The Turkish Occupation Of North Cyprus.

By: Kevin Moore

The beautiful Island of Cyprus is a popular destination for holiday makers from all over Europe especially the British. However not everyone is aware that part of the country is under occupation by an invading army. In 1974 the Turkish army invaded the North of Cyprus and have been there ever since. They have declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus or TRNC as it has also been called but unfortunately no other country in the world recognizes it. In fact most countries including those within the U.N. and the E.U operate trade embargoes against North Cyprus. Air Travel to the North of the Island is also banned by most countries and tourist wishing to visit there must fly into Turkey first.

The events in Cyprus leading up to the 1974 invasion were themselves turbulent to say the least and some observers claim that the Turks used this as an excuse. During the British occupation of the Island there was a strong political movement towards "Enosis" or union with Greece which many Greek Cypriots believed to be their motherland. There was a long struggle with the British for independence and out of this desire for Enosis was born EOKA or Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston translated in English to National Organization of Cypriot Fighters. These guerrilla fighters were heralded as national heroes in Cyprus's struggle for independence and there are several monuments erected in their memory dotted around the Island.

In 1971 following the overthrow of the government in Greece by the military junta EOKA b was formed in Cyprus with a renewed emphasis on Enosis with the mainland.

The final outcome of this struggle saw the formation of a coalition style government with representation by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots according to a percentage scale. The Greek Cypriots of course being in the majorityFeature Articles, which led their Turkish compatriots to complain that they were under represented. In fact following proposed changes in the constitution the Turks withdrew from the Islands government amid a period of inter-communal violence and most of the Turkish Cypriot population retreated into defensive enclaves. Shortly before the invasion of the North of Cyprus there was a military coup by the Greek Junta and EOKA b which quickly collapsed. At this point Turkey invaded the North and pushed all the way down to Famagusta and the capital Nicosia.

Thousands of Greek Cypriots were forced to flee their homes with only what they could carry leaving all their land and businesses behind. Even now (2007) these displaced Cypriots still consider themselves refugees and the Cyprus government shares their view. The Turkish government encouraged nationals to move to North Cyprus and has thousands of it's troops stationed there too. The border between the North and Southern Cyprus is patrolled by the United Nations peacekeeping force whilst the capital Nicosia remains the last divided city in the world. Since Turkey expressed her desire for ascension into the European Union the "Cyprus problem" is under the global spot light and all those involved are attempting to work out a solution.

No one can predict how the many issues of this long standing dispute will be settled but emotions on both sides still run deep. Visitors to Cyprus especially the Famagusta area will notice that many business owners proudly display old photographs of premises they left behind in 1974. The disputes over land being sold for development in North Cyprus also continues to add fuel to the political fire too. A new generation has grown up on the Turkish side of the border and they feel like they belong there whilst those in the South still lay claim to the land. There is little doubt that both sides still have a long way to go before they expect to see any solutions to the issues concerning the occupation of North Cyprus.

Cyprus Guide
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