I am traveling to the island of Cyprus at the end of February. The first thing I think of about Cyprus is that it is divided. Today I found out more details on why.
In July 1974 a group of Cypriots who wanted the island to become part of Greece tried to kill the president and take over Cyprus. Five days later Turkish troops landed in Northern Cyprus. They said they had come to protect the Turkish-Cypriots, who didn’t want to join with Greece.
The attempted takeover didn’t work and the president escaped.
The Turkish soldiers stayed and occupied a third of the island. That set up Cyprus as the divided country it is today. 2400 soldiers from the United Nations patrol the boundary between Northern and Southern. It’s called the Green Line.
I read a year ago that Turkey and Greece almost reached an agreement to rejoin as one–but there was still too much rancor and arguments about details to make this happen. I hope that when I go I can see the abandoned city (doubtful) that remains in the Turkish side, nobody has gone there since the split. Here is a GoNOMAD feature on dining Cypriot style