Cyprus: four decades of division and negotiations

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:

- Partition -

On July 15, 1974, Greek Cypriot members of the National Guard overthrow president Archbishop Makarios in a coup sponsored by the military junta then ruling Greece.

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

Three days later, the fall of both the regime in Athens and the collapse of the coup in Nicosia leads to the restoration of president Makarios.

On July 30, Turkey, Greece and Britain meet in Geneva and set up a "security zone" manned by UN troops.

- Turkish republic in north -

On February 13, 1975, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash proclaims a separate state and becomes its president.

On November 15, 1983, proclamation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which to this day is recognised only by Turkey.

- Crossing the Green Line -

In April 2003, although overall talks are bogged down, Greek and Turkish Cypriot authorities allow people from each community to cross the UN-patrolled "Green Line" between the two territories.

- UN plan rejected, EU entry -

On April 24, 2004, in separate referendums, Greek Cypriots reject a UN reunification plan by a large majority, while Turkish Cypriots strongly approve it.

On May 1, despite being divided, Cyprus joins the European Union.

On August 23, formal trade between the two entities resumes after 30 years.

- Intensive talks -

On September 3, 2008, Greek Cypriot president Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat launch intensive talks under UN auspices after four years of deadlock. Talks make no progress, despite regular meetings.

May 26, 2010, UN-sponsored talks resume in Nicosia, between Christofias and new Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, a nationalist.

On July 1, 2012, Cyprus takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union. Stalled negotiations are suspended by the Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot side is caught up in a severe financial crisis.

On February 11, 2014, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Eroglu pledge to work towards reaching an agreement to end the island's division.

On 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 offshore energy resources.

On May 15, 2015, peace talks resume with a meeting between Anastasiades and newly elected Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

- The 'final mile' -

In January 2017, a multilateral conference with the island's three guarantor powers -- Britain, Greece and Turkey -- is held in Geneva, after talks between the two leaders. No progress is made.

The presence of Turkish troops in northern Cyprus is at the centre of the disagreement.

On June 5, UN envoy Espen Barth Eide, with two years of negotiations at an impasse, says the talks have reached "the final mile" after the two leaders meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York.

On June 9, Guterres announces the leaders will resume talks on June 28 in Geneva.

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