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Introduction: A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot-occupied area declared...

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The Cyprus Dispute: The final period of British rule in Cyprus saw a bitter deterioration in relations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. In 1960 the Republic of Cyprus became independent under a Constitution which provided for a power sharing arrangement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Britain, Greece and Turkey became the guarantors of Cyprus' independence and territorial integrity. Friction between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots intensified in 1963 after President Makarios sought to amend the Constitution. This was viewed by the Turkish Cypriots as an attempt to destroy their guaranteed community rights and they ...

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Government: Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided de facto into the government-controlled two-thirds of the island and the Turkish Cypriot-administered one-third. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus has continued to be the only internationally recognized authority; in practice, its authority extends only to the government-controlled area.

The 1960 Cypriot constitution provided for a ...

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International Relations: Relations with neighbours

Cyprus enjoys excellent relations with Greece and cooperates closely on a range of issues. As Turkey doesn’t recognise the Republic of Cyprus, relations with Turkey are much more difficult and strained. The continued division of Cyprus and the need for a solution impacts significantly on Cyprus’ relations with its neighbours and beyond.

Relations with the international community

At the December 2002 Copenhagen European Council, Cyprus was formally invited to join the EU. Cyprus signed the Treaty of Accession on 16 April 2004 and became a full member of ...

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Human settlements existed on Cyprus as early as 5800 B.C., during the Neolithic Era or New Stone Age. The Neolithic Cypriots' origin is uncertain. Some evidence, including artifacts of Anatolian obsidian, suggests that the setters were related to the peoples of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). The discovery of copper on the island around 3000 B.C. brought more frequent visits from traders. ...

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Area Handbook Series
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