Cyprus, officially called the Republic of Cyprus, is an island nation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is the third largest and most populous island in the Mediterranean, and lies south of Turkey; west of Syria; northwest of Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza Strip; north of Egypt; and southeast of Greece. In December 1974, Makarios III returned to power, but Turkey continued to occupy the northern part of the country until 1983, when the Turkish Cypriot leader of the occupied region declared independence and the formation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The most lavish and lively celebrations of Cyprus Independence Day are held in the state capital, Nicosia.
Under the agreement, Britain maintained two sovereign military bases in Cyprus, which it continues to maintain to this day. On Cyprus Independence Day, festivals and parades are held throughout the country, including the display of tanks and advanced weaponry. The London and Zurich Agreements developed a constitution for an independent Cyprus following the 19 February 1959 agreement between the UK, Turkey and Greece. Finally, after four long years of bloody guerrilla warfare, Sir Hugh Foot, the British governor, read out a British proclamation declaring the independence of Cyprus.
The agreement between Greece, Britain, Turkey and Cyprus was signed in Zurich and finally came into force on 1 October 1960, which is celebrated as Cyprus Independence Day. A special Cyprus Independence Day event is also held at the President's Palace, paying tribute to the former leaders and the people who fought for independence from Britain. Turkey's Turkish Petroleum Corporation begins drilling for oil and gas in northern Cyprus, despite protests from the Cypriot government that the action is illegal. Another government comes to power and restores the 1960 constitution; however, on 14 August another wave of Turkish invasion arrives and in a short time they seize almost 36 percent of Cyprus.
From the beginning, Cyprus' independence was a thorny issue because of its ethnic composition, which includes Turks and Greeks. For members of the Turkish Cypriot minority in Cyprus, who considered Turkey their homeland, enosis would have meant becoming a much smaller minority within the Greek nation. On 20 July of the same year, Turkey invaded Cyprus with the aim of restoring the 1960 constitutional order. The current president of Cyprus lays a wreath at the statue of Archbishop Makarios III, the first president of the Republic of Cyprus.
In the early 1950s, some courageous Cypriots decided to fight for their country's independence from Britain. In 1964, Turkey threatened to invade Cyprus but was persuaded by the US not to do so, but Greece put 10,000 troops on standby in case of a Turkish invasion.