|Map of Cyprus divided
For many years, the island of Cyprus had been a British Crown Colony. The population was three quarters Greek and one quarter Turkish. In the early 1950s, the Greek majority population campaigned for Cyprus to be united with nearby Greece. This proposed union was unacceptable to the Turkish minority population and to mainland Turkey, which lay even closer to the island than Greece. The situation was further complicated by Britain’s need for a new military base in the eastern Mediterranean after its eviction from its former base in the Egyptian Canal Zone.
Britain wanted to use Cyprus as its new military base. The killing of innocent young British conscripts by the Greek majority population was never likely to achieve its aim of the political union of the island with Greece, or “Enosis” as the campaign was called. Finally, a deal was done in 1960, when the independent republic of Cyprus was formed with a Greek President and Turkish Vice President. The two populations of the island lived apart from each other, governed at local level by their own people. The British withdrew to sovereign bases on the island, which they would own in perpetuity. The killing stopped and, for a time, this beautiful blood-stained island was able to relax in the sun. There was still tension between Greeks and Turks, but the British were no longer targets. That was still the situation a few years later in 1968, when I traveled to Cyprus to investigate my property deal.
|Kyrenia Harbor at Night
|Castle overlooking Kyrenia harbor
|Bellapais Abbey (C) www.martin-liebermann.de
|UN Convoy in Cyprus 1964
This piece, written by Bob, was originally published on our website on August 3, 2009.