Modern History of Cyprus from British Colony until today – follow its traces with Cyprus Car Rental
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You may be interested in the recent history of Cyprus then you can chat with the locals and hear their stories. This experience you can gain by traveling by yourself freely and mingling as you please with the local folk. Take the help of Cyprus Car Rental for this purpose.
In 1878 as the result of the Cyprus Convention, the United Kingdom took over the government of Cyprus as a protectorate from the Ottoman Empire.
While the Greek Cypriots had at first welcomed British rule hoping that they would gradually achieve prosperity, democracy and national liberation, they were soon disillusioned. The British imposed heavy taxes to cover the compensation which they were paying to the Sultan for having conceded Cyprus to them. Moreover, the people were not given the right to participate in the administration; their participation was very marginal.
The British faced two major political problems on the island. The first was to contain the desire for union with Greece (enosis), after it became clear to the Greek Cypriots that it was not going to be granted. The second was the consequential problem of keeping the two communities in harmony once the Turkish Cypriots began to respond to enosis by calling for partition (taksim) as a defense against their being Hellenized and assimilation, as they saw it. The Greek Cypriots could easily claim that they had a strong case in history and they constituted between three quarters and three fifths of the population.
However, Cyprus' status as a protectorate of the British Empire ended in 1914 when the Ottoman Empire declared war against the Entente powers, which included Britain. Cyprus was then annexed by the British Empire on November the 2nd. During the course of the First World War Britain offered to cede Cyprus to Greece if they would fulfill treaty obligations to attack Bulgaria, but Greece declined. As a result of this treaty, Britain proclaimed Cyprus a Crown Colony in 1925 under an undemocratic constitution.
The period between October 1931 and October 1940 proved to be a very difficult one for the Greek Cypriots.
The Governor of the time Sir Richmond Palmer took a number of suppressive measures including limitations in the administration and functioning of Greek schools and prohibition of trade unions and associations of any kind and form. This illegal regime became known as Palmerokratia named after the Governor. Its aim was to prevent all Enosis movements as well as local public interest in politics.
There were strong protests against the regime but the suppressive measures were not lifted until the beginning of the Second World War, during which more than thirty thousand Cypriots joined the British armed forces.
In 1948, King Paul of Greece declared that Cyprus desired union with Greece. In 1951 the Orthodox Church of Cyprus presented a referendum according to which around 97% of the Greek Cypriot population wanted the union. The United Nations accepted the Greek petition and enosis became an international issue. Led by Archbishop Makarios, the Greek Cypriot demand for enosis emerged with new force in the 1950s, when Greece began to accord it support on the international scene. This attempt to win world support alerted Turkey and alarmed the Turkish Cypriots.
When international pressure did not suffice to make Britain respond as required, violence escalated with a campaign against the colonial power organised by EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston). Its leader, Colonel George Grivas, created and directed an effective campaign beginning. The first bombs were set off on 1 April 1955 followed by leaflets. Attacks on police stations started on the 19 June. The Governor proclaimed a State of Emergency on 26 November. For the next four years EOKA attacked primarily British or British-connected targets. Archbishop Makarios and other Cypriot clergy and political leaders were forced into exile in Seychelles.
Easily infiltrated by Greek Cypriot sympathisers working for them in various ancillary tasks, the British security forces had to exert great efforts to suppress the fight for freedom and independence. They were much more successful then is often recognised, though the attacks on British personnel never quite ceased. Makarios was exiled, suspected of involvement in the EOKA campaign, but was released when EOKA, exhausted but still determined to fight, agreed to cease hostilities on the Archbishop's release free to return.
Makarios could see no way of excluding Turkey from participating in any solution. It was widely believed by the Greek-Cypriots that Britain had promoted the Turkish-Cypriot case, thus preventing the achievement of enosis.
On February 19, 1959 the Zürich agreement attempted to end the conflict. Without the presence of either the Greek or the Turkish sides, the UK outlined a Cypriot constitution, which was eventually accepted by both sides. Both Greece and Turkey along with Britain were appointed as guarantors of the island's integrity. Some of the major points of the Zurich agreement are:
• Cyprus is to become an independent state.
• Both taksim and enosis are to be prohibited.
• Greek and Turkish military forces, at a ratio of approximately 3:2, are to be present at all time in Cyprus. Both forces are to answer to all three Foreign Ministers: of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
• The President is to be a Greek Cypriot, elected by the Greek Cypriot population, and the Vice President a Turkish Cypriot, elected by the Turkish Cypriot population.
• The Cabinet is to include seven Greek Cypriots, chosen by the President, and three Turkish Cypriots, chosen by the Vice President.
• Decisions will need an absolute majority but both the President and the Vice President have the right of veto.
• Britain is to remain a guarantor and keep both of its military bases.
On August 16, 1960 Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom, after an anti-British campaign by the Greek Cypriot EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters), a guerrilla group which desired political union with Greece, or enosis. Archbishop Makarios III, a charismatic religious and political leader, was elected the first president of independent Cyprus. In 1961 it became the 99th member of the United Nations.
The Zurich agreement, however, did not succeed in establishing cooperation between the Greek and the Turkish Cypriot populations. The Greek Cypriots argued that the complex mechanisms introduced to protect Turkish Cypriot interests were obstacles to efficient government. Both sides continued the violence. Turkey threatened to invade the island.
In November 1963, President Makarios advanced a series of constitutional amendments designed to eliminate some of these special provisions. The Turkish Cypriots opposed such changes. The confrontation prompted widespread intercommunal fighting in December 1963, after which Turkish Cypriot participation in the central government ceased. On 23 December 1963, when all Cypriot Turks from the lowest civil servants to ministers, including the Turkish Vice-President Dr Faisal Kutchuk were out of the government. In 1962 Makarios had said "Unless this small Turkish community - forming part of the Turkish race, which has been the terrible enemy of Hellenism - is expelled from Cyprus, the duty of the heroes of Eoka can never be considered terminated"
Makarios ordered a cease-fire and again addressed the issue to the United Nations. UN peacekeepers were deployed on the island in 1964. The force, UNFICYP, included Canadian, Irish and Finnish troops. Its mandate was to prevent fighting, maintain law and order. In 1964 the Turkish parliament voted in favour of the invasion of Cyprus but the lack of support that Turkey faced from both the UN and NATO prevented it. In answer Grivas was recalled to Athens and the Greek military force left the island.
Following another outbreak of intercommunal violence in 1967-68, a Turkish Cypriot provisional administration was formed.
Greek coup and Turkish invasion
In July 1974, the legitimate president was overthrown by an Athens orchestrated coup carried out by the Cypriot National Guard. Turkey then invaded Cyprus on July 20. In a two-stage offensive, Turkish troops took control of 38% of the island. 200,000 Greek Cypriots fled the Turkish forces while up to 60,000 Turkish Cypriots were transferred to the occupied areas by the United Nations and British SBA authorities after threats from Turkey. Since then, the southern part of the country has been under the control of the internationally recognised Cyprus government and the northern part under a Turkish Cypriot subordinate local administration supported by the presence of Turkish troops.
In 1983, the 1974 Turkish-occupied area declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions that have called the declaration "legally invalid" and as such it faces an international embargo. The United Nations have urged all states to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic Of Cyprus.
United Nations Peacekeeping Forces maintain a buffer zone between the two sides. Except for occasional demonstrations or infrequent incidents between soldiers in the buffer zone, there had been no violent conflict since 1974 until August 1996, when violent clashes led to the death of two demonstrators and escalated tension. There is little movement of people and essentially no movement of goods or services between the two parts of the island.
UN-led talks on the status of Cyprus resumed in December 1999 to prepare the ground for meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement. Efforts to reunite the island under a federal structure continue, however, under the auspices of the United Nations.
As Cyprus planned to join the European Community in May 2004, there were renewed negotiations about the status of the Island. In December 2003, the buffer zone between the two parts of Cyprus was partly opened; numerous Greek Cypriots visited the north, and labour migration of Turkish Cypriots to the south (especially in Nicosia) began.
A referendum on the Annan Plan for Cyprus, a United Nations proposal for reunification was placed before both communities in April, 2004. The plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots while approved by the Turkish Cypriots but required the approval of both sides to succeed.
Do not miss to hear the history from the people of the country. Let them tell you their tales. Rent a car from Cyprus Car Hire and enjoy talking to the natives and hear their in richening tales.
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