Modern Era (1974 - Present)

Cyprus dispute In 2004, the UN-backed Annan Plan for Cyprus sought to reunify the island before EU accession. Turkish Cypriots accepted the plan whilst Greek Cypriots rejected it, with the result that the island entered the EU as a divided country. EU countries recognize the official government and still officially treat the North as a militarily occupied area; although this has affected discussions with Turkey over accession, it has not prevented them. EU ministers have repeatedly stressed their intention to open direct trade links with the occupied area. The EU Acquis communautaire (European Union law) applies only to those areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus.

Since the invasion, the economy of Cyprus has grown greatly and citizens of the Republic in particular enjoy a high standard of living. The north maintains a lower standard of living due to international embargoes, and is still reliant on Turkey for aid, though increased revenues through tourism and a recent construction boom have led to rapid economic development in recent years. The Turkish Cypriot administration has allowed the legally questionable sale of real estate, consisting almost entirely of property and land still owned by Greek Cypriots from before the 1974 Turkish invasion, to private buyers from overseas. In 2005, the UK's Guardian newspaper reported that up to 10,000 Europeans had invested in property in the north of Cyprus, a trend that still causes concern in the south. This concern was highlighted by the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper in 2006 when Cherie Blair, the wife of Britain's then prime minister, touched a diplomatic nerve; Mrs Blair, in her capacity as an advocate at law, represented a UK couple, the Orams, who had been taken to court by Greek Cypriots who claimed ownership of the land on which the Orams had built a house. Tassos Papadopoulos, president of the Republic of Cyprus since 2003, referred to Mrs. Blair's decision to represent the Orams as "a provocative action".

On 5 December 2006, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended a further six-month extension in the mandate of the UN mission that has been deployed on the island for over four decades. Mr. Annan said that while the situation remained “calm and stable with no major violations of the ceasefire lines,” he regretted the continued stalemate in the political process and the “missed opportunities” over the past 10 years. In July of 2006, the island served as a safe haven for people, most of them foreigners, fleeing Lebanon due to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. 2007 is shaping up as another significant year for the Cypriot peoples, as the topic of reunification gathers pace once again, after the failed Annan Plan. A July 8, 2006 agreement between the two communities shows promise as it focuses on resolving smaller issues in the hope of this leading to further, more significant issues. Turkish and Turkish Cypriot threats regarding the Government-controlled areas' exploration for Oil seems to be increasing tension, and stalled, Turkish - EU, accession negotiations have added to this. Cyprus' recent defense agreement with France has strengthened support for the Greek-Cypriot side.

 

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