Cyprus Dispute

Greek: Κυπριακη Διαφορ&alpha
What: Illegal occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey
When: 1974

Map of Cyprus showing the divided Northern and Southern regions.

Map of Cyprus showing the divided Northern and Southern regions.

The Cyprus dispute is a conflict between Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots and Turkey over Cyprus, an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Since the arrival of the British on Cyprus in 1878, the Cyprus Dispute was identified as the conflict between the people of Cyprus and the United Kingdom as a colonial ruler. The core of the dispute was theCypriots’ demand for self determination and union with Greece (enosis). Finally, in 1960 Cyprus gained its independence.

For the next fourteen years talks between the Greek-Cypriots (78% of the population) and Turkish-Cypriots (18% of the population) were ongoing to produce a constitution and government that was accepting for both sides. Then in July 15, 1974 the head of the junta in Greece, Dimitrios Ioannidis, deposed Makarios, the leader of the Greek-Cypriots, with a coup of the Cyprus National Guard with the aim of uniting Cyprus with Greece. The Turkish Prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, five days later ordered a military invasion of Cyprus. Turkey would eventually seize 36% of the land of the North of Cyprus and a United Nations Buffer Zone (also known as green line) cutting across the island would be formed. The invasion was catastrophic and thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots had been killed, wounded or missing. 160,000 – 200,000 Greek-Cypriots would be displaced from their homes in Northern Cyprus, who made up the majority of the Turkish occupied area. 51,000 Turkish-Cypriots were also displaced from their homes in the South of Cyprus and settled in the north.

To this day Cyprus is still trying to find a solution to unite the island. Only the Southern, Greek-Cypriot controlled, half is officially recognized by the United Nations and is a member of the European Union. They are known as the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is only recognized by Turkey. Among Greek-Cypriots top concerns are a reduction in the Turkish military presence on the island (which is currently at 40,000 troops), the rightful return of both Greek and Turkish properties back to their owners (who were forcibly removed in 1974 during the invasion), the return of the many Turkish citizens that were brought to the island after 1974 in order to populate the Northern part (as much as 120,000 are speculated to have been brought to the island by Turkey), a fair make-up of the parliament for the island and many more smaller issues as well. Also, in an effort to further provoke the Greek-Cypriot victims of the Turkish invasion, the Turkish army has painted a very large Turkish-Cypriot flag on the side of the Pentadaktylos Mountain range that is 450 meters wide. This can be clearly visible from the the Republic of Cyprus.

Videos: A Divided Island: Cyprus

The Green Line – project presentation :

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