A united Cyprus gained independence from British rule in August 1960, after both Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed to abandon their respective plans for enosis (union with Greece) and taksim (Turkish for "partition"). The agreement involved Cyprus being governed under a constitution which apportioned Cabinet posts, parliamentary seats and civil service jobs on an agreed ratio between the two communities. Within three years, tensions began to show between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in administrative affairs. In particular, disputes over separate municipalities and taxation created a deadlock in government. In 1963 President Makarios proposed unilateral changes to the constitution, via 13 amendments. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots rejected the proposed amendments, claiming that this was an attempt to settle constitutional disputes in favour of the Greek Cypriots and to demote Turkish status from co-founders of the state to one of minority status, removing their constitutional safeguards in the process. Turkish Cypriots filed a lawsuit against the 13 amendments in the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus (SCCC). Makarios announced that he would not comply with the decision of the SCCC, whatever it was, and defended his amendments as being necessary "to resolve constitutional deadlocks" as opposed to the stance of the SCCC.
On 25 April 1963, the SCCC decided that Makarios's 13 amendments were illegal. The Cyprus Supreme Court's ruling found that Makarios had violated the constitution by failing to fully implement its measures and that Turkish Cypriots had not been allowed to return to their positions in government without first accepting the proposed constitutional amendments. On 21 May, the president of the SCCC resigned due to Makarios's stance. On 15 July, Makarios ignored the decision of the SCCC. After the resignation of the president of the SCCC, the SCCC ceased to exist. The Supreme Court of Cyprus (SCC) was formed by merging the SCCC and the High Court of Cyprus, and undertook the jurisdiction and powers of the SCCC and HCC. On 30 November, Makarios legalized the 13 proposals. In 1963, the Greek Cypriot wing of the government created the Akritas plan which outlined a policy that would remove Turkish Cypriots from the government and ultimately lead to union with Greece. The plan stated that if the Turkish Cypriots objected then they should be "violently subjugated before foreign powers could intervene".
On 21 December 1963, shots were fired at a Turkish Cypriot crowd that had gathered as the Greek police patrol stopped two Turkish Cypriots, claiming to ask for identification; two Turkish Cypriots were killed. Almost immediately, intercommunal violence broke out with a major Greek Cypriot paramilitary attack upon Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia and Larnaca. Though the TMT—a Turkish resistance group created in 1959 to promote a policy of taksim (division or partition of Cyprus), in opposition to the Greek Cypriot nationalist group EOKA and its advocacy of enosis (union of Cyprus with Greece)—committed a number of acts of retaliation, historian of the Cyprus conflict Keith Kyle noted that "there is no doubt that the main victims of the numerous incidents that took place during the next few months were Turks". Seven hundred Turkish hostages, including children, were taken from the northern suburbs of Nicosia. Nikos Sampson, a nationalist and future coup leader, led a group of Greek Cypriot irregulars into the mixed suburb of Omorphita/Küçük Kaymaklı and attacked the Turkish Cypriot population. By 1964, 364 Turkish Cypriots and 174 Greek Cypriots had been killed.
Turkish Cypriot members of the government had by now withdrawn, creating an essentially Greek Cypriot administration in control of all institutions of the state. After the partnership government collapsed, the Greek Cypriot led administration was recognized as the legitimate government of the Republic of Cyprus at the stage of the debates in New York in February 1964. In September 1964, the then United Nations Secretary General, U Thant reported that "UNFICYP carried out a detailed survey of all damage to properties throughout the island during the disturbances; it shows that in 109 villages, most of them Turkish-Cypriot or mixed villages, 527 houses have been destroyed while 2,000 others have suffered damage from looting". Widespread looting of Turkish Cypriot villages prompted 20,000 refugees to retreat into armed enclaves, where they remained for the next 11 years, relying on food and medical supplies from Turkey to survive. Turkish Cypriots formed paramilitary groups to defend the enclaves, leading to a gradual division of the island's communities into two hostile camps. The violence had also seen thousands of Turkish Cypriots attempt to escape the violence by emigrating to Britain, Australia and Turkey. On 28 December 1967, the Turkish Cypriot Provisional Administration was founded.
, founder and former President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
On 6 July 1974, Makarios accused the Greek government of turning the Cypriot National Guard into an army of occupation. On 15 July 1974, the Greek military junta and the Cypriot National Guard backed a Greek Cypriot military coup d'état in Cyprus. Pro-Enosis Nikos Sampson replaced President Makarios as the new president. The Greek Cypriot coupists proclaimed the establishment of the "Hellenic Republic of Cyprus". Turkey claimed that under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, the coup was sufficient reason for military action to protect the Turkish Cypriot populace, and thus Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July. Turkish forces proceeded to take over the northern four-elevenths of the island (about 36% of Cyprus's total area). The coup caused a civil war filled with ethnic violence, after which it collapsed and Makarios returned to power.
On 2 August 1975, in the negotiations in Vienna, a population exchange agreement was signed between community leaders Rauf Denktaş and Glafcos Clerides under the auspices of United Nations. On the basis of the Agreement, 196,000 Greek Cypriots living in the north were exchanged for 42,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the south (the number of settlers was disputed). The Orthodox Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpaso, Agios Andronikos and Agia Triada chose to stay in their villages, as did also Catholic Maronites in Asomatos, Karpasia and Kormakitis. Approximately 1,500 Greek Cypriots and 500 Turkish Cypriots remain missing. The invasion led to the formation of the first sovereign administrative body of Northern Cyprus in August 1974, the Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration.
In 1975, the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus (Kıbrıs Türk Federe Devleti) was declared as a first step towards a future federated Cypriot state, but was rejected by the Republic of Cyprus and the United Nations.
After eight years of failed negotiations with the leadership of the Greek Cypriot community,declared its independence on 15 November 1983 under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This was rejected by the UN and the Republic of Cyprus.
the north unilaterally
, North Nicosia in 2006, with the Northern Cyprus and Turkish flags.
In recent years, the politics of reunification has dominated the island's affairs. The European Union decided in 2000 to accept Cyprus as a member, even if it was divided. This was due to their view of Rauf Denktaş, the pro-independence Turkish Cypriot President, as the main stumbling block, but also due to Greece threatening to block eastern EU expansion. It was hoped that Cyprus's planned accession into the European Union would act as a catalyst towards a settlement. In the time leading up to Cyprus becoming a member, a new government was elected in Turkey and Rauf Denktaş lost political power in Cyprus. In 2004, a United Nations–brokered peace settlement was presented in a referendum to both sides. The proposed settlement was opposed by both the president of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, and Turkish Cypriot president Rauf Denktaş; in the referendum, while 65% of Turkish Cypriots accepted the proposal, 76% of Greek Cypriots rejected it. As a result, Cyprus entered the European Union divided, with the suspended for Northern Cyprus.
Denktaş resigned in the wake of the vote, ushering in the pro-settlement Mehmet Ali Talat as his successor. However, the pro-settlement side and Mehmet Ali Talat lost momentum due to the ongoing embargo and isolation, despite promises from the European Union that these would be eased. As a result, the Turkish Cypriot electorate became frustrated. This led ultimately to the pro-independence side winning the general elections in 2009 and its candidate, former Prime Minister Derviş Eroğlu, winning the presidential elections in 2010. Although Eroğlu and his National Unity Party favours the independence of Northern Cyprus rather than reunification with the Republic of Cyprus, he is negotiating with the Greek Cypriot side towards a settlement for reunification.
In 2011, Turkish Cypriots protested against economic reforms made by the Northern Cyprus and Turkish governments; see 2011 Turkish Cypriot demonstrations.