• Short Summary

    The island of Cyprus marks twenty years of independence from Britain on Saturday (16 August).

  • Description

    1960: GVs Governor of Cyprus, Sir Hugh Foot and Greek Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios sign independence agreement at Government House and then say farewell on the lawn (5 shots)

    CU & SV Dead monks in monastery near Nicosia, bodies covered up (3 shots)

    GVs British soldiers on duty as people walk in streets of Nicosia. Soldiers inspect cars at roadblock (3 shots)

    SV & CU Presidential helicopter in courtyard after assassination attempt, bullet hole in body of helicopter (3 shots)

    GV Makarios greeting large crowd of supporters from balcony(3 shots)

    SV & GVs United Nations peacekeeping forces guarding roads and soldier in sentry box (3 shots)

    GV General Grivas carried on shoulders through streets (3 shots)

    GVs PAN Soldiers on Nicosia rooftops TO Turkish aircraft over city border; soldiers on rooftop setting up machine gun; LV paratroops dropping from Turkish transport planes (3 shots)

    GVs FAMAGUSTA, LV PAN FROM Turkish flag TO Greek flag on rooftops and road block (4 shots)

    SV Makarios looking at bombed Presidential palace and standing in ruins (2 shots)

    SV INTERIOR United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Cyprus President Spyros Kyprianou arriving for settlement meeting (2 shots)

    GV PAN New housing development and children walking home from school, little children dancing with teacher in school playground (3 shots)

    Initials BB/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The island of Cyprus marks twenty years of independence from Britain on Saturday (16 August). But the agreement signed on the 16th of August 1960 has done little to shape the Cyprus of today. Hopes that intercommunal tensions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots would be left behind to build a strong, united country were short-lived. Most Cypriots still identify strongly with Greece or Turkey, and the island remains divided after the Turkish invasion of 1974.

    SYNOPSIS: Cyprus was proclaimed independent after eighty-two years of British rule at a ceremony attended by the island's outgoing Governor, Sir Hugh Foot, the Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios and the Turkish community's leader Dr. Kutchuk.

    But hopes that the forces of moderation and tolerance would prevail ended, when problems in the government led to violence between the Turkish and Greek communities.

    British troops were called in to keep the peace. For three short years Greek and Turkish Cypriots had worked together. But a dispute among the country's administrators eventually found its expression in a series of kidnappings and killings.

    President Makarios himself became an assassination target when his helicopter was shot down. He survived. He had declared the independence constitution "Utopian and inapplicable". And so he made revisions -- some by Presidential decree. The minority Turkish community tired to challenge the changes and failed. But as both their religious leader and President, Makarios was loved by most of the island's Greek community.

    A decade after independence more than three thousand United Nations peace-keeping troops were still needed to ensure peace on the island.

    And tensions were heightened in 1971 when rumours circulated that the legendary Greek resistance fighter General Grivas as back on the island. He maintained the only answer to Cyprus's problems was union with Greece.

    But the island's present divided state is a result of the Turkish invasion on the 20th of July 1974. President Makarios was briefly deposed in an armed coup. The Turkish answer was to invade the island to protect the Turkish community. In two days an estimated forty thousand Turkish troops had landed.

    The Island was now divided separating the 170,000 Turks from about half a million Greeks along a boundary known as the Attilla line. A United Nations peace-keeping force still patrols the no-man's land.

    The ruins of the Presidential Palace epitomised the conditions of the Greek population. President Makario's ambition to make Cyprus strong and truly independent seemed destroyed. And when he died in 1977 the island's future was still uncertain.

    United Nations sponsored talks to unite the two communities have so far failed. But Turkish leader Rauf Denktash and President Spyros start negotiations again on the 16th of September.

    The Greeks that fled from the northeast of Cyprus have been rehoused and integrated into a healthy Greek-Cypriot economy. The Turks have not been so successful and their sector of the island is fighting bankruptcy. So it remains to be seen it the wounds left by almost two decades of intercommunal tension can be healed to that the Greek and Turkish communities can live together.

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