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Monday, September 26, 2011

Understanding the situation in Cyprus

By Stelios Shengas

Cyprus is situated in between three continents and has fantastic high temperatures for most of the year. With stunning beaches all around the island and beautiful clear sea, it has become a popular tourist destination for people looking for a relaxing holiday. To add to the beaches and sun, Cyprus has some amazing scenery, mountain trails and historic buildings. There is a degree of uncertainty about the situation in Cyprus though as its history is filled with conflict.

Cyprus was ruled by Britain from 1878 until 1960 however at the start of this period there was still a large Turkish influence on the country. Britain set about putting in place its own government systems which caused a backlash from the Turkish population on the island. At the start of the world war Turkey became allies of Hungary and Britain decided because of this to break the agreement with Turkey and take full control of the Island.

Britain continued to run Cyprus until 1960 when they handed the country back over and Cyprus became independent. Although Britain no longer ruled the country they maintained a strong military presence for strategic purposes and they still do today. Upon Britain handing Cyprus its independence, Greece and Turkey began disputing who would be the main influence in the country.

Ever since 1960 there has been a conflict between Greece and Turkey about which of them Cyprus belongs to. In 1974 Cyprus declared a union with Greece which outraged Turkey and as such sent their armed forces in to try and occupy the island. This created a divide between Northern and Southern Cyprus, the North being claimed by Turkey and the South by Greece. In 2004 Greek Cyprus became a member of the EU however Turkish Cyprus maintained its independent status.

Despite the conflict filled history of Cyprus, it shouldn't be overlooked as a holiday destination. Today the debate goes on but it has become more political than between the two country's armed forces. The North and the South are both fantastic holiday locations and although they vary in culture slightly, they share the beautiful beaches and high temperatures.

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