The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus runs for more than 180.5 kilometres (112.2 mi) along what is known as the Green Line and has an area of 346 square kilometres (134 sq mi). The zone partitions the island of Cyprus into a southern area effectively controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus (which is the de jure government for the entire island save for the British Sovereign Base Areas), and the northern area controlled by the Turkish army. The term Green Line refers to the cease fire line that de facto divides the island nation of Cyprus into two, cutting through the capital of Nicosia. It was first established in 1964, when Major-General Peter Young was the commander of a "peace force", a predecessor of the present UNFICYP. After stationing his troops in different areas of Nicosia, the general drew a cease-fire line on a map with a dark green crayon, which was to become known as the "Green Line". The Green Line became impassable following the July 1974 invasion by Turkey which intervened by air, sea, and land, capturing approximately 8% of Cyprus territory in response to a short lived Greek Cypriot coup (Greek-inspired coup d'etat that sought to overthrow the government of President Makarios. Three days later, the coup was dissolved, and the elected government was re-established). When the coup dissolved, the Turkish Armed Forces advanced to capture approximately 37% of the island and meet the "Green Line". The meandering green line marks the southernmost points that the Turkish troops occupied during the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 16 August 1974. With the self-proclamation of the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Green Line became its de facto southern border.
This line is also referred to as the Attila Line on some maps, named after the Turkish code-name for the 1974 military intervention: Operation Atilla. The closed off zone has become a haven for Cyprus' wildlife, an example of an involuntary park. Traffic across the buffer zone was very limited until 2003, when the number of crossings and the rules governing them were relaxed. My Dear Friend Merja sent me this lovely card.