Cyprus -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of Cyprus
Capital City: Nicosia (pop. 207,000)
Languages: Greek (official), English, Turkish
Currency: Greek Area: Cypriot Pound, Turkish Area: Turkish Lira
Religions: Greek Orthodox, Muslim
Population: 793,100, and that number does not include the estimated 115,000 Turks in the north.
Land Area: 9,251sq km
Landforms: A narrow band of mountains (the Kyrenia) slices across the north, while in the south, the Troodos Mountains dominate. Mt. Olympus is the highest point,
at 1,951m. A somewhat fertile plain crosses the center of the
island, with Nicosia at the southern end. The only rivers of size include
the Pedias and Kariyoti.
Cyprus -- History --
The very first signs of permanent settlement in Cyprus date from the Neolithic age (8200-3800 BC). While copper is mined in small quantities during the next period, the Chalcolithic (3800 - 2400 BC) age, this brings about only minor changes in the way of life of teh people. In both the Neolithic and Chalcolithic ages the Cypriots lived in single room dwellings, used stone tools and vessels, made jewellery out of picrolite, ate fish, cereals, lamb and goat's meat and buried their deadwithin their settlements. The earliest pottery found dates back to the 5th millennia BC.
The first significant cultural changes affecting all aspects of society took place around 2400-2200 BC, towards the end of the Chalcolitic age and at the beginning of the Early Bronze age. Instesd of building cylindrically-shaped dwellings, people began to construct multi-roomoblong structures, started to process copper in jewellery, applied the plough for agriculture and began to bury their dead in organised cemeteries. Despite the fact that these developments contributed to the economic growth that occured both during the Early (2400-1900 BC) and Middle (1900-1650 BC) Bronze age periods, people still lived in small hinterland villages. Communication and trade with the surrounding Mediterranean lands was limited.
The Late Bronze age (1650-1050 BC) was the first period of prehistoric Cyprus when tangible and irrefutable evidence exists that
that a number of significant devcelopments occurred. These include the establishment of coastal towns, intensive mining of copper and other metals, development of writting script, contact and trade with the neighbouring regions of Egypt, the Middle East, the Aegean and the wider Eastern Mediterranean area.
From the latter part of the 13th century BC successive waves of mainland Greeks begin to settle in Cyprus. Hence, Mycenaean pottery is imported in great quantities from the Aegean (Greece) and used extensively, both in everyday life as well as
for religious ceremonies. Later it is reproduced locally and incorporated in the island's ceramic tradition.
Two major developments marked the next, Geometric period (1050-750 BC). The first was the establishment of new city-kingdoms.
The second was the use of iron in metallurgy, which marked the start of a new era, the Iron age. At first iron was used only in jewellery, but it gradually replaced copper in tool making. The Iron age includes the Geometric period, in view of the fact thatgeometrical motifs were mainly used in decorating pottery. This period coincided with the arrival of the Phoenicians in Cyprus and their colonisation of the large coastal Mycenaean city of Kiton. Typical Phoenician black-on red colour pottery was introduced and later produced locally on the island.
The beginning of the next period, the Archaic period (750-480 BC) , wa smarked by the subjugation of Cyprus to the Assyrians. During this period, the Cypriot city-kingdoms of Salamis, Kition, Amathous, Kourion, Idalion, Palaipafos, Marion, Soloi and Tamassos remained independent for as long as they were in a position to pay a subjugation tax to the Assyrian ruler. After the rule of the Assyrian hegemony, the Egyptian Pharaon Amasis took over Cyprus. Typical of this period were the strong Greek and eastern influences evident in all aspects of life, more so in art and religion.
During the Clasical period (480-310 BC) Cyprus found itself in the middle of the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 450 and 449 BC, the Athenian fleet led by Kimon took over Marion, liberated Soloi and besieged Kition. As a part of Persian Empire, Cyprus maintained its independence to a large degree. During the rule of Evagoras of Salamis (411-374 BC) Cyprus developed into one of the most important political and cultural centers of teh Helenistic world. Evagoras rebelled against Persians, but after a lenghty war was forced to sign a peace treaty with Persia. Throughout Persian rule, Greek influences on Cyprus were very strong.
Persian rule came to an end durng the Hellenistc period (310-30 BC) during Alexander the Great's campaign to the East. After Alexander's death, Ptolemy, one of his successors, became ruler of the islands (294 BC). Strong influences of Alexandria, the capital of the new Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt, are evident in all areas of art, such as sculpture, ceramics and statuette making. During the Ptolemaic period Cyprus was mainly used as a military base. The Ptolemies exploited the island's natural resources, such as copper, timber for the construction of ships, olives and wheat,
The Romans, who conquered Cyprus after the Ptolemies, mainly exploited its copper mines. During Roman period (58(30) BC-330 AD),
the name of Cyprus became synonymous with the Latin equivalent name for copper (cuprum). Under Roman rule, as a result of trade Cyprus anjoyed a three hundred year period of economic growth. One of the main exports at the time was decorative Cypriot pottery. Cypriot jewellery and glassware copied the decorative styles of Roman craft shops. At the start of teh Roman period burial tombs were particularly rich, often containing exquisite golden jewellery and crafted glassware.
A landmark in the history of Cyprus during the Roman period was the conversion of the island to Christianity by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, starting in 45 AD.
In 330 AD the capital of the Roman Empire was moved from Rome to Constantinople. Christianity was declared the official religion of the state. In 395 AD the ROman Empire was split into the Western Roman Empire, included Cyprus, from the 4th to the 12th centuries. During Christian-Early Byzantine period, between the 4th and 7th centuries, the church of Cyprus succeeded with great effort to remain autocephalous, fully independent and to increase its influence considerably. In 488 AD
Byzantine Emperor Zeno accorded the Archbishop of Cyprus and his successors the privileges of wearing a purple cloak during official ceremonies, holding an imperial sceptre and signing in red ink. Archbishop Anthemios, wishing to express his gratitude to the Emperor for ratifying that the Church of Cyprus would be autocephalous, presented him St. Barnabas's manuscript of St. Mathew's Gospel, which Archbishop Anthemios had discovered in the Apostle's tomb near Salamis. A monastery dedicated to St. Barnabas was erected on the spot where his tomb was discovered. St. Barnabas is considered to be the founder of the Church of Cyprus.
Peace prevailed in Cyprus during the first centuries of the Byzantine period. New cities sprung up, while others were abandoned as a result of major desruptive earthquakes. The capital of Cyprus was moved from Pafos to Salamis-Constantia, near which the town of Arsinoe-Famagusta developed from the 7th century. Amathous remained an important centre since Roman times, while a new city was established nearby, Neapolis or Nemesos, later becoming Lemesos, in the Frankish period. The old city of Ledra was replaced by Lefkosia (Nicosia), which eventually became the capital of Cyprus sometaime between the 11th and 12th century.
The silk industry, which the Byzantines introduced clandestinely from China, originally developed in the 6th century and grew to becomeone of teh most lucrastive handicrafts on the island. The shipbuilding yards of Cyprus continued to produce wooden ships on a large scale, while an aqueduct was built in Salamis, funded by the Byzantine Emperor Heraklios. The silver and goldsmith industries flourished, as evidenced by precious plates with depictions of the life of David, part of the discovered treasure of Lambousa(Lapithos). The plates are now exhibited in the Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia(Nicosia), while other objects from the collection are housed in the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Ecclesiastical art flourished in Cyprus, adopting elements from the Greco-Roman tradition, as well as eastern elements. The island's first churches were built based on Roman basilica model of an elongated oblong area, divided by a row of columns into archways and aisles. As time went by domes and arches were added and various types developed around a shape of a cross.
The most important examples of architecture during this period are the early Christian wooden-roofed basilicas decorated with frescoes. The most important ones are those of Lambousa, Agia Kyriaki (Chrysospiliotissa) at Kato Pafos, Kambanopetra in Constantia, Agia Triada Gialousa, Panagia Kanakaria in the Karpas peninsula, Kourion and Agios Georgios in Pegeia. Three rare mosaics that still survive inside the apses of three early Christian basilicas depict the artistic connection betwen Cyprus and Constantionople. Th eoldest of the three mosaics was the one in the apse of the now occupied church of Kanakaria in the Karpas peninsula, the one in the best condition is found in the apse of the church of Panagia Angeloktisti at Kiti, while
the third is in the "Church of the Lady", in the occupied village of Livadia, near Famagusta. The basilicas were destroyed by the Arab raids that took place between 7th and 10th centuries, but the mosaics were spared because they were incorporated into subsequent churches.
Cyprus acquired particular importance to Byzantinum and to Islam in the 7th century as a result of the conflict between the powers of the time. The Arab raids against Cyprus began in 648-649 AD and continued until 965 AD, when Emperor Nicephorus 2 Phocas finally defeated them. Arabs ruled Cyprus between 648 and 946 AD. Up until the 12 th century the Byzantines built castles and fortifications along the Pentadaktylos mountian range at St Hilarion, Voufavento and Kantara, as well as the monasteries at Kykkos, Machairas and Agios Neophytos.
In 1191, the king of England, Richard the Lionheart, foresaw the strategic importance of Cyprus as a base for supplying the forces of taking part in the Third Crusade, and conquered the island. In Cyprus Richard married his fiancee Berengaria of Navarre, who was accompanying him, and crowned her Queen of England. Realising how difficult it would be to maintain control
of the island, Richard sold it to the Knights Templars, who handed it back, following a local uprising on the island. Richard then finally sold Cyprus to the former king of the Latin state of Jerusalem, French nobleman Guy de Lusignan, founder of the Lusignan dynasty of kings and queens in Cyprus, whose family originated from Poitier in France. Frankish rule of Cyprus, known as the Lusignan period, lasted for three centuries (1192-1489). The governing regime in Cyprus became feudal and the Catholic church was instated as teh official institution of the state. In 1291, after the fall of Acre (Latin kingdom of Jerusalem) to the Mamelukes of Egypt, Cyprus remained the sole bastion of Christianity in the East, as well as the most important trading post in the Eastern Mediterranean. The granting by the Frankish kings of commerce privileges to powerfull trading cities of the West, such as Venice and Genoa gave rise to conflict between the Western powers as to who would prevail over Cyprus. This had a detrimental political and economic effect on the island.
The 14th century saw great comemrcial and economic activity in Cyprus. The capital of the island Lefkosia (Nicosia) and the coastal city of Famagusta grew into large urban centers with considerable trading activity. During the Middle Ages, Cyprus produced and exported high quality sugar, excellent wine and other fine agricultural products. At the same time the weaving and lace industries flourished. Another growing industry was the production of glazed ceramic ware, both for local as well as for export needs. The gothic monuments that survive from the Frankish period consist mainly of places of worship and castles that combine Byzantine and western elements. The church of Agia Sofia in Lefkosia (Nicosia), St Nicholas cathedral in Famagusta and the Abbey of Belapais are just some of the better known structures.
The last queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, wife of King James 2 and sister of Venetian nobleman Andreas Cornaro ceded the island to Venice in 1489, whereupon Cyprus became part of "the Most Serene Republic" of Venice. This resulted in the definitive ousting of the Genoans from the island and the prevalence of Venetian rule. Venice's main aim was to secure a firm hold of Cyprus that woold allow the unimpeded movement and supply of Venetian ships in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The main agricultural products that the island exported were wheat, barely, sugar, cotton, wine and olive oil. The main cottage industry was textiles, while at the same time lace was beginning to be produced in the village of Lefkara. Most exports were shipped out of the port of Famagusta. Toward the end of Venetian rule (1489-1571), Larnaka became the most important port of Cyprus, from where salt was exported. The port of Lemessos (Limassol) also started to develop at this time.
When the Ottomans conquered the island of Rhodes in 1522, the Venetian were alerted to the danger of losing Cyprus. Hence they built fortifying walls of Famagusta, on whose sea side stood the tower of Othello, known from the Shakespeare tragedy.
The period of Ottoman rule in Cyprus began with the fall of Famagusta in 1571. The Latins were expelled from the island and a Moslem community was established in Cyprus for the first time. Privileges were given to the Ortodox church of Cyprus from the beginning of Ottoman rule, giving it not just religious authority but also political authority.
Cyprus went through hard times during Ottoman rule (1571-1878). The contribution of the Greek Cypriots to the Greek War of Independence in 1821 resulted in the execution of Cyprus Archbishop Kyprianos, three of his bishops and about 470 clerics and laymen.
Since the early 18th century, there took place a positive social and economic resurgence in the lives of Greek Cypriots and Greeks, alonside the parallel decline of the Ottoman Empire. The trading activities of Europeans in the coastal towns of Cyprus and the establishment of foreign consular offices in Larnaka marked the start of a change in the social fabric of
the island, from agricultural and semi-feudal as it was in previous periods, to semi-urban in the coastal towns. This social change was strngthened by the close contacts of the Greeks of Cyprus with the newly independent Greek state that emerged after the Greek War of Independence. These first urbanised townsfolk began to express the first strong national sentiments.
In 1878, under a secret treaty established between Great Britain and the Ottomans, Cyprus was ceded to the former.
It is occupied by the Great Britain (formally it stays Ottoman territory). In 1914 it is annexed and in 1925 is pronounced for British colony.
Greek Cypriot disappointment with British colonial rule together with the preveiling economic recession, led to the uprising events of October 1931. These
events resulted in even harsher colonial measures being imposed by the British. On 15 January 1950 a referendum on union with Greece was held, in which 95,7% of the Greek Cypriotsvoted in favour. The referendum outcome had
no effect on British stance. On 20 October 1950 Bishop of Kition Makarios 3 was elected as Archbishop. The political deadlock the Greek Cypriots faced led to the waging of the national liberatio anticolonial struggle of 1955-59, by the
National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA). The struggle resulted in the ending of British rule, but not to union with Greece.
The Zurich-London Agreement led to the estblishment of the independent Republic of Cyprpublic and Dr Fazil Kutchuk first Vice Prezident.
The Republic of Cyprus was proclaimed on 16 August 1960. The island became a member of United Nations, THe Commonwealth, The Council of Europe and the Non_aligned Movement.
On the basis of Zurich-London agreements Britain maintained two sovereign military bases on the island with a total combined area of 158,4 square kilometers, consisting of Dhekelia
to the east of Larnaka and Akrotiri-Episkopi near Lemesos (Limassol). Two treaties were signed as part of Zurich-London agreements, the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Guarantee. The letter gave the right to the three guarantor powers,
Britain, Turkey and Greece, to take action in the event that the provisions of the Treaty were violated.
Although the Cyprus constitution safeguarded the basic rights and freedoms of all its citizens, it contained community provisions that made it complex and non-workable.
In 1963 the President of the Republic proposed constitutional amendments wih both the Turkish Cypriots community leadership and Turkey rejected. The Turkish Cypriots withdrew from
the government and proceeded to set up an illegal "Temporary Turkish Cypriot Administration". As a result of subsequent inter-communal conflict between Greek Cypriots (78 % by the population) and the Cyprus Turks (18 %) that ensued at the
beginning of 1964, a United Nation Security Council resolution established a U. N. Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus.
In 1974, the military junta ruling Greece at that time staged a military coup in Cyprus aiming at the overthrow of elected President Makarios. Turkey used the coup as pretext to invade militarily the island on 20 July 1974 and occupy 37% of the territory of the
Republic of Cyprus, displacing about 200 000 Greek Cypriots from the occupied northern part of the island.
On 1 May 2004, with its northern part still under occupation,
Cyprus became a full member of EU. The accession act included a protocol which states that implementation of the acquis communautaire on the areas not controlled by the Cyprus government (as a result of Turkish invasion) is suspended.
This suspension will be removed as soon as the Cyprus problem is solved. Efforts and negotiations to find a just and functional solution to the Cyprus problem are continuing.
Cyprus -- Economy --
Economic affairs in Cyprus are dominated by the division of the country due to the Turkish occupation of the north part of the island.
The Cypriot economy is prosperous and has diversified in recent years. Cyprus has been sought as a basis for several offshore businesses, due to its highly developed infrastructure. Economic policy of the Cyprus government has focused on meeting the criteria for admission to the European Union.
Recently, oil has been discovered in the sea South of Cyprus (between Cyprus and Egypt) and talks are under way with Egypt to reach an agreement as to the exploitation of these resources. The level of the oil field in terms of production (barrels per day) that the two countries will be able to produce is still a matter of speculation.
The economy in the occupied part of Cyprus is heavily dependent on Turkey for subsidies for its survival. The economy relies heavily on agriculture. The influx of about 100,000 Turkish economic migrants in the occupied part of Cyprus, who in their majority are uneducated workers, has brought even more trouble in the economy of the occupied area. Moreover, the small, vulnerable economy has suffered because the Turkish lira is legal tender.
Eventual adoption of the euro currency is required of all new countries joining the European Union, and the Cyprus government currently intends to adopt the currency on 1 January 2008.
Cyprus -- Culture --
Cyprus is the third largest island in Mediterranean. I is situated at the crossroads of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa. This geographic position has since antiquity played an important part in the island's turbulent history.
The island is an open air museum where one can visit prehistoric settlements, classical Greek temples, Roman theatres and villas, early Christians basilicas, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Crusader castels, Gothic cathedrals, Venetioan fortifications, Moslem mosques and British colonial-style buildings. It is not surprising that UNESCO included The Pafos antiquities, Choirokoitia and ten of the Byzantine period churches of Troodos in its list of World Heritage Sites.
Aphrodite, the ancient Greek Olympian goddess of beauty and love, who according to mytology was born on the island, still roams her beloved Pafos and the "Sweet land of Cyprus", omnipresent in the bright atmosphere, the beauty of the landscape and the charm of teh local people. At Kouklia, where once stood her great temple, now stands a church fittingly known as the church of "Panagia Aphroditissa". In Kourion and in the Pafos Odeion, classical Greek plays are regularly staged.
The music of Cyprus includes a variety of classical, folk and popular genres. Recent trends have seen the rise of Ayia Napa, a resort, as a home for UK garage music, similar in its evolution to that of the island Ibiza.
Cyprus changed hands numerous times prior to the Medieval era, and was an important outpost of Christianity and European civilization during the Crusades. The tumultuous history introduced a variety of styles, including music from Armenia, France, Turkey, and Greece. The island's peak as a cultural capital of Europe occurred from 1359 to 1432.
During that peak, Pierre I de Lusignan made a three year tour of Europe, bringing with him an entourage of musicians that so impressed Charles V in Rheims that he donated 80 francs in gold to them. On his return to Cyprus, Pierre I brought with him the French Ars Nova and, later, the Ars Subtilior. French musicians became well established in Cyprus, and the city of Nicosia became a capital of the Ars Subtilior style.
Janus I de Lusignan saw Cypriot music evolve into its own variety of music. His daughter, Anna, brought a manuscript after her marriage to Louis, Count of Geneva, which contained 159 folios with over two hundred polyphonic compositions, both sacred and secular. The manuscript is now contained within the National Library of Turin.
In Northern Cyprus, the biggest rock band is SOS, founded in 1987. In the south heavy metal and greek rock are both quite popular with the most important metal group being Armaggedon
Notable composers include:
Yannis Kyriakides 1969 Cyprus-The Netherlands
Solon Michaelides, 1905 - 1979 Cyprus-Greece
Folk music on Cyprus is similar to the folk music of Greece and music of Turkey, and includes dances like the sousta, syrtos, zeimbekikos, tatsia, and the kartsilamas suites. Note that unlike Turkey and Greece, there are suites of 4 kartsilamas dances, different for men and women, some of them at tempo different than 9/8. Traditional music is modal based on the makams.
Both turkish and greek cypriots use the violin as the main solo instrument, accompanied by laouto (form of lute) for greek cypriots and ud for turkish cypriots. Accordion, percussion and recorder (pithkiavli) are also used.
Greek and Turkish Cypriots share many customs but maintain their ethnicity based on religion, language, and close ties with their respective motherlands.
The major part of Greek Cypriots are Eastern Orthodox Christians, whereas most Turkish Cypriots are Muslims.
Greek is the predominant language in the south, Turkish in the north. This delineation is only reflective of the post-1974 division of the island, which involved an expulsion of Greek Cypriots from the north and the analoguous move of Turkish Cypriots from the south. Historically however, the Greek language was largely spoken by all Greek Cypriots and by many Turkish Cypriots.
English is widely understood, and is taught in schools from primary age.
Cyprus -- Political system, law and government --
After independence Cyprus became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement despite all three guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK) being
North Atlantic Treaty Organization members.
Cyprus left the Non-Aligned Movement in 2004 to join the European Union, though it retains special observer status.
The 1960 Cypriot Constitution provided for a presidential system of government with independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches,
as well as a complex system of checks and balances, including a weighted power-sharing ratio designed to protect the interests of the
Turkish Cypriots. The executive, for example, was headed by a Greek Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios III, and a Turkish Cypriot
vice president, Dr Kutchuk, elected by their respective communities for 5-year terms and each possessing a right of veto over certain types of
legislation and executive decisions.
The House of Representatives was elected on the basis of separate voters' rolls. Since 1964, following clashes between the two communities,
the Turkish Cypriot seats in the House remained vacant, while the Greek Cypriot Communal Chamber was abolished. The responsibilities of the
chamber were transferred to the newfounded Ministry of Education.
By 1967, when a military junta had seized power in Greece, the political impetus for enosis had faded, partly as a result of the non-aligned foreign
policy of Cypriot President Makarios. Enosis remained an ideological goal, despite being pushed significantly further down the political agenda.
Dissatisfaction in Greece with Makarios's perceived failure to deliver on earlier promises of enosis convinced the Greek colonels to sponsor the 1974 coup in Nicosia.
Turkey responded by launching a military operation on Cyprus in a move not approved by the other two international guarantor powers, Greece and the
United Kingdom which aimed to protect the Turkish minority from Greek militias. The intervention is called "Cyprus Peace Operation" by the Turkish side.
Turkish forces captured the northern part of the island. Many thousands of others, from both sides, left the island entirely.
Subseqently, the Turkish Cypriots established their own separatist institutions with a popularly elected de facto President and a
Prime Minister responsible to the National Assembly exercising joint executive powers. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state
called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), an action opposed by the United Nations Security Council. In 1985, the TRNC adopted a
constitution and held its first elections.
The Republic of Cyprus is the internationally-recognised government of Cyprus, that controls the southern two-thirds of the island. Turkey aside,
all foreign governments and the United Nations recognise the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island of Cyprus.
The Turkish Cypriot administration of the northern part of the island, together with Turkey, does not accept the Republic's rule over the whole island and refer
to it as the "Greek Authority of Southern Cyprus". Its territory, the status of which remains disputed, extends over the northern third of the island.
The north proclaimed its independence in 1975, and the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established in 1983. This state was recognised
only by Turkey. The Organization of the Islamic Conference granted it observer member status under the name of "Turkish Cypriot State".
The other power with territory on Cyprus is the United Kingdom. Under the independence agreement, the UK retained title to two areas on the southern coast of the island,
around Akrotiri and Dhekelia, known collectively as the UK sovereign base areas. They are used as military bases.
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. Additionally there is the Dhekelia Power Station, which is divided by a British road into two parts.
The northern part is an enclave, like the two villages, whereas the southern part is located by the sea and therefore not an enclave —although
it has no territorial waters of its own.
The UN buffer zone separating the territory controlled by the Turkish Cypriot administration from the rest of Cyprus runs up against Dhekelia
and picks up again from its east side, off of Ayios Nikolaos (connected to the rest of Dhekelia by a thin land corridor). In that sense,
the buffer zone turns the south-east corner of the island, the Paralimni area, into a de facto, though not de jure, exclave.
The results of early negotiations between the Greek and Turkish sides resulted in a broad agreement in principle to reunification as a bi-cameral,
bi-zonal federation with territory allocated to the Greek and Turkish communities within a united island. However, agreement was never reached on
the finer details, and the two sides often met deadlock over the following points, among others:
The Turkish side:
favoured a weak central government presiding over two sovereign states in voluntary association, a legacy of earlier fears of domination by the majority Greek Cypriots; and
opposed plans for demilitarisation, citing security concerns.
The Greek side:
took a strong line on the right of return for refugees to properties vacated in the 1974 displacement of Cypriots on both sides;
took a dim view of any proposals which did not allow for the repatriation of Turkish settlers from the mainland who had emigrated to Cyprus since 1974; and
supported a stronger central government.
The continued difficulties in finding a settlement presented a potential obstacle to Cypriot entry to the European Union, for which the government had applied in 1997.
UN-sponsored talks between the Greek and Turkish leaders, Glafkos Klerides and Rauf Denktash, continued intensively in 2002, but without resolution.
In December 2002, the EU formally invited Cyprus to join in 2004, insisting that EU membership would apply to the whole island and hoping that
it would provide a significant enticement for reunification resulting from the outcome of ongoing talks. However, weeks before the UN deadline,
Klerides was defeated in presidential elections by center candidate Tassos Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos had a reputation as a hard-liner
on reunification and had rejected previous UN attempts to reunify the island. By mid-March, the UN declared that the talks had failed.
A United Nations plan sponsored by Secretary-General Kofi Annan was announced on 31 March 2004,
based on what progress had been made during the talks in Switzerland and fleshed out by the UN, was put to both sides in separate referenda on 24 April 2004.
The Greek side overwhelmingly rejected the Annan Plan, and the Turkish side voted in favour.
In May 2004, Cyprus entered the EU, although in practice membership only applies to the southern part of the island.
In acknowledgement of the Turkish Cypriot community's support for reunification, however, the EU made it clear that trade concessions would be
reached to stimulate economic growth in the north, and remains committed to reunification under acceptable terms.