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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 13 July 2019
CYPRUS 6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 13 JULY 2019 Cyprus - a timeline of division The legendary birthplace of the love goddess has been dominated by disharmony and dichotomy between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants. Forty-five years since the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island, we remember its modern history. BRITISH COLONY 1878 - Britain occupied the island, but it remained under Ottoman sovereignty. 1914 - Cyprus annexed after more than 300 years of Ottoman rule. 1925 - Becomes crown colony. 1955 - Greek Cypriots begin guerrilla movement against Britain. The National Organisation of Cypriot Combatants (EOKA) want unification with Greece. Archbishop Makarios, head of the campaign is deported to Seychelles from 19561959 and Britain arms a paramilitary police force of Turkish Cypriots. 1960 - Greek and Turkish communities agree on a constitution and Cyprus gains independence. Britain retains sovereignty over two military bases. TUG OF WAR 1963 - Archbishop Makarios proposes constitutional changes to abrogate power-sharing arrangements. Turkish side withdraws from powersharing. 1964 - UN peacekeeping force is set up. 1974 - Military junta in Greece backs coup against Archbishop Makarios, who escapes, leading Turkish troops to land in north and Greek Cypriots to flee their homes. In 1975, Turkish Cypriots establish independent administration under leader Rauf Denktash, who agrees to population exchange with Cyprus President Glafkos Clerides. DIVISION 1980 - UN-sponsored peace talks resume on numerous occasions only to collapse again on each occasion in 1983, 1989 and 1992. 1994 - European Court of Justice rules that goods from Turkish Cypriot community will not receive preferential treatment when exported to the EU. 1996 - Increased tension, violence along buffer zone, followed in another round of failed talks in 1997 between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash. 1998 - Cyprus starts EU accession talks. 2001 - UN Security Council renews its 36-year mission as 2,400 peacekeepers patrol the Greek-Turkish Cypriot buffer zone. The same year sees protests at British military base at Akrotiri over plans to build telecommunications masts that pose a health hazard. Meanwhile, Turkey threatens to annex north if Cyprus joins EU. 2002 - Clerides-Denktash begin UN-sponsored negotiations. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan unveils a peace plan of a federation with two constituent parts and a rotating presidency. Meanwhile, without reunification EU accession is announced for only the Greek Cypriot part of the island. 2003 - Turkish and Greek Cypriots cross "green line" for the first time after Turkish Cypriots ease border restrictions. EU ACCESSION 2004 - Twin referendums on UN reunification plan approved by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek side, which goes on to EU accession. 2007 - Row over oil drilling rights off Cyprus erupts, but Turkey denies sending extra warships to the eastern Mediterranean. Meanwhile, Greek and Turkish Cypriots demolish barriers dividing the old city of Nicosia. 2008 - Cyprus adopts the euro, while the symbolic Ledra Street crossing of Nicosia is reopened for first time since 1964. Reunification negotiation begins afresh. 2011 - Cyprus begins exploratory drilling for oil and gas, and Turkey responds by sending an oil vessel to northern Cyprus. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Eleni Efthymiou with her grandmother Eleni Theodotou at the front of the latter’s house in West Sunshine. PHOTO: TALES OF CYPRUS Young blood at SEKA SEKA president Eleni Efthymiou shares her future goals for the ongoing fight for the island’s liberation EUGENIA PAVLOPOULOU SEKA President Eleni Efthimiou is the youngest person to ever take on this role. As a representative of the younger generation of Greek Cypriots in Australia, she is committed to raising awareness and fighting for the reunification of the island she hails from. Having been appointed at the start of 2019, she hopes her leadership will inspire and motivate her peers in becoming more invested and better informed on the Cyprus issue. Organising the community's commemorative events for the first time this year, Ms Efthimiou spoke to Neos Kosmos about her aspirations for the strategic development of SEKA going into the future. How did you get involved with SEKA? What led you to this decision? I have been involved for more than eight years now. It is difficult to recall the precise reason but I guess it came hand in hand when I joined the World Organisation for Young Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK - Neolaia Omospondia Apodimon Kyprion). I knew that SEKA was working tirelessly for a cause I feel passionately about, and the committee members needed support. As part of NEPOMAK I attended lobby days in Canberra under the guidance of the PASEKA president, so staying close to SEKA after that was natural and expected. If we go further back, it was a program for youth that took me to the university in Cyprus, which got me involved in NEPOMAK. Do you think that people of your age know enough about the Cyprus invasion and the history before and after that? I think people will know and inquire on the topic as much as they were shaped to, in terms of their environment and family upbringing. It goes without saying, if they have a keen interest in history it would probably motivate them to look further into it, and learn about the circumstances leading up to the invasion. Most people know enough to know that the current situation Cyprus is in, is unacceptable. What do you think is the reason keeping them from getting involved with SEKA? Most people that know a lot about the issue and feel passionately may not have had an opportunity to get involved. Or, they don't know what we do exactly, that our aim is to keep the desire for justice for Cyprus alive in the hearts and minds of Greek Australians, thus the slogan «Δεν ξεχνώ». And to engage in what in Greek is called διαφώτιση, the dissemination of the true facts when it comes to the Cyprus Issue while following, promoting and implementing the policies of the democratically elected Government of the Republic of Cyprus. We also lobby Australian politicians, to ensure that the stance of the Australian Government with regard to Cyprus is maintained and does not deviate from the now-established position. What do you think could be done from SEKA's end or by the organised Cypriot community in gener- al in order to inform the younger generation? We have plans to hold informational seminars and a forum on the issue for younger people. The committee's priority recently has been to organise the events of 1 April and 14 July. After that, we hope to be able to share news of upcoming meetings and events. Visiting Cyprus, what do you feel when you find yourself at the heart of where it all happened? I have visited Cyprus many times and have spent a lot of time close to the Green Line, although I have not crossed it, only because my schedule did not allow. The feeling for me is quite gloomy close to the buffer zone. To think that only a few kilometers north of there is a beautiful village where my ancestors spent their time growing businesses and raising their family on farms overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and yet we are not free to live there. However I do wish to visit the occupied side soon to see Lapithos and Karavas, the towns where my father grew up.
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