9 thoughts on “Close British military base in Cyprus

  1. 100 years ago: Britain annexes Cyprus

    On November 5, 1914, the British government formally annexed Cyprus, which had previously been within the nominal sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire. The move followed the outbreak of world war in August, and the alliance between Turkey with the Central powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, who were pitted against the Entente forces, including Britain, France and Russia.

    Cyprus had been designated a British protectorate in 1878, having been a possession of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman officials had signed over control of the island in exchange for a British assurance of support in the event that Russia attempted to seize Turkey’s possessions in Asia. Over the ensuing decades, Turkey retained a strong influence on the politics of Cyprus, while its relations with the major powers, including Britain, deteriorated.

    The British seizure of Cyprus followed a series of crippling military defeats for the Ottomans. In 1911-12, they had lost control of modern-day Libya to Italy, during the Italo-Turkish war. From late 1912, to early 1913, Turkey had been routed by a coalition of Balkan states, losing its longstanding dominance over the region. While France, Russia, and Britain had avoided direct participation in that conflict, they had tacitly backed the destruction of Ottoman authority in the Balkans.

    The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers on August 2, 1914, signing a secret agreement with the German government. Underlying their adherence was a desire to retrieve possessions lost to Russia in Eastern Anatolia decades earlier, territory that today is part of Georgia and Armenia. Russia had also taken a particularly aggressive role in backing the Serbian campaign against the Ottomans during the first Balkan war.

    The British annexation of Cyprus produced a crisis among many of the local officials who had sought to balance between the island’s formal status as a British protectorate, and residual Turkish influence. Most of the Greek-speaking elite supported Britain and aimed for a postwar union with Greece. Roughly a quarter of the island’s population was Turkish-speaking

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/03/twih-n03.html

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