Cyprus Brief History

Cyprus Brief History

Inhabited since the Neolithic age, Cyprus had relations with Egypt and Syria from about 2000 BC and with the Greek West from the 14th-13th century. Basically in the Syriac-Phoenician orbit, it was divided into several city-states whose rulers were vassals of Sargon II, king of Assyria and his successors (709-669). Conquered in the middle of the 6th century. from Amasi king of Egypt, when Cambyses defeated Psammetich III, it passed with Egypt under the king of Persia, while retaining its kings. Meanwhile, the Greek colonial penetration had begun, which took decisive steps in the 4th century. with Evagora, who, having become lord of Salamis, welcomed the Athenian’s fleet there Conone and participated in the battle of Cnidus (394) against the Spartans. With Alexander the Great, Cyprus entered the Hellenistic world. Disputed between Antigonus, Demetrius and Ptolemy Soter, it remained in Egypt in 295 until, in 58 BC, it was annexed to Rome, first as part of the province of Cilicia and then as a province in itself.

Eparchy of the Eastern diocese in the Byzantine Empire, was partly occupied by the Arabs in 649, and became their possession under the caliph Hārūn ar-Rashīd (785-809). Taken back and repurposed several times by the Byzantines, it remained under the government of Constantinople until 1184, when Isaac Comnenus took possession of it. Defeated by Richard the Lionheart (1191), Cyprus was ceded to the Templars and then to Guido di Lusignano, king of Jerusalem. Amalric II (1194-1205) ordered it to state, obtaining the king’s crown from Henry VI (1195), ruled first by the Lusignano and then by the Antiochia-Lusignano, until in 1489 Caterina Cornaro, widow of Giacomo II of Antiochia-Lusignano, he abdicated in favor of Venice. The Venetian rule lasted until 1571, when the island fell into the hands of the Turks, who remained there until 1878 when, as a reward for the English support for Turkey in the Berlin congress, Cyprus was leased for 99 years to the Grand Brittany; the rent was converted into annexation at the outbreak of the First World War.

The movement for annexation to Greece (ènosis), which developed among the Greek Cypriots starting from the 1930s, intensified after the Second World War, entering into conflict on the one hand with the British and on the other with the Turkish minority. Cypriot and Turkey. The nationalist agitation found its guide in the head of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios. After repeated negotiations between the governments of Great Britain, Greece and Turkey and the representatives of the two Cypriot communities, a compromise was finally reached in 1959, which provided for the independence of Cyprus and a series of guarantees for the Turkish minority. Independence was proclaimed on August 16, 1960 and the Constitution entered into force, which ensured the representation of both communities in the main political bodies. Makarios and the Turkish Cypriot leader F. Kutçuk became president and vice-president; in 1960 Cyprus became part of the UN and in 1961 of the Commonwealth. However, the 1959-60 compromise proved difficult to apply and in 1963 the Turkish Cypriots withdrew from the government and other bodies, giving birth in 1967 to their own autonomous administration. Despite being sent to Cyprus, since March 1964, of a UN peacekeeping force (UNFICYP), the tension and clashes continued. The advent of the military dictatorship in Greece (1967) further aggravated the situation. In 1974 a military coup backed by Athens overthrew Makarios and attempted to install a government that would proceed to annexation to Greece. Turkey reacted by occupying the northern part of the island, where in 1975 a Turkish federated state of Cyprus was unilaterally proclaimed with its own Constitution, a President of the Republic, R. Denktaș, and a Legislative Assembly. Makàrios, who in 1974 had resumed the presidency of the Republic, died in 1977 and was succeeded by S. Kyprianoù. Attempts to resolve the split of the island with the establishment of a federation clashed with the intransigence of Denktas, who in 1983 proclaimed the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey. For Cyprus 2009, please check

The mediation attempt conducted by the UN starting from 1985, on the basis of a bifederal state project that provided for a large autonomy for the Turkish Cypriots, stalled on several occasions due to the persistence of profound conflicts between the two communities and the Turkey’s refusal to withdraw its troops. In 2004, the unification project promoted by the UN, which envisaged the constitution of a federal state with the presidency held by the two communities in rotation, was rejected by referendum by the Greek Cypriot population. The same year, only the Greek Cypriot part, corresponding to the Republic of Cyprus, became part of the European Union (since 2008 it has also entered the euro area).

After the election of MA Talat to the presidency of Cyprus del Nord (2005), which was replaced in April 2010 by D. Eroğlu, and of D. Christòfias, leader of the AKEL Progressive Workers’ Party (Anorthotikò Kòmma Ergazòmenou Laoù), in that of the Republic of Cyprus (2008), talks for reunification have been restarted, but the executive has not yet managed to obtain any concrete results.

The parliamentary elections of May 2011 registered a victory for the Democratic Grouping (DISY), which beat the governing coalition formed by the Progressive Workers’ Party AKEL and the Democratic Party (DIKO) with 34.27%; this result was confirmed in the presidential consultations held in February 2013 by the affirmation of its leader N. Anastasiades, who in the first round received 45.5% of the preferences against the challenger of the Progressive Workers’ Party S. Malas, achieving the victory to the ballot with 57.47% of the votes.

In the following March, to cope with the serious crisis in the financial system that hit the island, the European troika decided to allocate an aid package of 10 billion euros, against the 17 requested in 2012 by the country, to access which a taxation of bank deposits of € 5.8 billion was envisaged; However, the forced withdrawal was rejected by the Cypriot Parliament with 36 votes against out of 56. In the following days, after long negotiations and given the situation of strong social tension in the country, an agreement was reached between the Eurogroup and the Cypriot authorities: ‘agreement has made it possible to release European loans through a form of taxation to be applied exclusively to bank deposits exceeding one hundred thousand euros,

The parliamentary elections held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in July 2013 saw the affirmation of the Turkish Republican-United Force Party (CTP-BG, center-left) with 38% of the votes, followed by the Party of National Unity (Ubp, right) and by the coalition of the Democratic Party-Nationalist Powers (Dp-Ug, liberal center-right); these results were substantially reconfirmed in the consultations held in May 2016, which recorded the victory of the DISY of President Anastasiades with 30.6% of the votes against the 25.6% of the AKEL communists, while for the first time in history Elam’s nationalists entered Parliament on the island, winning two seats with two deputies and 3.6% of the votes.

In the presidential consultations held in January 2018, the outgoing president Anastasiades received 35.5% of the votes against 30.2% of the AKEL candidate S. Malas, who he defeated in the ballot held the following month, obtaining 56% of the votes and reconfirming himself as president of the country, while the European elections held in May 2019 recorded the success of the DISY party with 29% of the votes, followed by AKEL (27.4%) and the democrats of DIKO (13.8%). The DISY party also won the general elections held in May 2021 obtaining 27% of the votes, followed by AKEL (22%) of the votes, while the ultra-nationalist party Elam doubled its parliamentary representation, winning 6.78% of the votes..

In the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the first round of the presidential consultations held in October 2020 awarded the victory to the candidate supported by Ankara, the nationalist and premier since May 2019 E. Tatar (30% of the votes) over the incumbent president from April 2015 M. Akıncı (27%), who took over the office following the ballot held in the same month, obtaining 51.7% of the votes.

Cyprus Brief History

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