[ Apr.2015 ] On the next day, we had an individual tour to go to Northern Cyprus.
At the end of the day, we felt it was too expensive, but at least we learned a little about the cause of the division in this small country.
The story goes back to the 16th century when Ottoman Turkey ruled Cyprus.
Turkey did not care about the Cypriots, so in those days they were very poor.
Some of them became Muslims and they are the origins of the “Turkish Cypriots”.
Towards the end of the Ottoman era, Turkey was worried that Russia would invade, so they had a deal with Britain and Cyprus to became a part of British territory.
Cypriots themselves always wanted to be a part of Greece, so they had the referendum twice during the British rule.
Both results showed that the majority wanted to merge with Greece, but Britain ignored it.
Instead, they decided to make Cyprus an independent country and keep the British troops there.
The constitution for independent Cyprus was complicated and the minority Muslims had the power of veto, so the country was never able to settle down.
Around this time, the insurgents, who still wanted to merge with Greece, launched a coup d’etat and plotted to assassinate the president.
The president survived by running away to London, but in the confusion, the Turkish troops invaded the country and drew a line to divide the country into two.
The troops have been there ever since.
This is the explanation by our guide, Stelios.
We know that the histories are different depending on where you stand as the book “What Is History?” by E.H. Carr says, which I had to read when I was a student.
I would like to hear other opinions, too.
By the way, the white flag represents the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the red one is Turkish.
They were always together.