Cyprus is an island country in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean
Sea. It lies about 64 kilometers south of Turkey and 100 kilometers west of
Syria. Geographically, Cyprus is part of Asia. But its people live much like
southern Europeans and have a relatively high standard of living. Cyprus is
a scenic country noted for its hilltop castles, old churches, beaches, and
A Short Background
Independence from the UK was approved in 1960 with constitutional
guarantees by the Greek Cypriot majority to the Turkish Cypriot minority. In
1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military
intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled almost 40% of the island.
In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus", but it is recognized only by Turkey. UN-led talks on the
status of Cyprus resumed in December 1999 to prepare the ground for
meaningful negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement.