A well documented history of ethnic tensions between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots arising first from the Greek Cypriots desire for enosis, union with Greece, replaced later with a plan to take control of the whole island resulted in an intervention by the Turkish army in 1974. The island suffered partition and repatriation. The northern section of the island became home to the Turkish Cypriots.
Separated by the Green Line, a buffer zone controlled by the United Nations, the northern sector occupies about 36% in land area. Turkey affords diplomatic recognition to North Cyprus while the international community fails to do so, recognising only the Republic of Cyprus in the south. After years of failed negotiations, the north declared itself independent on November 15th 1983 as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
With financial support from Turkey and a peace force of Turkish soldiers on the island, the north has been able to enjoy at least a peaceful existence if not a prosperous one since 1974. In recent years there have been a number of UN brokered peace talks all of which failed but, in 2004, a 5th revision of the Annan Plan was put to a referendum on both sides. At stake was not simply reunification of the island but membership of the EU. The Turkish Cypriots voted in favour but it was heavily rejected by the Greek Cypriots. The whole island of Cyprus was admitted to the EU but the concessions of membership mostly withdrawn from Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.
Talks aimed at unification still continue but one of the benefits over successive talks is the concessions made by each side. As a result, there are a number of crossing points in the buffer zone for both pedestrian and motor vehicles with passport and custom controls.
The economy of North Cyprus relies heavily on the service sector including retailing, tourism and education. Light manufacturing makes a significant contribution as does agriculture. International isolation seriously hampers trade links, especially since the airport cannot accept non-stop international flights. All flights need to land in Turkey first and then proceed to North Cyprus.
In spite of all the restrictions, it has slowly built up its infrastructure and offers a good standard of living to its citizens. It is a peaceful, happy and healthy place to live.