Collapse of Constitution (1963)
1960 dawned with new hope for Cyprus. In the previous year Britain, Greece and Turkey agreed upon a power sharing constitution for an independent Cyprus. Known as the 'Zurich Agreement', all three countries committed themselves to guaranteeing the arrangement of shared rule, with the right to take unilateral action in Cyprus to ensure proper functioning of the constitution. On 16th August 1960, Cyprus was formally declared an independent state, Archbishop Makarios being inaugurated as the first President of Cyprus.
For the ordinary Cypriot people though division and uncertainty remained. Fear of ethnic clashes between hard-line Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot supporters was very real. Many residents of the island lived again with a heightened threat to their security - a running theme of ordinary Cypriot life through much of the island's prior history.
In an attempt to quell the unrest between the different ethnic groups on Cyprus, President Makarios moved to make amendments to the power sharing constitution. He proposed changes that would remove 'bottlenecks' in government decision making, some of which would lead to the dilution of Turkish legislative power in the government. Rather than improving the situation, the President's suggestions proved to be the final spark that ignited conflict between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. It was to be a conflict that quickly spiralled out of control.
By December 1963 the central administration responsible for the implementation of the power sharing arrangement collapsed. March 1964 saw a UN peacekeeping force dispatched to Cyprus in an effort to re-establish law and order. The UN peacekeeping force still patrols the divided island today.