is cyprus divided in two?

Cyprus is de facto divided into two-thirds of the southern part of the island controlled by the Greek Cypriots and one-third by the Turkish Republic of the North. The Republic of Cyprus is the internationally recognised government of the Republic of Cyprus, which controls the southern two-thirds of the island. It was also a member of EOKA, or the National Organisation of Cypriot Struggle, a terrorist group that in the 1950s fought for the elimination of the British presence in Cyprus, as well as for enosis union with Greece. The deep socio-economic crisis unleashed by Covid-19 has deepened the wounds that divide Cypriot society.

In addition to its beautiful nature and intriguing history, Cyprus has many places of interest for the curious visitor. Cyprus has successfully diversified its largely agricultural economy into one based on services - including an extensive tourism sector - and light manufacturing. In one of these buildings, I enter through heavy wooden doors and find an idyllic courtyard with an original well, the traditional giant urns of Cyprus and a flowering tree. Although the present building was built when the Ottomans ruled Cyprus, Hala Sultan Tekke has its roots in the 7th century.

Cyprus has been through numerous wars and foreign occupations, and one of the legacies of this history is the division between the Greek and Turkish parts of the island. At the time, Greece supported a military coup in Cyprus that sought a pro-Greek government on the island. After a 45-minute bus ride from Nicosia to Larnaca, I find a coastline lined with hotels and flats, in stark contrast to much of northern Cyprus. In 1974, following a Greek-inspired military coup, Turkey invaded the geopolitically valuable island, beginning an occupation of the northern third of Cyprus that continues to this day.

More recently, the Greek government of the Republic of Cyprus has taken unilateral decisions on hydrocarbon initiatives, creating significant tension with Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. As an island nation, Cyprus has been controlled by foreigners for just under eight centuries, starting with the 12th century ruler, King I of England, and continuing with a string of other rulers including the Templars, French nobles, Venetians and Ottomans. Turkey strongly opposes the EastMed pipeline, which will carry the natural resources of Cyprus and Israel to mainland Europe. By 1974, when the island was forcibly divided into two ethnically based territories, this coexistence had collapsed, and today Cyprus is in fact one of the world's oldest conflicts.

In 1983, Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Ankara recognises. Turkey has sought to promote its brand of Islamism in Northern Cyprus, building mosques and funding local political allies.

Latisha Busler
Latisha Busler

Lifelong beer ninja. Subtly charming twitter nerd. Subtly charming tv junkie. Incurable web ninja. Evil coffee junkie.