay as buffer between the two zones. Some 20,000 mainland Turks, mainly subsistence farmers, are brought in to settle and work the underpopulated land. Those that stay more than five years are given citizenship of North Cyprus.

1977 Makarios dies, having been restored as President of Greek Cyprus after 1974. Succeeded by the Spyros Kyprianou.

1983 Turkish Federated State declares itself independent, as Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), still with Denktash as President. New state is not recognised by any country except Turkey.

1992-1995 UN sponsored talks between the two sides run into the sand, but with a commitment to resume.


From the CIA World Factbook 2000. Not Wikified.

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