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Cyprus profile - Timeline

By legend the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, Cyprus's modern history has, in contrast, been dominated by enmity between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the Athens government.

The island was effectively partitioned with the northern third inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and the southern two-thirds by Greek Cypriots. United Nations troops patrol the "Green Line" dividing the two parts. Reunification talks have proceeded slowly.

Cyprus successfully diversified its largely agrarian economy into one based on services - including a large tourism sector - and light manufacturing. More recently it has also developed into an important financial hub, especially for investors from Russia and Eastern Europe.


Republic of Cyprus

Capital: Nicosia

Population 1.1 million (combined)

Area 9,251 sq km (3,572 sq miles) (combined)

Major languages Greek, Turkish

Major religionsChristianity, Islam

Life expectancy 78 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)

Currency euro; Turkish lira in the north

UN, World Bank


President: Nicos Anastasiades

Conservative Democratic Rally candidate Nicos Anastasiades won the February 2013 run-off election by one of the biggest margins for many years, promising to do whatever was needed to secure a financial rescue package. He pledged to hammer out a quick deal with foreign lenders and bring Cyprus closer to Europe, in a shift from the policies of the outgoing Communist government that first sought aid from Russia before turning to the European Union. He quickly reached agreement with the UN and IMF on a 10bn-euro bank bailout, which was equally quickly amended to safeguard smaller bank accounts after parliament rejected the deal. On the question of reunification with the separatist Turkish Cypriot north, Mr Anastasiades welcomed the election of pro-unity Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in 2015 and immediately agreed to the resumption of hitherto stalled talks.

Mr Anastasiades won a second term in early 2018.

Turkish Cypriot leader: Mustafa Akinci

Mustafa Akinci, a social democrat, swept to victory in the Turkish Cypriot communal presidential election in 2015, promising to push harder for a peace deal in Cyprus. He beat the nationalist incumbent Dervis Eroglu. As long-serving mayor of the Turkish Cypriot municipality of North Nicosia between 1976 and 1990, Mr Akinci had pioneered cooperation with his southern counterpart on practical sanitation and heritage projects. This experience illuminates his later devotion to the cause of Cypriot reunification. He founded the Peace and Democracy Movement in 2003 in support of the UN's Annan Plan for a united Cyprus within the European Union, and also advocates a policy of greater independence from Turkey in policy matters. The Cypriot government welcomed his election. The status of Northern Cyprus as a separate entity is recognised only by Turkey.


The Cypriot media mirror the island's political division, with the Turkish-controlled zone in the north operating its own press and broadcasters. Some 95% of Cypriots were online by 2015 and 70% on Facebook.


Some key dates in the history of Cyprus:

1914 - Cyprus annexed by Britain, after more than 300 years of Ottoman rule. Britain had occupied the island in 1878, although it remained nominally under Ottoman sovereignty.

1955 - Greek Cypriots begin guerrilla war against British rule. The guerrilla movement, the National Organisation of Cypriot Combatants (EOKA), wants enosis (unification) with Greece.

1960 - Britain grants independence to Cyprus under a power-sharing constitution between Turkish and Greek Cypriots, holding intervention rights over the island along with Turkey and Greece.

1963 - President Makarios raises Turkish fears by proposing constitutional changes which would abrogate power-sharing arrangements. Inter-communal violence erupts. Turkish side withdraws from power-sharing.

1974 - Military junta in Greece backs coup against Makarios, who escapes. Within days Turkish troops land in north. Coup collapses. Turkish forces occupy a third of the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots flee in opposite directions.

1983 - Rauf Denktash declares the breakaway state of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey.

2003 - Turkish and Greek Cypriots cross island's dividing "green line" for first time in 30 years after Turkish Cypriot authorities ease border restrictions.

2004 - Cyprus joins the EU, but does so as a divided island.

2011 - Cyprus becomes entangled in the eurozone debt crisis. It secures a 10-billion-euro aid package to prevent its collapse and a possible exit from the euro zone.

A chronology of key events:

1914 - Cyprus annexed by Britain, after more than 300 years of Ottoman rule. Britain had occupied the island in 1878, although it remained nominally under Ottoman sovereignty.

1925 - Becomes British colony.

1955 - Greek Cypriots begin guerrilla war against British rule in pursuit of unification with Greece. 1956 - Archbishop Makarios, head of enosis campaign, deported to the Seychelles.

1959 - Archbishop Makarios returns and is elected president.


1960 - Cyprus gains independence after Greek and Turkish communities reach agreement on a constitution. Treaty of Guarantee gives Britain, Greece and Turkey the right to intervene. Britain retains sovereignty over two military bases.

1963 - President Makarios raises Turkish fears by proposing constitutional changes which would abrogate power-sharing arrangements. Inter-communal violence erupts. Turkish community withdraws from power-sharing.

1964 - United Nations peacekeeping force set up. Turkish Cypriots withdraw into defended enclaves.

1974 - Military junta in Greece backs coup against President Makarios, who flees. Within days Turkish troops land in north. Greek Cypriots flee their homes. Coup collapses. Turkish forces occupy third of the island, enforce partition between north and south roughly along the "Green Line" ceasefire line drawn up by UN forces in 1963. About 165,000 Greek Cypriots flee or are driven from the Turkish-occupied north, and about 45,000 Turkish Cypriots leave the south for the north. The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyrpus. Turkey refuses to do so, despite repeated UN Security Council resolutions making the same demand over the following decades.

1975 - Turkish Cypriots establish independent administration, with Rauf Denktash as president. Population exchanges agreed.

1977 - President Makarios dies, succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou. 1980 - UN-sponsored peace talks resume.

1983 - Mr Denktash suspends talks and proclaims Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Turkey.

1994 - European Court of Justice rules that a list of goods, including fruit and vegetables, are not eligible for preferential treatment when exported by the Turkish Cypriot community directly to the European Union.

1998 - EU lists Cyprus as potential member. Government drops plans to install Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles after Turkey threatens military action.

2001 June - UN Security Council renews its 36-year mission. Some 2,400 peacekeepers patrol the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

2002 January - Clerides and Denktash begin UN-sponsored negotiations after decades of stalled talks. Minds are concentrated by EU membership aspirations.

2002 November - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presents a comprehensive peace plan for Cyprus which envisages a federation with two constituent parts, presided over by a rotating presidency.

2002 December - EU summit in Copenhagen invites Cyprus to join in 2004 provided the two communities agree to UN plan by early spring 2003. Without reunification, only the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot part of the island will gain membership.

2003 April - Turkish and Greek Cypriots cross island's dividing "green line" for first time in 30 years after Turkish Cypriot authorities ease border restrictions.

2004 April - Twin referendums on whether to accept UN reunification plan in last-minute bid to achieve united EU entry. Plan is endorsed by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots.

EU accession

2004 May - Cyprus is one of 10 new states to join the EU, but does so as a divided island.

2004 December - Turkey agrees to extend its EU customs union agreement to 10 new member states, including Cyprus. The Turkish prime minister says this does not amount to a formal recognition of Cyprus.

2005 August - Cypriot airliner crashes near Athens, Greece, killing all 121 passengers and crew. It is the island's worst peacetime disaster.

2006 July - UN-sponsored talks between President Tassos Papadopolous and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agree a series of confidence-building measures and contacts between the two communities.

2007 January-March - Greek and Turkish Cypriots demolish barriers dividing the old city of Nicosia. The moves are seen as paving the way for another official crossing point on what used to be a key commercial thoroughfare.

2008 January - Cyprus adopts the euro.

New talks

2008 March - New left-wing President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agree to start formal talks on reunification.

2008 April - Symbolic Ledra Street crossing between the Turkish and Greek sectors of Nicosia reopened for first time since 1964.

2010 April - Dervis Eroglu, who favours independence, wins the Turkish north's leadership contest, beating pro-unity incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat.

2010 May - Re-unification talks resume with a new hardliner representing the Turkish north.

2011 May - Parliamentary polls. The the main rightwing opposition party DISY wins by a narrow margin.

2011 July - Navy chief Andreas Ioannides and 12 others die when people when impounded Iranian containers of explosives blow up at the main naval base and the country's main power plant.

2011 September - Cyprus begins exploratory drilling for oil and gas, prompting a diplomatic row with Turkey, which responds by sending an oil vessel to waters off northern Cyprus.

2012 April - The UN cancels plans for a Cyprus conference, citing lack of progress on any of the substantial differences between the two sides. Turkey's Turkish Petroleum Corporation begins drilling for oil and gas onshore in northern Cyprus despite protests from the Cypriot government that the action is illegal.

Financial crisis

2012 June - Cyprus appeals to European Union for financial assistance to shore up its banks, which are heavily exposed to the stumbling Greek economy.

2013 February - Democratic Rally conservative candidate Nicos Anastasiades wins presidential election.

2013 March - President Anastasiades secures 10bn-euro bank bailout from the European Union and IMF. Laiki Bank, the country's second-biggest, is wound down and deposit-holders with more than 100,000 euros will face big losses.

2014 October - Cyprus suspends peace talks with Turkish-held Cypriots in protest against what it calls efforts by Turkey to prevent it from exploring gas fields south of the island. The EU and US express concern over the tension.

2015 February - At talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, President Anastasiades agrees to let Russian navy have access to Cypriot ports.

Reunification talks resume

2015 May - Government and Turkish Cypriot negotiators resume talks on reunification, holding 20 rounds of UN-sponsored in the course of the year.

2016 January - President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci make unprecedented joint New Year television address ahead of continuing round of reunification talks.

2017 January - Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders meet at UN in Geneva for direct talks on reunification under a federal arrangement.

2018 February - Mr Anastasiades wins a second term in elections.

ahadova 16.10.2018 0 89
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