AKAMAS: Political background
Omer is born.
is a British colony. The country's two communities live in harmony throughout the island. The Greek Cypriots make up 80% of the population, the Turkish Cypriots 18%.
Omer is 10. He goes to Akamas.
The British have allowed the first civil liberties in following the positive response by Greek and Turkish Cypriots to the call to join the British army during World War II. The first political parties are formed and the first signs of a national awakening by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots are seen in the towns.
Omer is 20. He falls in love with Rhodou. He takes part in the Greek Cypriots' armed struggle against the British.
The British reject the principle of self-determination for . The Greek Cypriots set up a secret organisation (EOKA) and begin an armed struggle for union with Greece. The Turkish Cypriots propose partition of the island and ally themselves with the British against EOKA. Many Turkish Cypriots join an auxiliary police force created by the British to deal with EOKA. Greek and Turkish Cypriots soon find themselves in conflict, with the British acting as mediators. They get Turkey involved and threaten partition.
Omer wins the love of Rhodou. Two villages on the verge of conflict.
The compromise solution of independence is imposed on . Both union with Greece and partition are rejected. The Turkish Cypriots gain political rights analogous to 30% of the population, including the post of Vice-President and a veto. Great Britain, Greece and Turkey become guardians of ' independence as Guarantor Powers with a right to unilateral intervention should the status quo come under threat. The constitution of the new state contains many divisive elements: separate municipalities in mixed towns and villages, a ban on mixed marriages, etc.
Omer and Rhodou together again.
President Makarios proposes constitutional changes, claiming that the state cannot function. An insignificant episode in the centre of Nicosia among Greek and Turkish Cypriots escalates into communal conflict. It is clear that the nationalists on both sides were prepared for this conflict hoping to achieve their national aims: for the Greek Cypriots it means union with Greece, and for the Turkish Cypriots the partition of the island into two separate areas. This time, neither side succeeds but Turkish Cypriot enclaves are created across the island, controlled by Turkish Cypriot fighters and officers from the mainland Turkish army, and entry to these areas is banned to all Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot response is to isolate the enclaves. The Turkish Cypriots are forced into a life of deprivation and misery, one that has been imposed upon them without them having a say in the matter. If they wish to leave the ghetto-enclaves they require permission from the Turkish officer in charge. Once they leave they suffer the humiliation of a whole range of checks by the Greek Cypriot police.
A number of Greek Colonels stage a military coup in Greece, overthrowing the democratically elected government.
The Greek junta begins a campaign of undermining President Makarios with the aim of forcing him to accept a solution in according to NATO plans. The colonels fund an illegal organisation that commits murders and plants bombs in police stations (EOKA B) and they foment crisis in the Church in the hope of forcing Archbishop Makarios resign as President. All their efforts fail thanks to mass rallies held by the Greek Cypriots in support of President Makarios.
On July 15 the Greek junta carries out a coup d'etat in , led by Greek officers manning the National Guard. President Makarios is overthrown and he takes refuge abroad.
Five days later, on July 20, the Turkish army lands in . By August 15th it has completed the occupation of the northern part of the island (36% of ' territory). 180,000 Greek Cypriot residents of the occupied area become refugees in the south.
In Greece the junta collapses. Politicians take control and elections are held. The junta collapses in too. Makarios returns. The United Nations demands the removal of foreign troops and the return of the refugees to their homes. Despite this, the Turkish army remains on the island on the pretext that it is protecting the Turkish Cypriots.
Omer and Rhodou refuse to move to the north.
Through various threats, Turkey manages to have all the Turkish Cypriots moved to the northern occupied part of the island, thus separating the two communities completely. The transfer of the Turkish Cypriot population takes place in the context of humanitarian agreements so that the Greek Cypriot side may maintain its claim that it does not agree with this division. First there is an exchange of male prisoners of war. Greek Cypriots captured in the north are sent to the south while Turkish Cypriots taken prisoner in the south are sent to the north. A second agreement provides for families to be reunited. Thus, the Greek Cypriot side allows Turkish Cypriot women and children to move to the north to be with their husbands and fathers who have already been sent there. The Turkish Cypriots from the south of the island don't resist, although they hesitate to move. The difficulties caused to them by Greek Cypriot paramilitary groups and the promises from their leadership of dividing up the rich Greek Cypriot-owned land mean that they fatally accept their moving, although most of them think that this is something temporary. Very Turkish Cypriots few remain in the south.
The United Nations restate in their resolutions the demand that remain an independent state. The two communities agree on a framework for talks on a resolution of the problem based on a bi-zonal federation. Talks go on for years without agreement. Meanwhile, the island remains divided, with no contact between the two sides.
The Turkish Cypriot leadership declares the occupied north as an independent state (the 'Turkish Republic of Northern '). It is recognized only by Turkey and is isolated from the rest of the world. It adopts the Turkish lira as its currency and its survival depends entirely on financial aid from Turkey. Huge numbers of Turkish Cypriots, who had hoped for a better life, find themselves forced to emigrate. The TRNC brings in large numbers of settlers from eastern Turkey with the obvious aim of altering the demographic make-up of . Today it is estimated that there are more settlers than Turkish Cypriots in the north part of .
In view of the European Union's decision to accept as a full member state, there is considerable movement for a solution to the island's political problem. The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, submits a plan for a settlement based on a bizonal federation, which is a compromise between the positions of the two sides. However, at the last minute hopes of a settlement are dashed. The Turkish Cypriots hold mass rallies against their leadership in protest at its refusal to accept the Annan plan.
On April 16, the Republic of signs the European Union Accession Treaty. The northern part of the island is considered to be an occupied area that will become part of the Union in the future. This brings great pressure to bear on Turkey, which is, itself, an EU candidate country. A series of decisions against Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights in response to appeals by Greek Cypriots against being denied access to their homes and properties, intensifies the pressure even more.
On April 23, "TRNC" allows movement, with certain restrictions, across the dividing line. Extraordinary scenes are witnessed as thousands of people, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, come together in an atmosphere of elation and optimism that the people of the two communities can live together once again.
2004The General Secretary of UN Kofi Anan proposes a plan for the solution of the problem, which is placed in front of voters in separate referenda in the north and in the south parts of the island. Among the Greek Cypriots there is a 76% vote for “no” whilst 65% of Turkish Cypriots vote “yes”. On the first of May 2004 becomes a member of the European Union. The political problem remains unresolved.