As a result of the Zurich-London agreements, Cyprus became an independent Republic on 16 August 1960. The 1960 constitution incorporated a system of entrenched community rights for Turkish Cypriots unparalleled in any other country and a heavy inefficient biocommunal structure. In November 1963, Cyprus' first president, Archbishop Makarios, put forward proposals for amendment to the constitution in order to improve the functionality of the state. Turkey and the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community outrightly rejected the proposal.

As a consequence of the ensuing standoff, the Turkish Cypriot ministers withdrew from the Council of Ministers, and Turkish Cypriot civil servants ceased attending their offices. The deadlock gave rise to intercommunal clashes and threats on the part of Turkey to invade Cyprus. The government of Cyprus appealed to the UN Security Council which confirmed the sovereignty and legality of the Republic of Cyprus and its government, sent a peace keeping force (UNFICYP) to help, inter alia, restore law and order and put in motion a process for a peaceful settlement.

Intercommunal strife subsided relatively quickly and the Cyprus government at the time made all efforts to restore the situation to normality. In 1968 the government initiated intercommunal talks with the Turkish Cypriot leadership under UN auspices for a negotiated agreement on a more functional constitutional system for Cyprus. By 1974 significant progress was achieved through the intercommunal talks but developments that summer interrupted the process, with devastating consequences for the island.

The Zurich Agreements signed in 1960 by Archbishop Makarios and Dr. Fazil KüçükThe Zurich Agreements signed in 1960 by Archbishop Makarios and Dr. Fazil Küçük 17.jpg

 

Turkish Invasion and Occupation


On 15 July 1974, the ruling military junta of Greece staged a coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of Cyprus. On 20 July, Turkey, invaded Cyprus, allegedly to restore constitutional order. It seized about 36.2 percent of the territory of the island in the north, an act universally condemned as a gross infringement of international law and the UN Charter.

007.jpg 	Larnaca Aquaduct - Ottoman occupation 19.jpg 20.jpg 21.jpg 22.jpg 23.jpg

The invasion and occupation had disastrous consequences. More than 160,000 Greek Cypriots living in the north, nearly one third of the population of Cyprus at that time, were forcibly expelled from the occupied northern part of the island where they constituted 80 percent of the population. These people are still prevented by Turkish military presence from returning to their homes and properties. A further 20, 000 persons, the majority of which Greek Cypriots enclaved in the occupied areas were gradually, through intimidation and denial of their basic human rights, forced to abandon their homes. According to the latest report of the Secretary General to the Security Council there are only around 384 Greek Cypriots and 142 Maronites enclaved persons.

The invasion had a disastrous effect both on the purely human as well as the economic level. The economy was practically destroyed, as a result of the invasion and there were thousands of people killed or missing.

 In the aftermath of the invasion Turkey promoted demographic changes in the occupied territory through the import Anatolian settlers. The large influx of settlers has also negatively affected the living conditions of the Turkish Cypriots, forcing over fifty-five thousand to emigrate.

 

Seeking a negotiated solution


 

Successive rounds of UN-sponsored talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities since 1974 to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunite the country have been so far fruitless largely due to Turkey's intransigent positions.

The government of Cyprus remains committed to the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and to a sustained process that will facilitate a comprehensive settlement.

Despite the persistence of the de facto division of the island with disastrous consequences for the whole of the population whatever their ethnic origin, Cyprus is standing firm, is a modern, democratic and forward looking society being proactive and creative as a member of the EU, moving ahead for the benefit of all Cypriots themselves and of the European family as a whole.

Christofias – Talat – DownerChristofias – Talat – Downer Christofias – Ban Ki Moon – Eroglu 24.jpg The President of the Republic at a meeting with the Turkish-Cypriot leader and the UN Secretary-General (24 January 2012, Greentree)
 
Copyright © 2012 Press and Information Office (PIO). All Rights Reserved. | Disclaimer.
Designed by Byte Digital Agency. Developed by Istognosis.