Cyprus, owing to its strategic position, was throughout its history colonised by some of the most influential colonial powers in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 1878 Britain was the last power to occupy Cyprus, taking over the island from the Ottoman Empire.
In occupying the north of the island, Turkey forcibly expelled the Greek Cypriots living there, who constituted about 80% of the indigenous population. About 28% of the Greek Cypriots, fleeing from the Turkish invading forces, streamed into the government-controlled area, homeless and destitute.
Over one and a half thousand people have gone missing when Turkey invaded and occupied a large part of Cyprus in 1974. This tragic problem of a purely humanitarian nature remains unresolved to this day because Turkey, in full disregard of international conventions and declarations, does not allow effective investigations to be carried out.
In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion in 1974, about 20,000 people - mainly Greek Cypriots including just over a thousand Maronites - found themselves cut off behind enemy lines in their villages in the north-eastern Karpass peninsula and in the Maronite villages west of Kyrenia town.
Since the Turkish invasion of 1974 and occupation of 36% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey has maintained a policy of bringing in thousands of Anatolian colonists to settle in the occupied area, thus changing the demographic character of the island.
The European Court of Human Rights has given the clear message that the Cyprus issue is primarily an international case based on the violation of human rights and international law by Turkey. Furthermore, the Court has ruled on important issues of international law, judicially verifying the legal status of the Republic of Cyprus and the illegal actions of Turkey in Cyprus.
Numerous resolutions on the Cyprus issue have been adopted by the Security Council, the General Assembly and other United Nations bodies since 1974. The General Assembly - Time and again the General Assembly has reaffirmed the need to settle the question of Cyprus in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant United Nations resolutions and stressed the right of the Republic of Cyprus and its people to full and effective sovereignty and control over the entire territory of Cyprus and its natural and other resources.
The violation of human rights and international law by Turkey in Cyprus, which has been continuing for so many years, is unique in recent European history. Turkey, having driven the bulk of the Greek Cypriot population from the area under its occupation, achieving thus the ethnic cleansing of the part of Cyprus occupied by its armed forces, has prepared the ground for partitioning the Republic of Cyprus.