Cyprus has played a major part in the history of the Eastern Mediterranean. The island's prehistory runs as far back as the beginning of the 6th millennium BC. Early in the 2nd millennium BC the Achaean-Greeks established city-kingdoms on the Mycenaean model and introduced the Greek language, the Greek religion and the Greek way of life.
The character of the island has always remained unchanged, in spite of the many conquerors it has known-Persians, Romans, Venetians etc.
In 1571 the island was conquered by the Ottomans. The Turkish occupation lasted until 1878, when the Turks ceded Cyprus to Britain.
The 1960 Constitution of the Cyprus Republic proved unworkable in many of its provisions and this made impossible its smooth implementation. When in 1963 the President of the Republic proposed some amendments to facilitate the functioning of the state, the Turkish community replied with rebellion (DEC 1963), the Turkish Ministers withdrew from the Cabinet and the Turkish public servants ceased attending their offices. Ever since then, the aim of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, acting on instructions from the Turkish Government, has been the partitioning of Cyprus and annexation by Turkey. In July-August 1974 a coup was staged in Cyprus by the Greek military junta, then in power, for the overthrow of President Makarios and Turkey used this pretext to launch an invasion with a fully fledged army against defenseless Cyprus. The invasion was carried out in two stages in which the Turkish troops eventually occupied 40% of the island's territory, and has been shamelessly called by the Turks themselves Attila operation.
Ankara tried to justify the invasion as a peace operation aimed at establishing the constitutional order disturbed by the coup, but even after the restoration of such order and the return of President Makarios to the island in December 1974, the Turkish troops remained to back up the plans of Turkey to colonize Cyprus as a first step to annexation. Two hundred thousand Greek Cypriots, 40o% of the total Greek Cypriot population, were forced to leave their homes in the occupied area and were turned into refugees. The few thousands of Greek Cypriots who remained in their homes after the completion of the invasion were gradually forced through intimidation methods to leave their homes and move to the south.
In utter disregard of repeated U.N. resolutions calling for the respect of the independence - sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus as well as the withdrawal of all foreign troops from its territory and the adoption of all practical measures to promote the effective implementation of the relevant resolutions, Turkey is continuing the occupation of 40% of Cyprus territory.
This attitude of Turkey as well as the continuing violation of the fundamental human rights of the people of Cyprus have been condemned by international bodies, such as the U.N. General Assembly, the Non aligned Movement, the Commonwealth and the Council of Europe. The recently declassified report of the latter's Commission of Human Rights is very revealing of the atrocities committed by the Turkish forces of occupation.