In June 1958 the British announced a plan to maintain the international status quo of Cyprus for seven years but also to establish representative government and communal autonomy. Archbishop Makarios and the Greek and Turkish governments rejected the British plan, but on October 1st,  the British put a modified version of it into effect. Talks held in 1959 among the various parties led to an agreement on the general features of a constitution for an independent Republic of Cyprus. The status of the republic was guaranteed by Britain, Turkey, and Greece. Britain retained sovereignty over two military bases. Independence was proclaimed on August 16, 1960 and  Cyprus was admitted to the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations.

One early consensus between new parliament members was they all saw a fundamental problem with the Constitution, which was drawn to safeguard the rights of the nation's 100,000 Turkish Cypriots, as well as the 500,000 Greek Cypriot majority.  For many it was a document that was woefully inadequate. There was a feeling of dissatisfaction after independence both on the Greek Cypriot side and the Turkish Cypriot side. For the Greek Cypriot side, the struggle was not merely to get rid of the colonial rule, but to unite Cyprus with Greece.  That was not achieved.  On the other side, the Turkish Cypriots' concept, was if the British had to leave, then Cyprus must be partitioned.  And they did not get that either.  So there were two communities that were very disappointed.  

The constitutional wrangling between Greeks and Turks quickly led to rising tensions and eventually to an outright bi-communal conflict.

Everybody was pleased that Cyprus was now an independent country, but  a significant part of the people did not believe that this was the end.  Many people felt that in some way they were cheated. Few were surprised that conflict between both communities started, which quickly spiraled into violence. By 1964, the United Nations sent a peacekeeping force that was 7,000-strong to the island. The situation came to a head in 1974, when the military junta in Athens instigated a coup by Greek army officers in Cyprus, seeking to achieve union with Greece.  President Makarios was overthrown and, just days later, Turkey invaded, splitting the island in two. The remnants of functioning government were presented with a multitude of problems, ranging from refugees to a collapsing economy.  What happened after the invasion is that thousands of Cypriots went to the Middle East, and did all kinds of work there and  all earned funds were sent  to Cyprus keeping the struggling economy afloat and preparing its further growth.  Eventually,  Cyprus developed into an international center for offshore companies which gave Cyprus the extra boost it needed to sustain enviable growth rates.

The Republic of Cyprus,  which is marking this Independence Day, joined the European Union in 2004. The self-proclaimed "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus"  is recognized only by Turkey.  A new round of U.N.-led negotiations to end the division was initiated in late 2008 and has been described as the "last chance" for Cyprus peace. In light of growing public pessimism about peace prospects, the specter of a permanently divided Cyprus hovers above, if a solution cannot be found soon. As the time goes by, it becomes more difficult to solve the problem and the risks of a partition are looming in the air. Today Cyprus is both a happy and an unhappy country, People are worried about the future - not because they are afraid of being attacked or killed, but they know that this division is something that cannot stand. The failure to agree to a deal could spell the end to any future U.N.-sponsored dialogue, and both community leaders have stressed that there is "No Plan B" or other alternative.

The recent advent of the discovery of possible massive reserves of natural gas and oil within Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone is theoretically, a good thing but the new row over who rightfully owns what in the area having Turkey, Greece and Cyprus at loggerheads is a new factor that severely affects any realistic opportunity of reaching a viable solution for the Island State that turns fifty one today!!!       

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