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The Conflicts That Keep Turkey and Greece at Odds

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Turkey and Greece, NATO members that are also traditional rivals, have mobilized their navies and warplanes in opposition to one another in the Mediterranean Sea. The tensions are rooted in exploration for natural gas off the island of Cyprus, which is itself long a source of conflict between Greece and Turkey. Theirs is a history of troubles veering close to war three times in the past half century. Here’s a rundown of issues dividing them.

The Mediterranean island -- less than half the size of New Jersey -- was effectively partitioned in 1963 when fighting erupted between its two main groups: Greek and Turkish Cypriots. It was fully divided in 1974 after Turkey intervened, capturing the northern third of the island, saying it intended to protect the minority Turkish Cypriots following an Athens-backed coup by supporters of union with Greece. That brought the two neighbors close to war. To this day, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey, while the Republic of Cyprus, which is internationally recognized, officially has sovereignty over the entire island but is only able to govern in the south. Turkey doesn’t recognize the ROC. Unification efforts have stalled. Adding new strains, the U.S. eased its decades-old arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus in September, a move condemned by Turkey.