Cyprus Government - History

Cyprus Government - History


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Cyprus

Cyprus had two seperate governments the Greek Cypriote one and the Turkish. Each has its own elected parliament, with its own Prime Minister. The United States only recognized the Greek government, and its that government that is listed below.
CURRENT GOVERNMENT
PresidentPapadopoulos, Tassos
Min. of Agriculture, Natural Resources, & EnvironmentEfthymiou, Efthymios
Min. of Commerce, Industry, & TourismLillikas, Yiorgos
Min. of Communications & Public WorksKazamias, Kyriakos
Min. of DefenseMavronicolas, Kyriakos
Min. of Education & CultureGeorgiades, Pefkios
Min. of FinanceKyprianou, Markos
Min. of Foreign AffairsIacovou, Georgios
Min. of HealthAkkelidou, Costandia
Min. of InteriorChristou, Andreas
Min. of Justice & Public OrderTheodorou, Doros
Min. of Labor & Social InsuranceKeravnos, Iacovos
Under Sec. to the Pres.Pasiardis, Christodoulos
Governor, Central BankChristodoulou, Christodoulos
Ambassador to the USKozakou-Marcoullis, Erato
Permanent Representative to the UN, New YorkZackheos, Sotos


HISTORY

Note: this history section is an online version of the chapter about UNFICYP in "The Blue Helmets - A Review of United Nations Peace-keeping," a United Nations publication. It covers the period from the establishment of UNFICYP in 1964 until 1996.

The Republic of Cyprus became an independent state on 16 August 1960, and a Member of the United Nations one month later. The Constitution of the Republic, which came into effect on the day of independence, had its roots in agreements reached between the heads of government of Greece and Turkey at Zurich on 11 February 1959. These were incorporated in agreements reached between those governments and the United Kingdom in London on 19 February. On the same day, the representatives of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities accepted the documents concerned, and accompanying declarations by the three governments, as "the agreed foundation for the final settlement of the problem of Cyprus". The agreements were embodied in treaties - the Treaty of Establishment and the Treaty of Guarantee, signed by Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, and the Treaty of Alliance, signed by Cyprus, Greece and Turkey - and in the constitution, signed in Nicosia on 16 August 1960.

The settlement of 1959 envisaged Cyprus becoming a republic with a regime specially adapted both to the ethnic composition of its population (approximately 80 per cent Greek Cypriot and 18 per cent Turkish Cypriot) and to what were recognized as special relationships between the Republic and the three other states concerned in the agreements. Thus, the agreements recognized a distinction between the two communities and sought to maintain a certain balance between their respective rights and interests. Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom provided a multilateral guarantee of the basic articles of the constitution. In the event of a breach of the Treaty of Guarantee, the three powers undertook to consult on concerted action, and, if this proved impossible, each of them reserved the right to take action "with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs" set out in the treaty. Both the union of Cyprus with any other state and the partitioning of the island were expressly forbidden. The settlement also permitted the United Kingdom to retain sovereignty over two areas to be maintained as military bases, these areas being in fact excluded from the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

The constitution assured the participation of each community in the exercise of the functions of the government, while seeking in a number of matters to avoid supremacy on the part of the larger community and assuring also partial administrative autonomy to each community. Under the constitution, their respective communities elected the president, a Greek Cypriot, and the vice-president, a Turkish Cypriot, and they designated separately the members of the Council of Ministers, comprising seven Greek Cypriots and three Turkish Cypriots. The agreement of the president and vice-president was required for certain decisions and appointments, and they had veto rights, separately or jointly, in respect of certain types of legislation, including foreign affairs. Human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the supremacy of the constitution, were guaranteed.

The application of the provisions of the constitution encountered difficulties almost from the birth of the republic and led to a succession of constitutional crises and to accumulating tension between the leaders of the two communities.

On 30 November 1963, the President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios, publicly set forth 13 points on which he considered that the constitution should be amended. He did so on the stated grounds that the existing constitution created many difficulties in the smooth functioning of the state and the development and progress of the country, that its many sui generis provisions conflicted with internationally accepted democratic principles and created sources of friction between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and that its effects were causing the two communities to draw further apart rather than closer together.

The president's proposals would have, among other things, abolished the veto power of the president and the vice-president, while having the latter deputize for the president in his absence. The Greek Cypriot president of the House of Representatives and the Turkish Cypriot vice-president would have been elected by the house as a whole and not, as under the constitution, separately by its Greek and Turkish members. The constitutional provisions regarding separate majorities for enactment of certain laws by the House of Representatives would have been abolished, unified municipalities established and the administration of justice and the security forces unified. The proportion of Turkish Cypriots in the public service and the military forces would have been reduced, and the Greek Cypriot Communal Chamber abolished, though the Turkish community would have been able to retain its chamber.

No immediate response was forthcoming from the vice-president to this proposed programme, but the Turkish government, to which the president's proposals had been communicated "for information purposes", rejected them promptly and categorically. Subsequently, the Turkish Cypriot Communal Chamber described the president's claim that the constitution had proved an obstacle to the smooth functioning of the republic as false propaganda and contended that the Greek Cypriots had never attempted to implement the constitution in good faith. The Turkish Cypriots maintained that the structure of the republic rested on the existence of two communities and not of a majority and a minority. They refused to consider the amendments proposed by the other side, which were in their opinion designed to weaken those parts, which recognized the existence of the Turkish Cypriot community as such.

Whatever possibility might have existed at the time for calm and rational discussion of the president's proposals between the two communities disappeared indefinitely with the outbreak of violent disturbances between them a few days later, on 21 December 1963.

In the afternoon of 24 December 1963, the Turkish national contingent, stationed in Cyprus under the Treaty of Alliance and numbering 650 officers and other ranks, left its camp and took up positions at the northern outskirts of Nicosia in the area where disturbances were taking place. On 25 December, the Cyprus government charged that Turkish warplanes had flown at tree-level over Cyprus, and during the next several days there were persistent reports of military concentrations along the southern coast of Turkey and of Turkish naval movements off that coast.

Mission of the Personal Representative

In the face of the outbreak of intercommunal strife, the governments of the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey, on 24 December 1963 offered their joint good offices to the government of Cyprus. On 25 December they informed that government, including both the Greek and Turkish elements, of their readiness to assist, if invited to do so, in restoring peace and order by means of a joint peacemaking force under British command, composed of forces of the three governments already stationed in Cyprus under the Treaties of Alliance and Establishment. This offer having been accepted by the Cyprus government, the joint force was established on 26 December, a ceasefire was arranged on 29 December, and on 30 December it was agreed to create a neutral zone along the ceasefire line ("green line") between the areas occupied by the two communities in Nicosia. That zone was to be patrolled by the joint peacemaking force, but in practice the task was carried out almost exclusively by its British contingent. It was further agreed that a conference of representatives of the governments of the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey and of the two communities of Cyprus would be convened in London in January 1964. These arrangements were reported to the Security Council in a letter dated 8 January from the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, on 26 December 1963, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider his government's complaint against Turkey. The meeting was held on 27 December. The Secretary-General met with the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to explore the best way in which the United Nations could assist in restoring quiet in the country. The representative of Cyprus, as well as the representatives of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, requested the Secretary-General to appoint a personal representative to observe the peacemaking operation in Cyprus.

After consultations, during which agreement was reached with all concerned regarding the functions of the representative, the Secretary-General, on 17 January 1964, appointed Lieutenant-General P S Gyani (India) as his personal representative and observer, to go to Cyprus initially until the end of February. The Secretary-General stated that his function would be to observe the progress of the peacemaking operation. General Gyani was to report to the Secretary-General on how the United Nations observer could function and be most effective in fulfilling the task as outlined in the request made by the government of Cyprus and agreed to by the governments of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom. General Gyani's mandate was later extended until the end of March.

The London Conference, which met on 15 January 1964, failed to reach agreement, and proposals to strengthen the international peacemaking force were rejected by the government of Cyprus, which insisted that any such force be placed under the control of the United Nations. From Nicosia, General Gyani reported a rapid and grave deterioration of the situation, involving scattered intercommunal fighting with heavy casualties, kidnappings and the taking of hostages (many of whom were killed), unbridled activities by irregular forces, separation of the members of the two communities, and disintegration of the machinery of government, as well as fears of military intervention by Turkey or Greece. The British peacemaking force was encountering increasing difficulties. While Gyani's presence had been helpful in a number of instances, attention was turning increasingly to the possibility of establishing a United Nations peacekeeping operation.


The Republic of Cyprus is divided into six districts: Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.

Cyprus has four exclaves, all in territory that belongs to the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia. The first two are the villages of Ormidhia and Xylotymvou. The third is the Dhekelia Power Station, which is divided by a British road into two parts. The northern part is the EAC refugee settlement. The southern part, even though located by the sea, is also an exclave because it has no territorial waters of its own, those being UK waters.[151]

The UN buffer zone runs up against Dhekelia and picks up again from its east side off Ayios Nikolaos and is connected to the rest of Dhekelia by a thin land corridor. In that sense the buffer zone turns the Paralimni area on the southeast corner of the island into a de facto, though not de jure, exclave.


Legislature

Cyprus has a unicameral parliamentary system with the House of Representatives exercising legislative power in the country. Based on the 1960 constitution, the legislature has 80 seats out of which 24 are assigned to the Turkish Cypriots while the Greek Cypriots hold the remaining 56. Also represented in the house are observers of the Maronite, Armenian, and Latin minorities. Since 1964, the Turkish seats have remained vacant. Elections for the house of representative members are conducted every five years through a preferential and direct proportion vote system under the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish faction elects members of their Cumhuriyet Meclisi (Assembly of the Republic) through a proportional vote system for five-year terms.


President: Nicos Anastasiades

Nicos Anastasiades of the conservative Democratic Rally 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 package to rescue the country from the 2011 eurozone crisis.

He quickly sorted out a deal with foreign lenders and the European Union. The previous Communist government had first sought aid from Russia before belatedly approaching Europe.

Nicos Anastasiades resumed talks with the pro-unity Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on reunification of the island in 2015, although these ended inconclusively two years later.

Mr Anastasiades was returned to office with another decisive win over his Communist opponent in February 2018.

Turkish Cypriot leader (outoing): 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.

Mayor of the Turkish Cypriot municipality of North Nicosia between 1976 and 1990, Mr Akinci pioneered cooperation with his southern counterpart on practical sanitation and heritage projects.

This experience has informed his later support for 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 has also advocated a policy of greater independence from Turkey in policy matters.

But deteriorating relations between Greece and the Cypriot government on one hand and Turkey on the other gave a boost to the anti-reunification nationalist Ersin Tatar, who beat Mr Akinci in the October 2020 presidential election.Mr Tatar favours closer ties with Turkey, and a permanent two-state arrangement on Cyprus.

The status of Northern Cyprus as a separate political entity is recognised only by Turkey.


Economy

Economic overview

The area of the Republic of Cyprus under government control has a market economy dominated by a services sector that accounts for more than four-fifths of GDP. Tourism, finance, shipping, and real estate have traditionally been the most important services. Cyprus has been a member of the EU since May 2004 and adopted the euro as its national currency in January 2008.

During the first five years of EU membership, the Cyprus economy grew at an average rate of about 4%, with unemployment between 2004 and 2008 averaging about 4%. However, the economy tipped into recession in 2009 as the ongoing global financial crisis and resulting low demand hit the tourism and construction sectors. An overextended banking sector with excessive exposure to Greek debt added to the contraction. Cyprus’ biggest two banks were among the largest holders of Greek bonds in Europe and had a substantial presence in Greece through bank branches and subsidiaries. Following numerous downgrades of its credit rating, Cyprus lost access to international capital markets in May 2011. In July 2012, Cyprus became the fifth euro-zone government to request an economic bailout program from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - known collectively as the "Troika."

Shortly after the election of President Nikos ANASTASIADES in February 2013, Cyprus reached an agreement with the Troika on a $13 billion bailout that triggered a two-week bank closure and the imposition of capital controls that remained partially in place until April 2015. Cyprus' two largest banks merged and the combined entity was recapitalized through conversion of some large bank deposits to shares and imposition of losses on bank bondholders. As with other EU countries, the Troika conditioned the bailout on passing financial and structural reforms and privatizing state-owned enterprises. Despite downsizing and restructuring, the Cypriot financial sector remains burdened by the largest stock of non-performing loans in the euro zone, equal to nearly half of all loans. Since the bailout, Cyprus has received positive appraisals by the Troika and outperformed fiscal targets but has struggled to overcome political opposition to bailout-mandated legislation, particularly regarding privatizations. The rate of non-performing loans (NPLs) is still very high at around 49%, and growth would accelerate if Cypriot banks could increase the pace of resolution of the NPLs.

In October 2013, a US-Israeli consortium completed preliminary appraisals of hydrocarbon deposits in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which estimated gross mean reserves of about 130 billion cubic meters. Though exploration continues in Cyprus’ EEZ, no additional commercially exploitable reserves have been identified. Developing offshore hydrocarbon resources remains a critical component of the government’s economic recovery efforts, but development has been delayed as a result of regional developments and disagreements about exploitation methods.


Political Life

Government. The Republic of Cyprus is a democracy with a presidential system of government. On some issues, notably defense and international politics it may act in cooperation or in consultation with Greece. The Turkish Cypriot regime is a parliamentary democracy with a marked political, military, and economic dependence on Turkey.

Leadership and Political Officials. In general the practice of patronage politics is widespread on both sides of Cyprus, more so on the Turkish side due to the much smaller size of the population, the poorer economic conditions, and the fact that political leader Rauf Denktash has remained in power for almost three decades. With the exception perhaps of the largest left-wing parties on both sides, other parties tend to be more person- than principle- or policy-focused.

Both sides have a similar political party structure in terms of left and right. The right-wing parties on each side (Democratic Rally on the Greek Cypriot side, National Unity Party and Democratic Party on the Turkish Cypriot side) tend to be nationalistic,


Why A Cyprus-Like Seizure Of Your Money Could Happen Here

NICOSIA, CYPRUS - MARCH 24: cypriots protests against EU at protest outside a Eurogroup meeting at . [+] the European Council building on March 24, 2013 in Nicosia, Cyprus. Talks between the the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) continue as the country seeks to agree terms to a bailout for its ailing banking sector. Failure to do so is seen as exposing the country to having to leave the eurozone. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

This story appears in the April 15, 2013 issue of Forbes.

Don’t put it past our politicians to try it in a financial emergency. The breaking of contracts by the U.S. government, unfortunately, has happened before, and what’s under way in Cyprus shows that feckless politicos will continue to try such things.

In 1933–34, amid the depths of the Great Depression, the U.S. government seized the American people’s gold holdings. From that point, until 1975, it was illegal for Americans to own gold, other than in some forms of jewelry or collectors’ coins. In the panic of the Depression years the courts upheld this unconstitutional confiscation. Yes, people received dollars in return for their holdings of the yellow metal, but the dollar itself was formally devalued by 40%. Moreover, the U.S. government abrogated private commercial contracts containing the so-called gold clause, which allowed creditors to receive payments in either dollars or gold.

In the early 1970s President Richard Nixon annulled contracts selling soybeans to Japan. This was done for domestic political reasons: U.S. soybean buyers had been complaining about the high prices, and Nixon felt keeping the product here would mollify them. Of course, the real reason that the prices of soybeans and other agricultural commodities were rising was that Nixon and the Federal Reserve were deliberately undermining the value of the U.S. dollar. (Japan responded by investing in Brazil, which became one of our major soybean competitors.)

In 2009 the Obama Administration pushed through a brazenly political restructuring of bankrupt General Motors and Chrysler, and huge payoffs were made to the United Auto Workers, a pro-Obama union, at the expense of bondholders. Banks signed off on the deal because they had no choice—their survival depended on the whims of Washington. Once again the courts turned their backs on this patently unconstitutional exercise.

There have been rumblings from some revenue-hungry Democrats about finding ways to tap into individuals’ retirement accounts. Several years ago Argentina nationalized the private pension plans of its populace, and recently Cyprus has been talking about taking similar action. One can already hear our politicians’ rationale: Most of the money in 401(k)s is pretax dollars and grows tax free, depriving the government of needed revenue. Why not integrate them with Social Security and then means-test the benefits?

Holders of Roth IRAs may be in for a rude shock. Their contributions have been made with aftertax dollars, with the promise that the ensuing benefits would be exempt from federal income tax. Slapping a special “emergency” levy on these assets will become an irresistible temptation for politicians as the pot of assets gets bigger. Impossible? Your Social Security “contributions” are made with aftertax dollars, and it was promised that those benefits would be tax free, but Washington started chipping away at that vow back in the 1980s. Today millions of Social Security recipients find a portion of their benefits subject to the IRS.

Money market funds? There’s growing regulatory pressure for the funds to no longer price their products at $1 a share. In today’s distrustful environment fluctuations here will fuel fears. Moreover, the feds may well be tempted to take some of this cash as “temporary” reserves, or insurance fees.

The monumental stupidity in what the EU and IMF have done to Cyprus becomes more and more glaring. To protect herself from charges that bailing out Cyprus would be like bailing out rich Russian oligarchs, German Chancellor Angela Merkel went along with the initial scheme to seize a portion of the Cypriots’ bank deposits. After this, all it will take is just a hint of a financial crisis to send Spaniards, Italians, the French and others scurrying to ATMs and banks to pull out their cash. Even in the absence of a disaster individuals and companies will be looking to park at least a portion of their money outside the banking system.

The sobering truth is that there is no safe hiding place to stash your cash, gold or silver other than stuffing ’em under your mattress (and pray that the boxes or bags in which you store the cash can withstand the assaults of rats or mice).

There are other ways, of course, for governments to get your money—the age-old one being inflation. The Federal Reserve has already stated that it wants to get inflation up to 2.5%. Put aside for the moment the impossibility of concocting a true price index—the Consumer Price Index, for example, allocates less than 1% of the cost of living to health insurance! Inflation, as John Maynard Keynes wrote nine decades ago, is a form of taxation—and, in this case, taxation without representation. Especially invidious is the fact that inflation hits lower-income earners disproportionately hard, as they spend a higher percentage of their income on fuel, electricity and other necessities. If you ever run into a Federal Reserve official, ask him how taxing the American people like this helps stimulate sustainable long-term growth. I’ve done it, and the official always gets flustered.

Congress might be tempted to propose something that has surfaced all too often in Europe: a wealth tax. In France, for instance, you tote up the value each year of everything you own and pay the government a 1% tax on the amount above a certain threshold. We have something of a precedent for that here, your local property taxes. A wealth tax would simply be an expanded form of that levy.

Liberty requires eternal vigilance, as Thomas Jefferson and others have said. Its foundation is a healthy respect for property rights and a constitutional-based rule of law. Heightened vigilance is badly needed now.

For more from this issue’s Fact and Comment see here:Here's How To Deal With Our Too Big To Fail Banks


Timeline: 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.

1925 - Becomes crown colony.

1955 - Greek Cypriots begin guerrilla war against British rule. The guerrilla movement, the National Organisation of Cypriot Combatants (EOKA), wants enosis (unification) with Greece. British authorities arm a paramilitary police force made up of Turkish Cypriots.

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 - Makarios raises Turkish fears by proposing constitutional changes which would abrogate power-sharing arrangements. Inter-communal violence erupts. Turkish side 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 Makarios, who escapes. 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.

Glafcos Clerides, president of the House of Representatives, becomes president until Makarios returns in December.

1975 - Turkish Cypriots establish independent administration, with Rauf Denktash as president. Denktash and Clerides agree population exchange.

1977 - Makarios dies. Succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou.

1980 - UN-sponsored peace talks resume.

1983 - Denktash suspends talks and proclaims Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). It is recognised only by Turkey.

1985 - No agreement at talks between Denktash and Kyprianou.

1988 - Georgios Vassiliou elected Greek Cypriot president.

1989 - Vassiliou-Denktash talks abandoned.

1992 - Talks resume and collapse again.

1993 - Glafcos Clerides replaces Vassiliou as president.

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 EU.

1996 - Increased tension, violence along buffer zone.

1997 - Failure of UN-mediated peace talks between Clerides and Denktash.

1998 - Clerides re-elected to a second term by narrow margin.

EU lists Cyprus as potential member.

Clerides' government threatens to install Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles. Turkey threatens military action. Clerides decides not to deploy missiles in Cyprus.

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

2001 July - Dozens of police officers are injured as protesters attack a British military base at Akrotiri over plans to build telecommunications masts alleged to pose a health hazard.

2001 November - Turkey says it might annex the north if the Republic of Cyprus joins the EU. It says the move, coming before any reunification settlement, would violate the 1960 treaty.

2002 January - Clerides and Denktash begin UN-sponsored negotiations. 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 February - Tassos Papadopoulos defeats Clerides in presidential elections.

2003 March - UN deadline for agreement on reunification plan passes. Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledges that the plan has failed.

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.

The EU agrees to take steps to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

2004 1 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 April - Mehmet Ali Talat elected Turkish Cypriot president.

2005 May - Greek Cypriot and UN officials begin exploratory talks on prospects for new diplomatic peace effort.

2005 June - Parliament ratifies proposed EU constitution.

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

2006 May - Greek Cypriots back ruling coalition in parliamentary elections, endorsing its opposition to reunification efforts.

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

2006 November - EU-Turkey talks on Cyprus break down over Turkey's continued refusal to open its ports to traffic from the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara says the EU should end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community before Turkey opens its ports.

2007 February - Turkey denies sending extra warships to the eastern Mediterranean in a row over oil drilling rights off Cyprus.

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.

2008 February - Left-wing leader Demetris Christofias wins presidential elections. Promises to work towards reunification.

2008 March - President 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.

2008 September - Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders launch intensive negotiations aimed at ending the division of the island.

2009 April - Right-wing nationalist National Unity Party wins parliamentary elections in northern Cyprus, potentially hampering peace talks. Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat remains in office, but in a weakened position. Reunification talks continue through 2009, with little progress.

2010 January - President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat resume talks on reunification in downbeat mood, no progress made.

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 right wing opposition party DISY wins by a narrow margin.

2011 July - Navy chief Andreas Ioannides and 12 others died when people when impounded Iranian containers of explosives blew up at the main naval base and the country's main power plant. The defence minister, military chief and foreign minister resigned over the incident, which officials said occurred after a bush fire ignited the explosives.

Credit rating agency Moody's cuts Cyprus's rating by two notches from A2 to BAA1, increasing risk of Cyprus requiring an EU bailout. Power shortages caused by the naval base blast knocking out the country's main power station, plus significant Greek debt, have made financial reform difficult. Fitch cut Cyprus's rating to A- from AA- in May over Greek debt fears.

2011 August - President Christofias appoints a new cabinet with economist Kikis Kazamias from his AKEL as finance minister. The previous cabinet resigned after the power shortages prompted the departure from the coalition government of the centre-right party DIKO.

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.


The Cyprus Issue

The Cyprus issue has deep historical roots and various internal and international dimensions. However, since the illegal Turkish invasion (July-August 1974) and the occupation, since then, of some 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, it is first and foremost an international problem of invasion and occupation in direct violation of the UN Charter and a plethora of UN resolutions.

For 42 years now, Turkey has refused to withdraw its illegal occupation troops, which have rendered Cyprus the most militarized area in the world. The Cyprus issue is also a characteristic case of ongoing, flagrant and mass violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms by Turkey. Specifically, Turkey is violating the rights of Greek Cypriot refugees, missing persons and their relatives, as well as those who are enclaved in the occupied part of the island, while continuing systematically with illegal settlement and the destruction of cultural heritage in the occupied section of Cyprus.

The international community has repeatedly expressed itself with regard to the Cyprus issue, condemning the invasion and demanding the withdrawal of the occupation forces in a long series of Decisions and Resolutions in international fora, including the UN General Assembly and Security Council, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth countries.

In November 1983, the Turkish side proceeded to the unilateral declaration of independence of the pseudo-state in the occupied part of Cyprus. UN Security Council resolutions 541/1983 and 550/1984 condemned this illegal unilateral action, calling for its withdrawal and calling upon all states not to recognize the illegal entity or help it in any way.

The UN resolutions call on the two communities to find an agreed solution to the internal political problem of Cyprus through negotiations within the framework of respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, the speedy withdrawal of foreign troops, the ceasing of any foreign intervention in the affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, and the taking of immediate measures for the return of all refugees to their hearths.

The United Nations resolutions also stipulate the basis of an agreed solution, which, moreover, given Cyprus’s capacity as a member state of the European Union, will have to be fully compatible with the institutional and legal EU framework and ensure the continuation of Cyprus’ effective participation in the decision-making processes of the European Union.

The ongoing cooperation and coordination between Greece and Cyprus constitute a decisive factor in achieving a comprehensive, mutually acceptable, just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

From Turkey, we expect to see concrete initiatives that demonstrate in practice its will to terminate its illegal occupation and facilitate a mutually acceptable and comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem. To date, however, in spite of Turkish government declarations of support for the currently ongoing negotiation process for resolving the problem within the framework of the UN, Ankara persists with policies aimed at the consolidation, international upgrading and, at the same time, a total internal Turkification of the illegal secessionist entity in the occupied area. Moreover, in blatant violation of its obligations to the European Union (Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, EU Declaration of 21 September 2005), Turkey persists in its refusal to normalize its relations with and recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

2. Current phase of the negotiations

The current bicommunal talks began anew on the basis of the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014. Among other things, this declaration provides for negotiation of all of the various aspects of the Cyprus problem, including the chapters on governance and power sharing, the property issue, European Union and economy issues, territory, and the international aspect of security. The Declaration also stipulates that only an agreed settlement can subsequently be put to separate and simultaneous referenda in the two communities, and that “Any kind of arbitration is excluded.”

The talks were suspended in October 2014, due to renewed Turkish provocations and violations of the Cypriot EEZ that lasted for nearly seven months.

The resumption of the talks was made possible in May 2015.

On 1 December 2016, President Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı agreed on the continuation of the talks in Geneva, Switzerland, with an exchange of maps and the subsequent opening of the International Conference on Cyprus.

The "open-ended" international conference began in Geneva on 12 January, and the United Nations had announced in writing that the negotiations would last two days. However, while the Greek side was prepared to remain in Geneva for discussion at a political level, the Turkish side left the negotiations, and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu returned to Ankara, saying he had "more important things" to do.

The above make it clear that the Turkish side left Geneva because it didn't want to or couldn't discuss the elimination of guarantees and any potential for intervention, and the withdrawal of the occupation army, which is, from an international perspective, the core of the Cyprus problem.

Following the above developments, it was agreed that the talks would continue on a technical level, and officials met at Mont Pèlerin on January 18-19. Subsequently, the bicommunal talks resumed in Cyprus on 26 January. During their meeting on 1 February, President Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı agreed to ask the UN to prepare, in consultation with the guarantor powers, the reconvening of the Conference on Cyprus at a political level. In statements he made following his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Akıncı on 9 February, President Anastasiades said, among other things, that the two negotiators had moved ahead and prepared a list of "the convergences, the small divergences, the large divergences," and based on this preparation the two leaders started a dialogue to change the divergences into convergences.

However, the Turkish Cypriot side maintained an intransigent stance in the discussion of major internal issues, and in mid-February – on the pretext of a resolution passed by the Cypriot House of Representatives regarding historical reference, in schools of the Republic of Cyprus, to the referendum of 1950 – Mr. Akıncı suddenly suspended the talks.

However, additional concern over the true intentions of the Turkish side was raised by the fact that, in the bicommunal talks, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side insisted on new unacceptable demands for the extension to Turkish nationals, on the territory of Cyprus, of the "4 freedoms" of the European Union.

These demands certainly cannot be accepted, as, on the one hand, they are not in accordance with European Law, and, on the other hand, they are a matter concerning EU-Turkish relations and, consequently, are not a subject of the bicommunal talks.

GREECE'S POSITIONS ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE

- The termination of the Turkish occupation and settlement, and the finding of a comprehensive, mutually acceptable, just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem are a top national priority of Greek foreign policy, with obvious significance for Greek-Turkish relations and for peace and stability in the wider region.

- Despite past disappointments and ongoing difficulties, the bicommunal talks – with the contribution of the UN Secretary General’s Good Offices, which are facilitative in nature – remain the only method accepted by all interested parties for achieving an agreed settlement of the Cyprus problem.

- Greece firmly supports the efforts towards a just, balanced and viable solution of the Cyprus problem. An agreed solution should restore international legality, which is blatantly violated by the Turkish invasion and ongoing occupation of territory of the Republic of Cyprus, a sovereign and independent state that is a member of the United Nations and the European Union.

- The relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council are the sole basis for an agreed solution, which must also be fully compatible with Cyprus's capacity as a member state of the EU.

- Greece does not intervene in the negotiation of internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, for which the Cypriot government has exclusive competence.

- The full withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces and the termination of the anachronistic system of guarantees of 1960 are an integral part of an agreed, viable and comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem.

- Greece's position is that the duration of the withdrawal of the occupation forces must be short, with a steady flow of the army's withdrawal and with a specific deadline for full withdrawal.

- Turkey's demand regarding the securing of the EU's "four freedoms" in Cyprus is unrealistic and legally groundless.

- The Turkish Cypriot entity that has been self-declared in occupied Cyprus and that is recognized only by Turkey is illegal and has been condemned by the UN Security Council in Resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984), which call on all states not to recognise it, not to facilitate it and not to help it in any way. In this context we note the need for full and timely compliance with the aforementioned Security Council resolutions.

- The exercise by the Republic of Cyprus of its sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone are in no way linked to the process for the resolution of the Cyprus problem.


Watch the video: History of Cyprus