Cyprus 1960–74


Map Code: Ax02997

In 1878 the Ottoman Turks ceded Cyprus to the British Empire, which annexed the island in 1925. The majority of the population was made up of Greek Cypriots, who desired enosis (union with Greece), which the Turkish Cypriots rejected. After three decades of unrest, Cyprus gained its independence from Britain in 1960; Turkey, Greece and Britain were the guarantor powers and Britain retained two military bases on the island. The Treaty of Zurich of 1960 gave both Cypriot communities equal political rights and prohibited enosis, effectively creating a bi-national partnership state. In 1963 President Makarios, arguing that the complex mechanisms introduced to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots were hampering government, introduced a series of constitutional amendments, the ‘13 Points’. This led to fierce inter-communal fighting, including massacres and atrocities, and the Turkish Cypriot participation in government ceased. In 1964 the UN Security Council sent peacekeeping forces to the island, where an increasingly fraught and violent civil war was being waged, creating the ‘green line’, which divided the two communities, while Turkish Cypriots withdrew to scattered enclaves all over the island. Excluded from the government, the Turkish Cypriots organized their own national administration in 1967. In July 1974 a coup d’etat, led by Greek officers and organized by the military junta that was then ruling Greece, took place, with the aim of overthrowing Makarios and achieving enosis. In response Turkish troops invaded the north, and between July and August took control of 38 per cent of the island. As a result a series of ethnic displacements took place, as Turkish Cypriots moved north and Greek Cypriots moved south. On 13 February 1975 the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus was proclaimed, which is only recognized by Turkey and regarded as illegal under international law.

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