November 10, 2009 / 8:09 PM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE: Key events in Cyprus

(Reuters) - Britain has offered to cede almost half of its sovereign territory in Cyprus to help peace negotiations between now estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the former British colony.

The offer would be conditional on a settlement to the conflict, which is an obstacle to Turkey’s bid to join the EU.

Following is a chronology of key events in Cypriot history since independence:

1960 - Britain grants independence to Cyprus under a power-sharing constitution between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

1963/1964 - Power sharing crumbles amid fighting; government formed without Turkish Cypriots and recognized worldwide as only legitimate authority on island. U.N. peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) established.

1974 - Military junta in Greece backs July coup against President Archbishop Makarios. Five days later Turkish troops invade Cyprus.

— Turkey and Greece come close to war. The coup quickly collapses, as does the Athens junta. Turkish forces occupy the northern third of the island.

1983 - Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash declares a breakaway state in northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognizes it.

1996 - Two Greek Cypriots are killed in separate demonstrations along the United Nations-controlled ceasefire line in the worst outbreak of violence since 1974.

2002 - U.N. presents a peace plan for Cyprus calling for broad power-sharing and a return of territory to Greek Cypriots.

2003 - Turkish Cypriot side authorizes opening checkpoints along the ceasefire line for day trips.

April 24, 2004 - Greek Cypriots reject U.N. power-sharing plan in referendum. Turkish Cypriots, under new leadership of Mehmet Ali Talat, accept it.

— May 1 - Cyprus joins the EU, still partitioned.

October 4, 2005 - Turkey starts EU entry negotiations. Cyprus says Turkey must open its ports and airports to Cypriot traffic.

February 24, 2008 - Communist party leader Demetris Christofias wins presidential election and agrees to revive reunification efforts.

— April 3 - Greek and Turkish Cypriots pull down barricades that have separated them in capital for half a century

— September 3 - Greek and Turkish leaders launch direct peace negotiations which continue at slow pace.

April 19, 2009 - Turkish Cypriot hardliners sweep to victory in parliamentary elections, suggesting a fall in popularity for Talat, whose presidential term ends in April 2010.

— October 13 - Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides cancel annual rival war games to avoid disrupting talks

— November 4 - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Cyprus talks making “good progress.”

— November 10 - Britain revives offer made in past negotiations to cede almost half its sovereign territory on Cyprus, which represents about 3.0 percent of the island.

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