Timeline: Cyprus – A divided island

A brief history of political events in Cyprus since its independence from Britain.

Ledra Street, which divides the capital Nicosia and symbolised the division of the island, was reopened in April [AFP]

1960 – Britain grants independence to Cyprus under power-sharing constitution between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Archbishop Makarios becomes first post- independence president.

Treaty of Guarantee allows Greece, Turkey and Britain to intervene in disputes. Britain has sovereignty of two bases on the island.

1963 – Makarios worries Turks by proposing constitutional changes which would abolish power-sharing agreements.

1964 – Power sharing crumbles amid fighting between paramilitary factions. United Nations sends peacekeeping force to help British troops patrolling the “Green Line” set up to divide the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sectors of Nicosia, the capital.

1967 – Military government seizes power in Greece, relations between Makarios and the generals in Athens are increasingly strained.

1974 – Military government in Greece backs coup against Makarious, seeking to unify Cyprus with Greece.

Makarios flees and five days later Turkish troops land in the north to protect Turkish Cypriot community.

The coup quickly ends and Greece’s military government collapses. Turkish forces occupy one third of the island and it effectively becomes partitioned.

1975 – Turkish Cypriots establish independent administration with Rauf Denktash becoming president.

1980 – UN-sponsored peace talks resume.

1983 – Turkish Cypriots proclaim independence as Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus – but it is only recognised by Turkey.

1985 – No agreement at talks between Denktash and Spyros Kyprianou, the Greek Cypriot president.

1993 – Glafcos Clerides becomes Greek Cypriot president.

1997 – UN-hosted talks between Denktask and Clerides fail.

2002 – Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, presents a comprehensive peace plan involving a federation of two parts, with a rotating presidency.

2003 – Turkish and Greek Cypriots cross “Green Line” for first time in 30 years after Turkish side eases border restrictions.

2004 – In referendums, Turkish Cypriots accept UN power-sharing plan but Greek Cypriots reject it. Cyprus joins the European Union, still partitioned.

2006 – Greek Cypriots endorse ruling coalition in elections, reaffirming opposition to reunification.

2006 – Turkey’s EU entry negotitations break down over Turkey’s continued resistance to opening its ports to traffic from Cyprus.

2007 – Communist party quits Cyprus’ governing coalition.


February – Communist party leader Demetris Christofias wins Cyprus’ presidential election and agrees to immediately reive reunification efforts.

March – Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader, agree to reopen the symbolic Ledra Street crossing in Nicosia.

April – Ledra Street is opened for first time since 1964.

July – Christofias and Talat agree enter direct peace negotiations on September 3, with a solution to be put to simultaneous referendums.

Source: Al Jazeera


Greece’s prime minister has given luke-warm support to a United Nations plan to end 30 years of division in Cyprus just days ahead of an April 24 referendum.

15 Apr 2004

The Turkish Cypriot leader has said he is ready to meet Tassos Papadopoulos, the president of Cyprus, on the future of the divided island, and anticipates seeing him in July.

5 Jun 2006

With Turkish Cypriots divided right down the middle on the island’s future after the 14 December general elections, many are now anxiously awaiting the outcome of an intense period of political bargaining.

16 Dec 2003
More from News
Most Read