CYPRUS island is an independent country located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, 97 km west of Syria and 64 km west of Turkey
In 1974 there has been a forceful Turkish invasion, in the island, which resulted in 37% of Cyprus to be still under Turkish occupation. Since then 200,000 Cypriots are refugees, 1619 Greek Cypriots are still missing. For over 20 years now Turkey in violation of numerous UN and security council resolutions keeps the island divided.
Temperate, Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. The island provides a perfect climate for summer holidays. It is estimated that there are 300 sunny days each year!!
Central plain with mountains to north and south
Copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
moderate earthquake activity; water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall.
July 1993 estimated population is 723,371
77.5 persons per sq km
0.94% (1993 est.)
POPULATION DISTRIBUTION (1990):
62% urban, 38% rural
17.14 births/1,000 population (1993 est.)
7.74 deaths/1,000 population (1993 est.)
INFANT MORTALITY RATE:
9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1993 est.)
TOTAL FERTILITY RATE:
2.34 children born/woman (1993 est.)
PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION UNDER AGE 15:
PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION OVER AGE 65:
Greek 78%, Turkish 18%, other 4%
Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, Maronite, Armenian, Apostolic, and other 4%
The Greek Cypriots use the Greek language (a harmonic dialect of it!!) wheareas the Turkish Cypriots speak Turkish.
MORE CYPRUS CULTURE STATISTICS:
7.3 PER 1000 PERSONS
0.5 PER 1000 PERSONS
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE:
100% with access
180 Population per bed.
PHYSICIANS PER CAPITAL:
13.5 per 10,000 persons.
NURSES PER CAPITAL:
32 per 10,000 persons
PHARMACISTS PER CAPITAL:
1.4 per 10,000
DENTISTS PER CAPITAL:
4.9 per 10,000
2.5 per 10,000 persons.
SEX OFFENCES (INCLUDING RAPE):
3.22 per 100,000 persons
237.26 per 100,000 persons.
8.58 per 100,000 persons.
Remains of the oldest known settlement in Cyprus dating from this period can be seen in Khirokitia and Kalavassos (Tenta), off the Nicosia-Limassol road. This civilization had developed along the North and South coasts. First only stone vessels were used. After 5000 B.C., the art of pottery was invented.
Most Chalcolithic establishments are found in Western Cyprus, where a fertility cult develops. The copper of the island begins to be exploited and used.
Copper is more extensively exploited bringing wealth to Cyprus. Trade is built up with the Near East, Egypt and the Aegean. After 1400 BC, Mycenaeans from Greece reach the island, perhaps as merchants. During the 12th and 11th centuries several waves of Achaean Greeks come to settle on the island bringing with them the Greek language, their religion, their customs. They build new cities like Paphos, Salamis, Kition. Kourion. The island from now on is progressively hellenised.
There are ten Kingdoms in the island. Phoenicians settle at Kition. The 8th century B.C. is a period of great prosperity.
The era of prosperity continues, but the island falls prey to several conquerors. Cypriot Kingdoms try to preserve their independence but come variously under the domination of Assyria, Egypt and Persia. King Evagoras of Salamis (who ruled from 411-374 BC) rebels against Persia and unifies the island but, after a great siege has to conclude peace with Persia and loses control of the whole island.
Alexander the Great defeats Persia and Cyprus becomes part of his empire.
After the succession struggles, between Alexander's generals, Cyprus eventually comes under the Hellenistic state of the Ptolemies of Egypt, and belongs from now onwards to the Greek Alexandrine world. The capital is now Paphos. This is a period of wealth for Cyprus.
Cyprus becomes part of the Roman Empire, first as part of the province of Syria, then as a separate province under a proconsul. During the missionary journeys by Saints Paul and Barnabas, the Proconsul, Sergius Paulus is converted to Christianity and Cyprus becomes the first country to be governed by Christian. Destructive earthquakes occur during the 1st century B.C. and the 1at A.D. and cities are rebuilt. There is a great loss of life when the Jews who lived in Salamis rebel in 116, and from the plague in 164 AD. In 313 the Edict of Milan grants freedom of worship to Christians and Cypriot bishops attend the Council of Nicaea in 325.
After the division of the Roman Empire in two parts, Cyprus comes under the Eastern Roman Empire, known as Byzantium, with Constantinople as its capital. Constantine the Great's mother, Helena is said to have stopped in Cyprus on her journey from the Holy Land, with remnants of the Holy Cross and founded the monastery of Stavrovouni. More earthquakes during the 4th century A.D. completely destroy the main cities. Cities lose their splendour and remain in ruins. New cities arise, Constantia is now the capital, and large basilicas are built as from the 4-5th century A.D. In 488, after the tomb of St. Barnabas is found, Emperor Zeno gives the Archibishop of Cyprus full autonomy and privileges including holding a sceptre instead of a pastoral staff, wearing a purple mantle and signing in red ink. In 647 Arabs invade the island under Muawiya. In 688 Emperor Justinian II and Caliph al-Malik sign a treaty neutralising Cyprus, but violations are reported, and the island is also attacked by pirates until 965 when Emperor Nicephoros Phocas expels Arabs from Asia Minor and Cyprus.
Isaac Comnenus, self proclaimed governor of Cyprus, is discourteous to survivors of a shipwreck involving ships of Richard I's fleet on their way to the Third Crusade. Richard defeats Isaac and takes possession of Cyprus, marrying Berengaria of Navarree in Limassol, where she is crowned Queen of England. Richard then sells the island to the Knights Templars for 100,000 dinars but they resell it at the same price to Guy de Lusignan, one of the Crusader Knights.
Cyprus is ruled on the feudal system and the Catholic church officially replaces the Greek Orthodox, although the latter manages to survive. Many beautiful gothic buildings belong to this period including the Cathedrals of Ayia Sophia in Nicosia, Saint Nicholas in Famagusta and Bellapais Abbey. The city of Famagusta becomes one of the richest in the Near East, and Nicosia becomes the capital of Cyprus and the seat of the Lusignan Kings. The Lusignan dynasty ends when the last queen Catherina Cornaro cedes Cyprus to Venice in 1489.
Venetians see Cyprus as a last bastion against the Ottomans in the east Mediterranean, and fortify the island tearing down lovely buildings in Nicosia to bring the city into a tight encircled area defended by bastions and a moat which can still be seen today. They also build impressive walls around Famagusta which were considered at the time as works of military art.
In 1570 troops attack Cyprus, capture Nicosia, slaughter the population (20,000) and lay siege to Famagusta for a year. After a brave defense by Venetian commander Marc Antonio Bragadin, Famagusta capitulates to the Ottoman commander Lala Mustafa, who first gives free passage to the besieged but when he sees how few they are, orders the flaying, drawing and quartering of Bragadin and puts the others to death. On annexation to the Ottoman Empire, the Latin hierarchy are expelled or converted to Islam and the Greek Orthodox faith restored; in time, the Archibishop as leader of the Greek Orthodox, becomes their representative to the Porte. When the Greek War of Independence breaks out in 1821, the Archibishop of Cyprus, Kyprianos, three bishops and hundreds of civic leaders are executed.
Under the 1878 Cyprus Convention, Britain assumes administration of the island, which remains formally part of the Ottoman Empire until 1914 when Britain annexes Cyprus, after the Ottoman Empire enters the First World War on the side of Germany. In 1923 under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey renounces any claim to Cyprus. In 1925 Cyprus is declared a Crown colony. In 1940 Cypriot volunteers serve in various branches of the British Armed Forces throughout the Second World War. Hopes for self-determination now being granted to other countries in the post-war period are shattered by the British who consider the island vitally strategic. An Armed Liberation Struggle, after all means of peaceful settling of the problem are exchausted, breaks out in 1955 which last until 1959.
According to the Zurich-London Treaty, Cyprus becomes an independent republic on 16th August 1960. It is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth as well as the Non-Aligned Movement. According to the above Treaty, Britain retains in the island two Sovereign Bases, (158.5 sq km) at Dhekelia and Akrotiri-Episkopi.
The 1960 Constitution of the Cyprus Republic proves unworkable in many of its provisions, and this made impossible its smooth implementation. When in 1963, the President of the Republic proposed some amendments to facilitate the functioning of the state, the Turkish community responded with rebellion (Dec. 1963), the Turkish ministers withdrew from the Cabinet and the Turkish civil servants ceased attending their offices while Turkey threatened to invade Cyprus. Ever since then, the aim of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, acting on instructions from the Turkish Government, has been the partitioning of Cyprus and annexation by Turkey. In July 1974, a coup is staged in Cyprus by the Military junta, then in power in Athens, for the overthrow of President Makarios. On 20 July 1974, Turkey launched an invasion with 40,000 troops against defenseless Cyprus. Since 1974, 37% of the island is under Turkish military occupation and 200,000 Greek Cypriots, 40% of the total Greek Cypriot population, were forced to leave their homes in the occupied area and were turned into refugees. The invasion of Turkey and the occupation of 37% of the island's territory as well as the continuing violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Cyprus have been condemned by international bodies, such as the UN General Assembly, the Non-aligned Movement, the Commonwealth and the Council of Europe.
THE CYPRUS PROBLEM
Cyprus is a small island in the eastern part of the Mediterranean sea. It has about the same size as the state of Connecticut with 660,000 inhabitants. The population of the island, according to the US State Department consists of: Greek-Cypriots 78%, Turkish-Cypriots 18%, Armenian, Maronite and Latin-Cypriots 4%.
Turkish and Greek Cypriots lived together on the island for almost five centuries. They were dispersed all over the island, mosques and churches can still be found side by side and members of one community worked in the business of the other (Gradshaw N. "The Cyprus Revolt").
Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. As an explanation to this brutal act, Turkey offered the restoration of the constitutional structure of the Republic of Cyprus that was damaged by a coup d' etat, and the protection of an 18% Turkish-Cypriot minority on the island. Just like the Nazis in 1939 when they invaded Czechoslovakia, proclaiming themselves "protectors" of the "oppressed" German minority. The international community strongly condemned the military invasion and rejected Turkey's explanations. In
Turkey not only ignored the international community but launched a second offensive in August, 1974 and managed to seize more than one third of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. Moreover the Turkish army in order to "protect" the Turkish-Cypriot minority on the island, employed deliberate means of terror and indiscriminate cruelty against the Greek-Cypriots. The goal was the ethnic-cleansing, 17 years before the term was even coined, of the occupied northern part of the island. When one reads thereport, adopted on July 10, 1976, after months of investigation by the European Commission of Human Rights, one understands why thousands of Greek Cypriots fled their homes at the approach of the Turkish army. The Commission accepted that there were "very strong indications" of killings "committed on a substantial scale." The atrocities of the Turkish army included wholesale and repeated rapes of women of all ages, systematic torture, savage and humiliating treatment of hundreds of people, including children, women and pensioners during their detention by the Turkish forces, as well as looting and robbery on an extensive scale, by Turkish troops and Turkish Cypriots.
Thousands of Greek-Cypriots lost their lives, 1619 are still missing (BILL H. R. 2826 on missing persons since the Turkish invasion in Cyprus,), 200,000 Cypriots fled their homes leaving behind their belongings (the 200,000 refugees in terms of percentage to the population of Cyprus correspond to 110,000,000 in the USA).
As if all this were not enough, the Turkish-Cypriots later declared the occupied part of the island "a Federated Turkish State". The reaction of the international community is strongly negative. The UN Security Council inResolution 367/1975 "regrets the unilateral decision of 13 February 1975 declaring a part of the Republic of Cyprus would become a Federated Turkish State". Turkey, once again showing its respect to international law and order, is the only country in the whole world that has recognized this pseudo-state!
It is important to realize that Turkey has always planned the invasion of Cyprus and events prior to 1974 just served as a pretext. Taxim, (partition in Turkish) of the island was always in Turkey's plans. In 1956 the Turkish Cypriot leader F. Kutchuck submitted on a map Taxim proposals dividing Cyprus to North and South (Hitchens "Cyprus: Hostage to History"). In 1974 the Turkish troops divided the island to north and south deviating from the 1956 plan only in minor details. It is therefore clear that the 1974 invasion was a part of a plan and not the result of any actions of the Greek-Cypriots in the sixties. The current Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash agreed when he stated: "Even if the Turkish-Cypriots did not exist, Turkey would not have left Cyprus to Greece" ( Turkish newspaper "Milliyet" 7/23/1985).
Currently, 22 years later, 30,000 Turkish troops are stationed on the occupied part of the island making it "one of the most highly militarized areas in the world", according to the June 1994 report of the UN Secretary General to the Security Council. The island is thus still divided, the refugees still away from their homes, the whereabouts of the missing still unknown. The Turkish-Cypriots are also victims of this invasion and imposed separation. More than 110,000 Turkish settlers have been transported to the occupied areas, in an attempt to change the demographic character of the island. These settlers, while Turks, they are completely different culturally from the Turkish-Cypriots whose culture is very similar to their Greek counterparts. The Turkish-Cypriots are becoming a minority in the occupied areas and are migrating to other western countries. On the other hand their leaders, under Turkey's direction, continue to bring the negotiations in the UN to a deadlock. The reason is simple: they are satisfied with the status quo.
The goal of the reunification of the island is the only acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem by the international community. The UN Security Council in Resolution 939/1994 clearly "reiterates that the maintenance of the status quo is unacceptable" and "reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship". It recommends that this state should comprise "two politically equal communities" "in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession".
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