Cyprus: four decades of division and negotiations

NICOSIA (AFP) - Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the Mediterranean island in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Here are key dates:


July 15: Greek Cypriot members of the National Guard overthrow president Archbishop Makarios in a coup sponsored by Greece, where a military junta has been in power since 1967.

July 20: Turkey, invoking a 1959 agreement with Greece and Cyprus's former colonial master Britain, invades the north of the island to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority.

July 23: The fall of both the regime in Athens and the collapse of the coup in Nicosia leads to the restoration of president Makarios.

July 30: Turkey, Greece and Britain meet in Geneva and set up a "security zone" manned by UN troops, recognising the existence of two autonomous administrations on Cyprus.

August: The Turkish army advances further to control 37 percent of the island.


February 13: Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash proclaims a separate state and becomes its president.


January: Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders agree on the principle of a federal but bicommunal state.

August 3: Makarios dies of a heart attack, interrupting the negotiations.


November: Proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which to this day is recognised only by Turkey.


June-October: Deadly intercommunal violence in the buffer zone.


November 11: A UN peace plan is sent to leaders of both sides.


April: Although overall talks are bogged down, Greek and Turkish Cypriot authorities allow people from each community to cross the Green Line.


April 24: In referendums, Greek Cypriots reject the UN plan by a large majority while Turkish Cypriots strongly approve it.

May 1: Despite being divided, Cyprus joins the European Union.

August 23: Formal trade between the two entities resumes after 30 years.


October 4: The EU opens membership talks with Turkey. Membership talks have since stalled over the Cyprus question and unwillingness by the bloc to open its doors to a large Muslim-majority country.


September 3: Greek Cypriot president Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat launch intensive talks under UN auspices after four years of deadlock.


May 26: UN-sponsored talks resume in Nicosia, between Christofias and new Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, a nationalist.


July 1: Cyprus takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union. Stalled negotiations are suspended by the Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot side does not push towards resuming the talks as it is caught up in a severe financial crisis.


May 30: Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, elected in February, and Eroglu meet for dinner at the invitation of the United Nations, in the first meeting at this level in more than a year.

A new meeting takes place in November devoted to the peace negotiations, which have been deadlocked for 19 months.


February 11: Anastasiades and Eroglu pledge to work towards reaching an agreement to end the island's division.

October 7: Greek Cypriots say they will not attend UN-led peace talks in protest at Turkish moves to undermine the divided island's search for energy.


May 15: Peace talks resume with a meeting between Anastasiades and newly elected Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.


January 21: The rival leaders say a peace deal is possible in 2016.

November 7 to 11: Anastasiades and Akinci discuss the key issue of territorial adjustments as part of UN-backed peace talks in Switzerland but fail to agree.


January 9: The two leaders resume talks in Geneva, with main points of contentions still unresolved.

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