why did the turks invade cyprus?

The aim of the coup was the union (enosis) of Cyprus with Greece, and the declaration of the Hellenic Republic of Cyprus. In July 1974, Turkish forces invaded and captured the island before a ceasefire was declared. The Greek military junta fell and was replaced by a democratic government. The island was divided, with the northern third led by a Turkish Cypriot government and the southern two-thirds by the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot-led government.

Turkish Cypriots control 36 per cent of the island's land area and, according to most estimates, that proportion will be reduced to between 26 and 29 per cent without a lasting peace settlement. Mayor of the Turkish Cypriot municipality of North Nicosia from 1976 to 1990, Akinci pioneered cooperation with his southern counterpart on practical sanitation and heritage projects. The Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus led to the economic collapse of the northern part of Cyprus, with the army taking over a third of the country. On Monday, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci began five days of UN-mediated talks at Mont Pèlerin, a Swiss resort.

In 2003, the Turkish Cypriot authorities relaxed travel restrictions and within two weeks 200,000 people had crossed the Green Line. For most Greek Cypriots, a new federation means two closely linked federal units, neither defined primarily in ethnic terms; for many Turkish Cypriots, maintaining control over a strongly autonomous region is crucial. But in April 2004, a week before the country formally joined the European Union, Greek Cypriots rejected the deal in a referendum, while Turkish Cypriot voters approved it. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island supported by the Greek government.

Many Greek Cypriots supported the political union of all Greeks living under Turkish rule within a sovereign Greek nation, while many Turkish Cypriots favoured a partition of the island between Greece and Turkey. On that day, Turkey launched its "Second Peace Operation", which ended the Turkish occupation of Cyprus in 1937.The modern history of Cyprus, birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, has been dominated by tension between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants. The pretext for the Turkish invasion was the protection of the Turkish Cypriots, who constituted about 18 percent of the island's population, an argument as weak then as it is now. Disagreements affect key issues such as the return of displaced Cypriots and the management of their property, the repatriation of Turkish settlers, the demilitarisation of the island and the future role of Greece, Turkey and Britain.

The pressure on the Turkish Cypriots, who might soon be outnumbered by the settlers who arrived after the 1974 invasions, and their descendants. But only Cyprus felt the horror of the invading Turkish troops and the chaos they unleashed on the unsuspecting population, mostly women, children and the elderly.

Latisha Busler
Latisha Busler

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