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BBC News Online looks at the history and issues surrounding the unresolved conflict

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Independence

Under British rule the demands of both communities became more polarised, with Greek speakers wanting 'Enosis', or union with Greece, and Turkish speakers calling for partition, or 'Taksim'.

Greek Cypriot rebels Eoka waged guerrilla war against the British, while Turkish nationalism was fuelled by mainland Turkey.

The island was granted independence in 1960 after Greek and Turkish communities reached agreement on a constitution. Britain retained sovereignty over two military bases.

But relations broke down when Greek Cypriots proposed amendments threatening power-sharing arrangements.

Inter-communal violence erupted and the Turkish side withdrew from power-sharing. The UN sent a peace-keeping force to the island in 1964 to support British troops manning the so-called "Green Line" dividing Nicosia.

The situation on the ground improved but relations between the military regime in Greece and the Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios, a Greek Cypriot, became strained.

Greek Cypriot students protest against the US' pro-Turkey stance
The 1960s saw growing differences between the communities

Turkish plane bombs a Greek cypriot patrol boat, 1964

Turkish aircraft conducted air raids on Greek Cypriot positions in northern Cyprus in 1964

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