Cyprus leaders in peace talks

The leaders of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities have started peace talks in Switzerland to see how they can reunite their divided island.

Cyprus is an island country close to Greece and Turkey. Over the centuries, it has been ruled by many people: Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and the British. It was a British colony until 1960. The majority of citizens of Cyprus are of Greek origin (referred to as Greek Cypriots), followed by those of Turkish origin (referred to as Turkish Cypriots). These two communities have had their differences over the years, but things got out of hand in the 1960s. The United Nations had to intervene and had to physically separate the two groups. A permanent partition was put across Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, to separate the Greek Cypriots from the Turkish Cypriots.

In 1974, some Greek Cypriots, who wanted Cyprus to be part of Greece, tried to topple the government of Cyprus. In response, Turkey, with a mission to protect the Turkish Cypriots, invaded the northern part of Cyprus. The island has since been split by a partition known as the “Green Line”. The Turkish Cypriots moved north of the Green Line, and the Greek Cypriots moved south of it. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots declared the area north of the Green Line as a separate country, a country that only Turkey recognizes.

Today, the Turkish Cypriots still govern the northern part of the island (about one-third of the island). A Greek Cypriot government governs the rest of the island (about two-thirds of the island).

Image Credits: http://www.un.org for the image of the leaders
Sources: http://www.un.org, CIA World Factbook