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History of North Cyprus

North Cyprus

Welcome... the country that does not exist. It is officially recognised by only two other nations, and no airport in Europe has it displayed on its departure boards, yet approximately 100,000 visitors travel here annually.
Flag of North CyprusWelcome to the land of beaches, mountains, castles and villages. Those who visit this forgotten corner of the Mediterranean, make it their ambition to return and with very good reason too. Imagine a tropical island breeze from the beautiful ocean waves, wrapping itself around you as it settles onto your skin.  Then visualise that breeze evaporate into all of the history and nature, wild, free and waiting to be discovered.  The pace of life is slow and relaxed, the people are friendly, and the Turkish Cypriot smile is as bright and as warm as the Cyprus sunshine itself!

Historically, there is much to be discovered. Cyprus was an island that was repeatedly invaded over the centuries and each invasion has left a legacy that survives to this day. Whilst exploring the island you will find hidden gems awaiting you on each step of the journey. Whether you find yourself in the least developed area, the famous Karpaz, home to untouched sandy beaches and wild donkeys wandering the hills or in the breathtaking area of Kyrenia, (also referred to as “tourist paradise”) the island will always have something spectacular to offer you in return. It is also a hiker's paradise, with a rugged coastline stretching for more than a hundred miles, unspoilt by the Med's usual high-rise international hotels and sprawling tourist villas.

The Island of Aphrodite, centuries of history yet eternally young! Cyprus, an island drenched in sun and mythology, at the crossroads of ancient civilisations. This island, in the Eastern Mediterranean has seen many visitors, some built temples to their Gods, some castles for their Kings, the Crusaders used it as a staging post, and the pirates for a plunder.

Chroniclers tell of magnificent royal weddings and unsurpassed works of art created by its artists. All who saw Cyprus were enchanted by its beauty. The beauty is the legacy of Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and love. According to legend Aphrodite ‘rose from the foam of the sea’ off the coast of Cyprus. From that moment on Cyprus became her domain on earth. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and stands on the border of the Eastern and Western worlds and has a long and varied history. Over the centuries, Cyprus has had many names, however it is believed that the origin of the name comes from the ancient word for Copper (Kypros) which was abundant on the island. The island has been ruled by the Assyrians, Phoenicians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Byzantines from the ancient world. The middle ages saw the Crusaders, Lusignans, the Genoese and the Venetians in charge, while in more recent times, it was the turn of the Ottomans  and the British. Even today, while theoretically “independent”, the Greeks, Turks, Europe and the USA all try to extend their influence over the island.

8,500 – 4,500 BC Hunter Gatherers & The first settlers: the Khirokitians.
4,500 - 2,500 BC Chalcolitic (Copper) Age: stone crucifix pendants are carved.
2,700-1,600 BC Cypriot Bronze Ages, Early and Middle: cattle, horses, and bronze making are introduced as well as highly individual pottery style.  
1,600-1,050 BC The Late Bronze Age: period of sophisticated literate city states such as Enkomi-Alasia and Kition.
1500 - 1450 BC Hittite rule in Cyprus
1450 - 1200 BC Beginning of the Egyptian domination of the island.
1200 - 1000 BC Establishment of the city states of Salamis (capital at the time), Soli, Marion, Paphos, Kurium, and Kyrenia; arrival of Greek colonies.
1,000 - 850 BC The coming of Iron, the Dorians and a Dark Age also known as Cypro-Geometric I and II.
850 - 750 BC The Phonecian-led Renaissance
750 - 612 BC Assyrian rule of Cyprus; The golden age of Archaic Cyprus when the island was divided between a dozen city kingdoms.
568 - 525 BC Egyptian rule.
525 - 333 BC Persian occupation and the rule of the island; also termed as the Cypro-Classical period and the duel between Kition and Salamis.
333 - 58 BC Hellenistic rule: the heirs of Alexander the Great rule the island.  
58 - 395 AD Roman Empire ruling Cyprus: 350 years of quiet provincial prosperity.
395 - 649 AD Island becomes a part of the Byzantine Empire when Cyprus is gradually converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity.
649 - 965 AD A second Dark Age: the island is caught on the frontier between the two warring empires of Byzantium and Islam.
965 - 1191 AD Return of the island to Byzantium.
1191 - 1192 Rule of the island by Richard the Lion heart, of England.
1192 - 1489 Rule of the island by the Frankish Lusignan dynasty.  
1489 - 1570 Venetian domination of the island.
1571 - 1878 Conquest of the island by the Ottoman Empire.
1878 - 1925 In accordance with a defense-alliance between Britain and the Ottoman Empire, the administration of Cyprus passes to Britain.
1925 - 1960 - Cyprus is annexed by Britain when Ottoman Empire enters into the World War I on the side of Germany; subsequently the island becomes a British Crown colony and under the British rule.
1960 - Foundation of the Republic of Cyprus
1963 Inter-communal strife in Cyprus and the subsequent collapse of the constitutional rule.
1974 - Coup d’état by the Greek army officers stationed on the island to overthrow the President (Makarios) with the aim of uniting the island with Greece; subsequent Turkish Military intervention (under the provisions of the Treaty of Guarantee of the Republic of Cyprus).
1974 - Division of the island into Turkish-Cypriot North and Greek-Cypriot South; Declaration of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, to pave way for a federal settlement on the island.
1983 - Foundation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

A cave to the west of Limassol piled high with the bones of defenseless elephants and hippopotami, mixed in with stone tools and burnt shells, attest to visiting bands of hunter-gatherers who came from Syria and Silicia in about 8,000 B.C. Ever since these first arrivers Cyprus has always managed to capture the interests and attentions of more powerful outside forces due to the abundance of copper and timber on the island, combined with its position in the middle of the major trading routes making it irresistible to a whole range of foreign powers. Vestiges of such early communities are found all over the south side of the island, like at Khirokitia, Kalavasos-Tenta, Apostolos Andreas-Kastros, Phrenaros, Petra tou Limniti etc. Neolithic Cypriots built circular houses with small undressed stones for the lower structures and sun-dried mud bricks and clay for the middle and superstructure. The skeletons that have been found show us that these early inhabitants were Homo Sapiens. They were short and sturdy, but the same as we are today. Life expectancy was very short. The average age of death was about 34 years, and there was a very high infant mortality rate. These people knew about agriculture, they grew and stored corn using wooden ploughs and flintstone bladed sickles. They made pottery and lived in communities.

During the Chalcolithic period changes of major importance took place along with technological and artistic achievements, especially towards its end. The presence of a stamp seal and the size of the houses both hint at property rights and social hierarchy. The same story is supported by the burials because some of them were deposited in pits without grave goods and some in shaft graves with relatively rich furniture, both being indications of wealth accumulation by certain families and social differentiation. The Chalcolithic period did not come to an end at the same time all over Cyprus. In the Paphos area it lingered on although in Northern Cyprus the Bronze Age came into being. Metalwork also appears for the first time stamping the future of the island for centuries to come.

During the Chalcolithic period changes of major importance took place along with technological and artistic achievements, especially towards its end. The presence of a stamp seal and the size of the houses both hint at property rights and social hierarchy. The same story is supported by the burials because some of them were deposited in pits without grave goods and some in shaft graves with relatively rich furniture, both being indications of wealth accumulation by certain families and social differentiation. The Chalcolithic period did not come to an end at the same time all over Cyprus. In the Paphos area it lingered on although in Northern Cyprus the Bronze Age came into being. Metalwork also appears for the first time stamping the future of the island for centuries to come.

During the Early Bronze Age the first towns and economic centers developed in Cyprus where copper was worked and exported. An influx of immigrants from Anatolia, who were displaced from their settlements in Asia Minor by invading tribes, resulted in the island developing commercial and cultural relations with Asia Minor, Egypt, and the Syrian/Palestinian region. Most of our knowledge of this period is derived from finds in cemeteries such as jugs, food, combs, knives and necklaces. Judging by these finds, the afterlife was evidently an important cultural feature of these Bronze Age people.

The Middle Bronze Age (1,900-1,600 B.C.) is marked by an upsurge in cultural and trading contacts with neighboring countries. Imports from Crete, Anatolia, Syria, and Egypt are proof that this external trade had begun. By then copper had begun a major export commodity and supported the development of large towns such as Famagusta. The necropolis, a large ancient cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments, of the village of Karmi, is also thought to date back to the Middle Bronze Age. Several styles of well-made and competently decorated pottery were also produced throughout this period, their bronze implements showing a well-advanced craftsmanship.

The Late Bronze Age was one of the most formative periods of life for ancient Cyprus. The island's international contacts extended from the Aegean Sea to the Levant and the Nile Delta. There was an abundant supply of copper on the island and business was flourishing when in 1500 BC. Thutmosis III (A great Egyptian Pharaoh) decided to include Cyprus in his domain. Therefore parallel to this increasing prosperity, was a growing insecurity on the island. Circumstances were favorable for Cyprus however with the destruction of the Hyksos Kingdom and the revival of Egyptian domination made Cyprus a stepping stone for eastern and western cultural exchange. Cypriot craftsmen were distinguished for fine jewellery, ivory-carving, and bronze figures while the massive walls and houses of hewn stone in the city of Engomi, west of Famagusta, is evidence of a high degree of prosperity.

Between 1200 - 1000 BC the city states of Salamis, which was the capital city at the time, Soli, Marion, Paphos, Kurium and Kyrenia were established. Although Achaean Greeks were already located in Cyprus from the 14th century, most of them inhabited the island after the Trojan war. Achaeans were colonizing Cyprus from 1210-1000 BC. Dorian Greeks come at 1100 BC and unlike the Greek mainland they settle in Cyprus peacefully.

The transition to the Iron Age was for Cyprus was a very dark age as it was for Greece. Natural catastrophes destroyed nearly all the Late Bronze Age settlements and led to a cultural decline, poverty, and a slump in population. The mass immigration of Greek-speaking peoples from the Peloponnese also began with the start of this age making the island predominantly Greek. While pottery shapes and decoration show a marked Aegean inspiration, Oriental ideas creep in from time to time. New burial customs along with new religious beliefs speak in favour of the arrival of people from the Aegean.  In the period under discussion and in particular in the 9th century BC we witness the arrival of the Phoenicians in Cyprus, who probably came here from their land (modern Lebanon) because they were harassed by the Assyrians. The original form of democracy was practiced, meaning that only native people and wealthy citizens had the right to vote. Trade was booming and exports in corn, oil, wine and copper were top of the list.

It was not until the arrival of the Phoenicians that the island received a cultural impulse, resulting in strengthened links with the Orient. The colonizers arrived in Cyprus from Tyre in the 9th century BC, and came to dominate the city states of Idalion, Amathus, Kition and Laphitos.

In about 750 BC when the Egyptian sphere of influence was waning, the Cypriot kings choose a new master, Sargon II the King of Assyria. They submitted to him, thereby becoming his protectorate and later (709) when King Assur-bani-pal invaded Egypt, 10 Cypriot Kings supported and joined him. A big mistake. Assyria herself was invaded by the 'Medes'. They captured Ninevah, the capital of Assyria, and that was the end of the Assyrian empire.

Egypt was on the up and again she took control of Cyprus, this time by Amasis II who was Pharaoh from 570 to 525 BC. The period of Egyptian domination, though brief, left its mark mainly in arts especially sculpture, where the rigidity and the dress of Egyptian style can be easily observed. Cypriots discarded both however, for the sake of Greek prototypes.

Persians conquered Cyprus in 525 BC. The Kings of Cyprus however were required to pay tribute to their overlord but managed to retain their independence. The city-kingdoms began to strike their own coins in the late-sixth century BC, using the Persian weight system. Coins minted by the kings were required to have the overlord's portrait on them. King Evelthon of Salamis was the first to cast silver or bronze coins in Cyprus.

Freedom from the Persians came when Alexander the Great decisively defeated Persians at the Battle of Issus.  Cypriot Kings were granted autonomy in return for helping Alexander at the siege of Tyre, but took from them the right of coinage. The end of this short period of self-government came with the death of Alexander in 323 BC. Alexander's heirs then fought over Cyprus, a rich prize, for several years, but in 294 B.C. it was taken by Ptolemy I. Ptolemy I. forced the last king of Salamis, Nicocreon, to commit suicide in 310 BC together with all his family. Ornaments and clay effigies of the royal families has been discovered at Salamis. For two and a half centuries Cyprus remained a Ptolemaic possession. Under the rule of the Ptolemies, the city-kingdoms of Cyprus were abolished and a central administration was established. This Ptolemaic period of internal strife and intrigue came to an end with the Roman annexation in 58 BC.

Cyprus was annexed by the Roman Republic in 58 BC and was made into a Roman province along with Cilicia on the coast of Anatolia. For the next 350 years, Cyprus enjoyed peace, disturbed only by occasional earthquakes and epidemics and by a Jewish uprising suppressed by a lieutenant of the future emperor Hadrian in ad 116. Many large public buildings were erected, among them a gymnasium and theatre at Salamis, a theatre at Kourion, and the governor’s palace at Paphos. Another important event in the Roman period was the introduction of Christianity to Cyprus.

Cyprus remained subject to the Eastern or Byzantine empire at Constaninople after the division of the Roman Empire in 395 AD and was part of the Diocese of the Orient governed from Antioch. When it came to ecclesiastical matters however, the Church of Cyprus remained independent of the Patriarchate of Antioch thanks to the privilage given to them by the emperor Zeno in 488. Therefore the Archbishop received the rights, still valued and practiced, of carrying sceptre instead of a crosier and writing his signature in ink of imperial purple.

 In 650 AD Arabs made the first attack on the island under the leadership of Muawiyah I. They conquered and sacked the capital Salamis - Constantia after a brief siege and pillaged the rest of the island but drafted a treaty with the local rulers. In the course of this expedition the maternal aunt of the Prophet, Umm-Haram fell from her mule near the Salt Lake at Larnaca and was killed. She was buried in that spot and much later in 1816 the 'Hala Sultan Tekke' was built there by the Turks. In 654 AD the second Arab invasion took place that devastated the island yet again. This time, however, a garrison of 12,000 men was left in Cyprus, an indication of their intentions to incorporate it into the Muslim world. In 677 AD the Arabs aimed straight at the heart of the Byzantine empire, Constantinople itself. They attacked with a huge fleet but they suffered such a defeat that they had to sign a treaty and pay an indemnity to the Emperor. In 683 AD the Muslim garrison was withdrawn and in 688 AD the island of Cyprus was declared neutral, with no garrisons stationed in it, the collected taxes being divided among the Arabs and the Emperor.

The island was finally liberated by Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus Phokas in 965 AD.
In 1191 AD King Richard (Lion Heart) of England was on his way to the Holy Land participating in the Third Crusade. Some of his ships were wrecked on the coast and the ship carrying his sister Joanna, Queen of Sicily, and his betrothed Berengaria of Navarre, anchored off Limassol. When King Richard arrived, he regarded the Cypriots behavior as insulting towards the women and captured the island, starting a new phase, and not a happy one of Cyprus history.

In April 1191 Richard, with a large fleet, left Messina in order to reach Acre. But a storm dispersed the fleet. After some searching, it was discovered that the boat carrying his sister and his fiancée Berengaria was anchored on the south coast of Cyprus together with the wrecks of several other ships, including the treasure ship. Survivors of the wrecks had been taken prisoner by the island's despot Isaac Komnenos. On 1 May 1191 Richard's fleet arrived in the port of Lemesos (Limassol) on Cyprus He ordered Isaac to release the prisoners and the treasure. Isaac refused, so Richard landed his troops and took Limassol. Various princes of the Holy Land arrived in Limassol at the same time, in particular Guy of Lusignan. All declared their support for Richard provided that he support Guy against his rival Conrad of Montferrat. The local barons abandoned Isaac, who considered making peace with Richard, joining him on the crusade and offering his daughter in marriage to the person named by Richard.[69] But Isaac changed his mind and tried to escape. Richard then proceeded to conquer the whole island, his troops being led by Guy de Lusignan. Isaac surrendered and was confined with silver chains because Richard had promised that he would not place him in irons. By 1 June Richard had conquered the whole island. He named Richard de Camville and Robert of Thornham as governors. He later sold the island to the Knights Templar and it was subsequently acquired, in 1192, by Guy of Lusignan and became a stable feudal kingdom. The rapid conquest of the island by Richard is more important than it seems. The island occupies a key strategic position on the maritime lanes to the Holy Land, whose occupation by the Christians could not continue without support from the sea. Cyprus remained a Christian stronghold until the battle of Lepanto (1571). Richard's exploit was well publicised and contributed to his reputation. Richard also derived significant financial gains from the conquest of the island. Richard left for Acre on 5 June with his allies.

Cyprus became a Frankish Kingdom and was ruled on the feudal system. The Catholic Church officially replaced the Greek Orthodox, which albeit under severe suppression, managed to survive. The city of Famagusta was then one of the richest in the Near East. It was during this period that the historical names of Lefkosia, Ammochostos and Lemesos were changed to Nicosia, Famagusta and Limassol, respectively. The era of the Lusignan dynasty ended when Queen Catherine Cornaro ceded Cyprus to Venice in 1489.

The Venetian desire for Cyprus was inspired purely by profit. The Venetians saw Cyprus primarily as a military base. Famagusta and Nicosia were ringed with massive earthworks, cased with stone. An outer wall was erected around Kyrenia castle, the gap being filled with earth to form an artillery rampart. The best military architects in Europe were brought in to design and execute these projects.

Cypriots were seen merely as a populous to be taxed as much as possible. The island was well endowed with the timber essential for shipbuilding, and formed an ideal base from which the Venetians could dominate trade with the east. They continued to pay the tribute enforced upon Cyprus by the Mamluks, and when the latter were conquered by the Ottomans, the tribute was redirected to Constantinople, the seat of Ottoman power since 1453. Taking over the leadership of the Ottoman Empire from his father, Sultan Selim II repeatedly complained to the Venetians and demanded an end to the piracy in the seas surrounding Cyprus. The Venetians refused to do this and ignored the demand of Sultan to have full control of the island.

These relations were exacerbated by the Venetian seizure of Turkish ships, execution of Turkish corsairs in violation of an Ottoman-Venetian Treaty, and the continuing presence of Maltese pirates in Venetian ports harassing Muslim pilgrims and interfering in general commerce. Therefore, the Sultan decided to intervene and put an end to this state of affairs, as well as to consolidate the Ottoman control of the East in general. In 1570, after an ultimatum had expired, hordes of Ottoman troops landed at Larnaca, under Lale Mustafa Pasha. Nicosia was besieged, and resisted for six weeks, refusing terms of honorable surrender on rumors of an approaching Venetian fleet. The city was eventually taken by storm, and sacked, 20,000 inhabitants being massacred in the process. Kyrenia capitulated without a struggle.

In October, Lale Mustafa Pasha began the siege of Famagusta with an army of 200,000. The beleaguered party received meager reinforcements in January 1571, when the Turkish fleet withdrew to winter anchorage, but after ten months the garrison was reduced to 1500 men, whilst 80,000 Ottoman soldiers had perished. On August 1st, terms of capitulation were agreed between the captain of Famagusta, Marc Antonio Bragadino, and Lale Mustafa Pasha. However, a dispute arose and some incautious words by Bragadino resulted in his being flayed alive. In spite of a naval reversal at Lepanto on the Adriatic coast on 7 October 1571, Selim's efforts were successful and the Venetians had to sue for peace. Later that month Venetian officials handed over the island together With 300,000 ducats for war reparation.  It is said that Venetian rule was so unpleasant that when the Ottomans arrived in Cyprus in 1571 the locals felt as if they had been liberated from slavery.

During the Ottoman period, the Muslim minority acquired a Cypriot identity. As the power of the Ottoman Turks declined, their rule became increasingly corrupt. Greek and Turkish Cypriots struggled together against oppressive Ottoman rule. The conquest of 1571 of the island by the Ottoman Turks was liberation for the bulk of the Greek Orthodox population for the Orthodox Church was freed from centuries of control by the Latin hierarchy and its previous tradition of independence reasserted under a revived archbishopric. The Catholic Church of the Crusader and Venetian rulers were expelled. Its building were confiscated and converted into mosques or were sold to the Orthodox Church. Catholics on the island were given the choice of conversion to either Islam or Orthodoxy or exile. At the same time a number of soldiers, and craftsmen from Anatolia, were settled on the island. Apart from a reservation within the walls of Famagusta, there was no strategic placement of these immigrants, and they were fairly evenly distributed around the island. The policy was energetically pursued until about 30,000 Muslim Turks had been settled on the island amongst a population of perhaps 150,000 Greek-Cypriots. This proportion which is around 1:5 still holds true today. The Ottoman Turks ruled Cyprus until 1878.

Apart from a few eccentric travelers and a medieval king, Britain had no involvement with Cyprus before 1878. Under the 1878 Cyprus Convention, part of the Treaty of Berlin (1878), the Ottoman Turks handed over the administration of the island to Britain in exchange for guarantees that Britain would protect the crumbling Ottoman Empire against possible Russian aggression. The nature of that assistance was to be more fully revealed four years later, in 1882, when Britain absorbed into her own Empire the old Ottoman province of Egypt. It remained formally part of the Ottoman Empire until the latter entered World War I on the side of Germany, and Britain annexed the island in 1914. In 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquished all rights to Cyprus, which in 1925 was declared a Crown colony. After all peaceful means to achieve freedom had been exhausted; a national liberation struggle was launched in 1955 against colonial rule and for union with Greece. The liberation struggle ended in 1959 with the Zurich-London agreements signed by Britain, Greece and Turkey as well as representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, leading to Cyprus's independence.

The Zürich Agreement (1959) between Turkey and Greece produced a bi-communal constitutional framework for Cyprus which recognized the equality of the two `communities' in many important matters and a large degree of political and cultural separateness. In other words this treaty gave independence to Cyprus whilst protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriot population. The president was to be from the Greek community and the vice-president from the Turkish community. Each would have the power of veto. In the government and the civil service the communities were represented in the ratio of 70% to 30%. In the police and army however, this ratio was 60% to 40%. Failure to agree on the structure of the army resulted in Makarios, the first president of Cyprus, declaring that Cyprus would have no armed forces. This naturally led to the formation of private armies, supplied clandestinely by Greece and Turkey.

In 1963 relations between the two communities, separated by language, culture and religion, had deteriorated. 13 articles of the Constitution were attempted to be changed in favour of Greek Cypriot community, also disarming Turkish Cypriot Police and establishing the National Greek Cypriot Guards. These measures were in clear contravention of the Treaty of Zurich. Civil war began, and the United Nations sent in troops in an attempt to restore peace, creating the Green Line, which effectively divided the two communities. Events got really heated when armed Greeks attacked Nicosia on Christmas Eve 1963, killing or capturing those Turkish Cypriots who were unable to escape. In the Spring of 1964, some 20,000 mainland Greek troops entered the Island illegally. A buffer zone was set up and manned by British troops in a largely unsuccessful attempt to stop the fighting. These were later replaced by United Nations troops in March 1964. Makarios revealed his true colors on January 1st 1964 with his announcement of the abrogation of the treaties signed in London, intending to establish self determination for Cypriots, which, as the Greeks were in the majority, would almost certainly lead to a proclamation of enosis. Under pressure from Britain and Turkey however, Makarios was forced to repeal his announcement.

The "Acheson Plan" also provided another opportunity to resolve the long-standing dispute in the spring of 1964. Cyprus would be ceded to Greece. In return the Greek island of Kastellorizon would be transferred to Turkey. Turkey would also have a sovereign base area on Cyprus, covering most of the Karpaz. This would be owned by Turkey in perpetuity, much as the British SBAs are in the south of the island. Turkish Cypriots would also be allowed to have several parts of the island, totally administered by themselves. Although this plan was supported by Greece and Turkey, Makarios vetoed it, as he felt this gave too much to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

In August 1964, well armed Greek forces attempted to crush the Turks at Erenkoy (Kokkina) on the north coast in order to interrupt the flow of munitions from the Turkish mainland. They would undoubtedly have succeeded had not the Turkish air force intervened. This act added a new dimension to the conflict. Fear of Turkish intervention sobered the Greeks somewhat, and they settled down to systematic economic blockade of the Turkish enclaves. This situation amounted to partition, especially as the Turks were no longer able to participate in the government or civil service. Further armed conflict in 1967 provoked Turkey to threaten military intervention, but with the takeover by the colonels in Greece, and the economic boom in Cyprus, the concept of enosis grew less and less attractive.

On 20th July 1974, the Turkish military headed towards the island country of Cyprus, in response to the 1974 Cypriot coup d'état. Its Turkish Armed Forces code name was Operation Atilla.

The coup had been ordered by the military Junta in Greece and staged by the Cypriot National Guard in conjunction with EOKA-B. It deposed the Cypriot president Archbishop Makarios III and installed Nikos Sampson, a leader in favour of Enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece.

In July 1974, Turkish forces  captured 3% of the island before a ceasefire was declared. The Greek military junta collapsed and was replaced by a democratic government. In August 1974 40% of the island was captured. The ceasefire line from August 1974 became the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus and is commonly referred to as the Green Line.

More than one quarter of the population of Cyprus was expelled from the occupied northern part of the island where Greek Cypriots constituted 80% of the population. A little over a year later in 1975, there was also a flow of roughly 60,000 Turkish Cypriots from the south to the north after the conflict. This all ended in the partition of Cyprus along the UN-monitored Green Line which still divides Cyprus. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence, although Turkey is the only country which recognizes it. 

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