The conflict in Cyprus dates back to 1914 when the Ottoman empire joined WW1 on the side of the central powers. This led to a British annexation of the island. The British offered the island to Greece if it joined the war on their side, but Greece declined. However many Greeks moved to the island. This led to many Greeks demanding enosis, or unity with Greece. After WW2, the British rejected enosis and began to suggest a self ruled Cyprus. The large influx of Turks into Cyprus led to Cypriot Greeks to form the National Organization of Cypriot Struggle or EOKA led by a former Greek Cypriot commander George Grivas. This group targeted British colonial authorities. This led to the British conscripting Turks into the police force to fight the EOKA. The EOKA was successful in their efforts as in 1960 the republic of Cyprus was proclaimed.
The tensions were high between the Turks and Greeks when in 1963 when a group of Greek police stopped a Turkish couple and they were killed. This led to an armed conflict. The Turkish Cypriots attacked the Greeks and they retaliated by taking 700 Turkish hostages. The Turkish army invaded to protect its citizens. This led to the Cyprus government calling George Grivas, leader of the EOKA, to lead the Greek forces against the Turks. The Greeks outnumbered the Turks and were on the verge of victory, but the UN went in and stopped the conflict, dividing the island into northern Turkish Cyprus and southern Greek Cyprus.
Turkey has fought for the control of Cyprus from Greece. The northern part of cyprus is mostly inhabited by Turkish Cypriots, and in 1974, Turkey invaded the north to protect the Turkish Cypriots from discrimination by the Greece population. After Turkey gained about 40% of Cyprus, a ceasefire was ordered, and Greeks on the north side and Turkish Cypriots in the south exchanged, so both sides were heavily populated by only one ethnicity, or two major ethnic enclaves. Both sides have confirmed accounts of abuse of human rights, which could be one of the reasons why Turkey invaded to “protect” the Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots raped, shot, and imprisoned about 2,000 Turkish Cypriots.
The debate over who controls Cyprus has been going on for nearly a Century. The Turks believe Cyprus is theirs and the Greeks believe it is theirs. To figure out we should look at the history of Cyprus. Cyprus has been a historically Greek island for thousands of years. The Greeks have populated Cyprus since around 9000 BC. The Greeks have retained ownership of the island through several invasions by foreign powers. Turkey’s claim to Cyprus is that way back when the conflict started there was a minority of Turks in the island. In 1974 Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus.They didn’t even invade the the parts of Cyprus that the Turkish minority owned. Turkish soldiers have done many thing while they have been on the island of Cyprus. Turkey has violated the rights of Cypriots several times. A good example of these acts can be seen up in what happened in the August of 1996. In the August of 1996 Cypriot refugees marched against what many believed was the unlawful occupation of Cyprus. One of those people who was marching was Tassos Isaac. Tassos Isaac who was beaten to death in front of television cameras by the Turkish paramilitary group “Grey Wolves.” Another man was shot and killed by Turkish military forces. Two British military officers were also shot. Even in modern times most of the original Turkish Cypriots have mostly left Cyprus. This leaves Cyprus in a peculiar state where the upper third of it is being illegally occupied by the Turkish military, but the rest of the world sees it differently they see a status quo were the island of Cyprus is split in two. This was even highlighted in the the recent 2015 negotiations over Cyprus. Whatever the international community decides to do is up to them but the fact still remains that a large part of the island is made up of Greeks.