is the third largest island in the Mediterranean with an area
of 9.251 square kilometers. It lies in the north-eastern
corner of the East Mediterranean basin, at the meeting
point of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa. Cyprus'
population at the end of 1992 was 718.000. Population distribution
by ethnic group is 81,7% Greek Cypriots including Maronites,
Armenians, Latins and others and 18,3% Turkish Cypriots.
early times Cyprus has had an eventful history, mostly the
result of its geographical position. It appeared for the first
time in the history of civilisation in the 7th millennium
B.C. during the Neolithic period. This period, which lasted
three millennia, was followed by the Chalcolithic period.
Bronze Age followed which lasted until 1100 B.C. During
the last phase of this period, in the 13th century B.C., the
Mycenean Greeks came for this first time to Cyprus as merchants
and immigrants. They settled and they introduced the Greek
language and culture both of which have been preserved to
the end of the 4th century B.C. Cyprus became part of the
Kingdom of Alexander the Great. During the first century
B.C. it became a province of the Great Roman Empire and remained
as such until the 4th century A.D. when it was included in
the eastern part of the Roman Empire.
marks the beginning of the Byzantine period, which lasted
until the 12th century A.D. when, during the Crusades,
King Richard Coeur de Lion, conquered the island. Very soon,
however, Cyprus came under the rule of the Lusignan family.
In 1489 Cyprus became part of the Republic of Venice and in
1571 it was conquered by the Ottomans.
1878 Cyprus was handed over to the British. At the outbreak
of the First World War, Cyprus was annexed to the British
Empire, and in 1925 it was formally declared a British Crown
1955, after a long but unsuccessful struggle to attain their
freedom by peaceful means, the people of Cyprus took up arms
against the colonial power.
became an independet republic in 1960, following an agreement
between Britain, Greece and Turkey. The Republic of Cyprus
was consisted by two communities ( Greek and Turkish). The
three countries that signed the agreement took upon them the
responcibility to protect the indepentence and security of
as a pretext the coup of 15 July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus
allegedly as a "guarantor" of the island's independence.
On 20 July 1974, 40.000 Turkish troops landed on the island
assisted by Turkish air and naval forces, in violation of
the U.N. Charter. On 14 August, Turkey launched a second invasion
in violation of the Security Council resolutions calling for
a cease-fire and troop withdrawal.
a result, approximately 40% of the total territory of the
Republic of Cyprus, which in economic terms is much more significant
than its size (accounting for 70% of the economic potential),
came under Turkish military occupation and about 40% of the
total Greek Cypriot population was displaced. Moreover,
thousands of people, including civilians, were killed or ill-treated
and many more disappeared and are still missing. Turkey also
pursued a deliberate policy aimed at turkifying the occupied
areas and at destroying the cultural heritage of Cyprus