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Turkish Cypriot vote crucial to peace process May 5, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, Turkey.
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Turkish Cypriots vote in an election today that diplomats fear could see the chances of a peace deal on the ethnically-split island receding and further hamper Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union.

Following is a timeline of key events in Cypriot history since independence:

1960 — Britain grants independence to Cyprus under a power-sharing constitution between Turkish and Greek Cypriots, holding intervention rights over the island along with Turkey and Greece.

1963/1964 — Power-sharing crumbles amid fighting. A government is formed without Turkish Cypriots and is recognized worldwide as only legitimate authority on island. UN peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) established.

1974 — Military junta in Greece backs July coup against President Archbishop Makarios. Five days later Turkish troops invade Cyprus.

— Turkey and Greece come close to war. The coup quickly collapses, as does the Athens junta. Turkish forces occupy the northern third of the island.

1983 — Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash declares a breakaway state in northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognises it.

1996 — Two Greek Cypriot civilians are killed in separate demonstrations along the UN-controlled ceasefire line in the worst outbreak of violence since 1974.

2002 — UN presents a peace plan for Cyprus calling for broad power-sharing and a return of territory to Greek Cypriots.

2003 — Turkish Cypriot side authorises opening checkpoint along the ceasefire line for day trips.

April 24, 2004 — Greek Cypriots reject UN power-sharing plan in referendum. Turkish Cypriots, under new leadership of Mehmet Ali Talat, accept it.

May 1 — Cyprus joins the European Union, still divided.

October  4, 2005 —Turkey starts EU entry negotiations. Cyprus says Turkey must open its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.

February 24, 2008 — Greek Cypriot communist party leader Demetris Christofias wins presidential election and agrees to revive reunification efforts.

April 3 — Greek and Turkish Cypriots pull down barricades that have separated them in the capital Nicosia for half a century.

September 3 — Greek and Turkish leaders launch direct peace negotiations.

April 19, 2009 —Turkish Cypriot hardliners sweep to victory in parliamentary elections, suggesting a fall in popularity for Talat, whose presidential term ends in April 2010.

October 13 — Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides cancel annual rival war games to avoid disrupting talks.

November 4 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Cyprus talks are making “good progress”.

March 30, 2010 — In their last encounter before Turkish Cypriot election, Talat and Christofias say peace talks have made important progress. — Reuters

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