A BRIEF HISTORY OF CYPRUS (A CONDENSED WIKIPEDIA VERSION)
The island nation in the Mediterranean Sea has, alternately for centuries at a time, starting in 395, been under the control of Byzantines, Arabs, British, Venice, and the Ottomans, the last of which yielded the administration of the island, but not sovereignty, to the British after the decade-long Russo-Turkish War in 1878.
The rule of the Ottomans is particularly important because their rule brought ethnic and cultural change to the population of Cyprus, which was of Greek origin. This would have implications for the Republic of Cyprus well into the 20th Century.
Under British rule, many Greek Cypriots fought for the British army in both world wars under the wrongful impression that the British would allow the country to reunite with Greece. When that didn’t happen, in 1950, a referendum seeking union with Greece—known as enosis—was spearheaded by the Greek Orthodox Church (obviously poo-pooed by Turkish Cypriots). The measure still passed with 90 percent of the vote; the British proposed limited autonomy, which apparently the people in turn poo-pooed.
The EOKA (National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters, in English) was formed in 1955 to struggle for independence and union with Greece; the TKA (Turkish Resistance Organization, in English) was subsequently formed so they could get their battle on. The TKA advocated a partition in the northern part of Cyprus.
Independence wasn’t granted until 1960 when Archbishop Makarios III (a Greek Cypriot) and Dr. Fazıl Küçük (a Turkish Cypriot) struck up a deal in the Zürich and London Agreement with the UK, Greece, and Turkey. But by the time 1974 rolled around, the Greek military government that was in power in Athens was displeased with the progress on enosis and organized a coup d’etat that instated Nikos Sampson.
Today, a UN buffer zone remains in place between the northern third of Cyprus (which Turkish Cypriots call the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, although the only country in the world to recognize it is—you guessed it—Turkey). The government is headed by a Greek Cypriot president, a Turkish Cypriot vice president, and a 80-person legislature.
The 25 seats constitutionally-reserved for Turkish Cypriots (one for vice-president and 24 legislative seats) remain vacant in what is apparently became one of only three countries in the world to have a democratically-elected communist government with the election of Dimitris Christofias of the Progressive Party of Working People in 2008. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus maintains its own government, though, again, it is recognized internationally only by Turkey.
According to the CIA, the United Nations was spurred in 2008 by Christofias's election to encourage Greek and Turkish Cypriot governments to restart efforts at unification.
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots removing barricades in Cyprus (YouTube)
Photographic slideshow of northern Cyprus (YouTube)
HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGIZED CYPRIOTS AND/OR OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION I COULD FIND:
Cypriot poetry treasure trove
Being a Poet in Cyprus: The Deprived Land by Mustafa Gokceoglu
I'll have some more stuff for y'allz later on today.