Cyprus profile - Timeline

  • 20 January 2016
  • From the section Europe

A chronology of key events:

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Image caption Cyprus became independent after a guerrilla war against British rule. Archbishop Makarios was the first president

1914 - Cyprus annexed by Britain, after more than 300 years of Ottoman rule. Britain had occupied the island in 1878, although it remained nominally under Ottoman sovereignty.

1925 - Becomes crown colony.

1955 - Greek Cypriots begin guerrilla war against British rule. The guerrilla movement, the National Organisation of Cypriot Combatants (EOKA), wants enosis (unification) with Greece. British authorities arm a paramilitary police force made up of Turkish Cypriots.

1956 - Archbishop Makarios, head of enosis campaign, deported to the Seychelles.

1959 - Archbishop Makarios returns and is elected president.


1960 - Cyprus gains independence after Greek and Turkish communities reach agreement on a constitution. Treaty of Guarantee gives Britain, Greece and Turkey the right to intervene. Britain retains sovereignty over two military bases.

1963 - Makarios raises Turkish fears by proposing constitutional changes which would abrogate power-sharing arrangements. Inter-communal violence erupts. Turkish side withdraws from power-sharing.

1964 - United Nations peacekeeping force set up. Turkish Cypriots withdraw into defended enclaves.

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Image caption Cypriots flee fighting between the island's Greek and Turkish communities in 1974. Cyprus has been divided ever since

1974 - Military junta in Greece backs coup against Makarios, who escapes. Within days Turkish troops land in north. Greek Cypriots flee their homes.

Coup collapses. Turkish forces occupy third of the island, enforce partition between north and south roughly along the "Green Line" ceasefire line drawn up by UN forces in 1963. About 165,000 Greek Cypriots flee or are driven from the Turkish-occupied north, and about 45,000 Turkish Cypriots leave the south for the north.

The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyrpus. Turkey refuses to do so, despite repeated UN Security Council resolutions making the same demand over the following decades.

Glafcos Clerides, president of the House of Representatives, becomes president until Makarios returns in December.

1975 - Turkish Cypriots establish independent administration, with Rauf Denktash as president. Denktash and Clerides agree population exchange.

1977 - Makarios dies. Succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou.

1980 - UN-sponsored peace talks resume.

1983 - Denktash suspends talks and proclaims Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). It is recognised only by Turkey.

Image caption Archbishop Makarios led 1950s struggle for union with Greece

1985 - No agreement at talks between Denktash and Kyprianou.

1988 - Georgios Vassiliou elected Greek Cypriot president.

1989 - Vassiliou-Denktash talks abandoned.

1992 - Talks resume and collapse again.

1993 - Glafcos Clerides replaces Vassiliou as president.

1994 - European Court of Justice rules that a list of goods, including fruit and vegetables, are not eligible for preferential treatment when exported by the Turkish Cypriot community directly to the EU.

1996 - Increased tension, violence along buffer zone in which two Greek Cypriot men were killed.

1997 - Failure of UN-mediated peace talks between Clerides and Denktash.

1998 - Clerides re-elected to a second term by narrow margin.

EU lists Cyprus as potential member.

Clerides' government threatens to install Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles. Turkey threatens military action. Clerides decides not to deploy the missiles.

2001 June - UN Security Council renews its 36-year mission. Some 2,400 peacekeepers patrol the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

2001 July - Dozens of police officers are injured as protesters attack a British military base at Akrotiri over plans to build telecommunications masts alleged to pose a health hazard.

2001 November - Turkey threatens to annex the north if the Republic of Cyprus joins the EU. It says the move, coming before any reunification settlement, would violate the 1960 treaty.

2002 January - Clerides and Denktash begin UN-sponsored negotiations. Minds are concentrated by EU membership aspirations.

2002 November - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presents a comprehensive peace plan for Cyprus which envisages a federation with two constituent parts, presided over by a rotating presidency.

2002 December - EU summit in Copenhagen invites Cyprus to join in 2004 provided the two communities agree to UN plan by early spring 2003. Without reunification, only the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot part of the island will gain membership.

2003 February - Tassos Papadopoulos defeats Clerides in presidential elections.

2003 March - UN deadline for agreement on reunification plan passes. Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledges that the plan has failed.

2003 April - Turkish and Greek Cypriots cross island's dividing "green line" for first time in 30 years after Turkish Cypriot authorities ease border restrictions.

2004 April - Twin referendums on whether to accept UN reunification plan in last-minute bid to achieve united EU entry. Plan is endorsed by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots.

EU accession

2004 May - Cyprus is one of 10 new states to join the EU, but does so as a divided island.

2004 December - Turkey agrees to extend its EU customs union agreement to 10 new member states, including Cyprus. The Turkish prime minister says this does not amount to a formal recognition of Cyprus.

2005 April - Mehmet Ali Talat elected Turkish Cypriot president.

2005 May - Greek Cypriot and UN officials begin exploratory talks on prospects for new diplomatic peace effort.

2005 August - Cypriot airliner crashes near Athens, Greece, killing all 121 passengers and crew. It is the island's worst peacetime disaster.

2006 May - Greek Cypriots back ruling coalition in parliamentary elections, endorsing its opposition to reunification efforts.

2006 July - UN-sponsored talks between President Papadopolous and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agree a series of confidence-building measures and contacts between the two communities.

2006 November - EU-Turkey talks on Cyprus break down over Turkey's continued refusal to open its ports to traffic from the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey says the EU should end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community before Turkey opens its ports.

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Image caption The historic harbour town of Kyrenia in Turkish-controlled Cyprus

2007 January-March - Greek and Turkish Cypriots demolish barriers dividing the old city of Nicosia. The moves are seen as paving the way for another official crossing point on what used to be a key commercial thoroughfare.

2008 January - Cyprus adopts the euro.

New talks

2008 February - Left-wing leader Demetris Christofias wins presidential elections. Promises to work towards reunification.

2008 March - President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agree to start formal talks on reunification.

2008 April - Symbolic Ledra Street crossing between the Turkish and Greek sectors of Nicosia reopened for first time since 1964.

2008 September - Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders launch intensive negotiations aimed at ending the division of the island.

2009 April - Right-wing nationalist National Unity Party wins parliamentary elections in northern Cyprus, hampering peace talks. Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat remains in office, but in a weakened position. Reunification talks continue through 2009, with little progress.

2010 January - President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat resume talks on reunification in downbeat mood, no progress made.

2010 April - Dervis Eroglu, who favours independence, wins the Turkish north's leadership contest, beating pro-unity incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat.

2010 May - Re-unification talks resume with a new hardliner representing the Turkish north.

2011 May - Parliamentary polls. The the main rightwing opposition party DISY wins by a narrow margin.

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Image caption Turkish troops parade during celebrations of the 24th anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)

2011 July - Navy chief Andreas Ioannides and 12 others die when people when impounded Iranian containers of explosives blow up at the main naval base and the country's main power plant. The defence minister, military chief and foreign minister resign over the incident, which officials say occurred after a bush fire ignited the explosives.

Credit rating agency Moody's cuts Cyprus's rating by two notches from A2 to BAA1, increasing risk of Cyprus requiring an EU bailout. Power shortages caused by the naval base blast knocking out the country's main power station, plus significant Greek debt, make financial reform difficult. Fitch cut Cyprus's rating to A- from AA- in May over Greek debt fears.

2011 August - President Christofias appoints a new cabinet with economist Kikis Kazamias from his AKEL party as finance minister. The previous cabinet resigned after the power shortages prompted the departure from the coalition government of the centre-right party DIKO.

2011 September - Cyprus begins exploratory drilling for oil and gas, prompting a diplomatic row with Turkey, which responds by sending an oil vessel to waters off northern Cyprus.

2011 October - President Christofias rejects the findings of an official report accusing him of "personal responsibility" for the July naval base blast on the grounds that he had been allegedly aware of the risk.

2012 April - The UN cancels plans for a Cyprus conference, citing lack of progress on any of the substantial differences between the two sides.

Turkey's Turkish Petroleum Corporation begins drilling for oil and gas onshore in northern Cyprus despite protests from the Cypriot government that the action is illegal.

Financial crisis

2012 June - Cyprus appeals to European Union for financial assistance to shore up its banks, which are heavily exposed to the stumbling Greek economy.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The country's second largest bank, Laiki Bank, collapsed during the financial crisis

2012 November - Cyprus says it has reached an "in-principle agreement" with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF on the terms of a bailout deal. The actual size of the bailout is to be determined following an investigation into the country's ailing banks.

2013 February - Democratic Rally conservative candidate Nicos Anastasiades beats AKEL Communist party candidate Stavros Malas by a large margin in the presidential election run-off and succeeds Demetris Christofias as president.

2013 March - President Anastasiades secures 10bn-euro bank bailout from the European Union and IMF. Laiki Bank, the country's second-biggest, is wound down and deposit-holders with more than 100,000 euros will face big losses.

2013 April - Finance Minister Michael Sarris resigns, citing an official investigation into the mishandling of the bailout. Until 2012 he was head of the collapsed Laiki Bank.

2013 May - Cyprus receives 2bn euros - the first instalment of a 10bn-euro bailout package - from international creditors.

The European Court of Human Rights orders Turkey to pay 90m euros in damages to Greek Cypriots for the 1974 invasion. Turkey calls the ruling unfair and says it will not pay.

2014 October - Cyprus suspends peace talks with Turkish-held Cypriots in protest against what it calls efforts by Turkey to prevent it from exploring gas fields south of the island. The EU and US express concern over the tension.

2015 February - At talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, President Anastasiades agrees to let Russian navy have access to Cypriot ports.Reunification talks resume2015 May - Government and Turkish Cypriot negotiators resume talks on reunification, holding 20 rounds of UN-sponsored in the course of the year.

2016 January - President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci make unprecedented joint New Year television address ahead of more panned meetings on reunification.