Certain provisions of the Zurich-London Agreements and the Constitution were soon to prove conducive to constitutional deadlock, domestic conflict and foreign interference.
Efforts to amend the Constitution were rejected by the Turkish side, with the Turkish Cypriot leadership falling in line with Turkey's long-term policy of segregation and partition. This resulted in the intercommunal clashes of 1963/64, the drawing up of the dividing “green line” running through Nicosia and the constant efforts on the part of Turkish Cypriot extremists to promote Turkey's partitionist and expansionist designs.
The coup on 15 July 1974, perpetrated against the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus by the military junta ruling Greece at the time, gave Turkey a long-awaited pretext to invade the island on 20 July 1974, in violation of the UN Charter, international law and the principles governing the conduct among nations.
As a result, about 36,2% of the island was occupied (the northern part, representing 70% of the economic potential) and still remains under Turkey's military control. About 200.000 Greek Cypriots - a third of the population - were displaced, becoming refugees in their own country, while the Turkish Cypriots were compelled to move to the occupied part of the island in compliance with Turkey's policy of ethnic segregation. About 1.400 people have been missing as a result of the invasion. It has still not been possible to ascertain their fate because Turkey refuses to cooperate in this humanitarian matter.
The “Attila line” (“Operation Attila” was the codename Turkey gave to its military invasion of Cyprus) divides Cyprus since 1974. After four centuries of peaceful coexistence in mixed villages, towns and places of work, the two communities of the island - Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots - were forcibly separated.
Forty-three thousand Turkish troops, armed with the latest military weapons, continue to occupy the island illegally. Over the years some 160.000 colonists from Turkey were brought to Cyprus and settled in the occupied area, in violation of international law, with the aim of changing the demography of the island. In view of the mass emigration of Turkish Cypriots from the occupied area (due to the conditions created by Turkey's occupation) the total number of Turkey's troops and settlers is now much greater than that of the remaining Turkish Cypriots.
In order to consolidate the de facto situation of division, the Turkish Cypriot leadership unilaterally declared the occupied area an "independent state" in 1983. This act of secession against the Republic of Cyprus was declared "legally invalid" by the UN Security Council, which also called for its withdrawal. No country in the world but Turkey recognises that illegal regime.
The illegal regime and Turkey have also followed a policy of "turkification" in the occupied areas while at the same time destroying much of the island's eleven thousand-year-old cultural heritage: Greek place names have been replaced by Turkish ones; monuments, cemeteries, places of worship and archaeological sites were destroyed, desecrated or vandalised; priceless religious and archaeological treasures - part of the world's cultural heritage – have been stolen and smuggled abroad. Despite constant protests by the Cyprus government the illegal excavations and looting of antiquities continue to this day.
Another tragic occurrence is the on-going eviction of the enclaved Greek Cypriots from their homes in villages occupied by Turkey. While in 1974 there were 20.000 people enclaved, less than 450 remain, mostly people over 60 years old.