Stamps issued: 1960-PRESENT
A large island in the eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus was a Turkish possession from 1571 to 1878. In 1878, the British occupied the island, formally annexing it in 1914. Tension between Greek and Turkish elements, each of which sought union with their respective mother country, erupted into violence in 1955. An agreement between Britain, Greece, Turkey and Cypriot leaders provided for the creation of an independent republic, with guarantees to the Turkish minority, and in 1960 independence was achieved. Continuing conflict between Greek and Turkish factions led to the intervention of a United Nations peace-keeping force in 1964, which has since remained on the island. On July 15, 1974, a pro-Greek coup, led by Greek army officers deposed the elected government. Five days later, Turkey invaded Cyprus and quickly occupied the northeastern 40 percent of the island. In 1975, Turkish Cypriots in the occupied area voted to establish a separate state. In 1983 this government declared its independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.