Introduction A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), but it is recognized only by Turkey. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 referendum. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004, although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under direct government control, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. However, individual Turkish Cypriots able to document their eligibility for Republic of Cyprus citizenship legally enjoy the same rights accorded to other citizens of European Union states. Nicosia continues to oppose EU efforts to establish direct trade and economic links to north Cyprus as a way of encouraging the Turkish Cypriot community to continue to support reunification.

Cyprus is associated with the king Cinyras, Teucer, the Cypriot sculptor Pygmalion, Adonis [8] and is the mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, of beauty and love, also known as Kypris or the Cyprian.According to Hesiod's Theogony, the goddess emerged fully grown from the sea at Petra Tou Romiou causing the sea to foam (Greek: Aphros). Her birth was famously depicted by the artist Botticelli in The Birth of Venus.

The earliest confirmed site of human activity is Aetokremnos, situated on the Akrotiri Peninsula on the south coast, indicating that hunter-gatherers were active on the island from around 10,000 BC and more settled village communities at around 8200 BC. These people probably practiced a limited form of agriculture and animal husbandry, supplemented by hunting. Important remains from this early-Neolithic period can be found at Mylouthkia, Shillourokambos, Kastros, Tenta and, later toward the end of this period, the famous village of Khirokitia.

During the Painted-Pottery Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods that followed, small scale settlements and activity areas were in use all over the island, and the people of Cyprus produced decorated pottery and figurines of stone quite distinct from the cultures of the surrounding mainland.

The Bronze Age also brought rich finds, during which the people learned to work the island's rich copper mines. The Mycenæan culture seems to have reached Cyprus at around 1600 BC, and several Greek and Phoenician settlements that belong to the Iron Age can be found on the island. Cyprus came into contact with Egypt about 1500 BC and became an important trade partner.

Around 1200 BC the Sea Peoples may have arrived in Cyprus, although the nature of their influence is disputed. The Phoenicians arrived at the island in the early first millennium BC. In those times Cyprus supplied the Greeks with timber for their fleets.

In the sixth century BC, Amasis of Egypt conquered Cyprus, which soon fell under the rule of the Persians when Cambyses conquered Egypt.When the Ionian Greeks revolted against Persia in 499 BC, they were joined by the Cypriots, except for the city of Amathus. The Cypriots were led by Onesilos, who dethroned his brother, the king of Salamis, for not wanting to fight for independence. The Persians reacted quickly, sending a considerable force against Onesilos and eventually putting down the Cypriot rebellion despite Ionian help.

After this defeat, the Greeks mounted various expeditions in attempt to take Cyprus from Persian rule, but all their efforts bore only temporary results. The island eventually regained Greek leadership under Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 BC) and, after his death, under his successors: in 318 BC it came under permanent control of the Hellenistic Ptolemies of Egypt; finally, it was annexed by Rome in 58-57 BC. Cyprus was visited by the Christian Apostles Paul of Tarsus and Barnabas, accompanied by St Mark, who came to the island at the outset of their first missionary journey in 45 AD. After their arrival at Salamis they proceeded to Paphos where they converted the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus to Christianity.

Post-classical and modern Cyprus

Cyprus became part of the Byzantine Empire [9] after the partitioning of the Roman Empire in 395, and remained so for almost eight hundred years, interrupted by a period of Muslim Arab domination and influence (643-966).

After the rule of the rebellious Isaac Komnenos, King Richard I of England captured the island in 1191 during the Third Crusade.Richard became the new ruler of Cyprus, gaining for the Crusade a major supply base that was not under immediate threat from the Saracens, as was Tyre. He and most of his army left Cyprus for the Holy Land early in June.

In 1192, the French knight Guy of Lusignan purchased the island, in compensation for the loss of his kingdom, from the Templars. The Republic of Venice took control in February 1489 after the abdication of Queen Caterina Cornaro, the widow of James II, the last Lusignan king of Cyprus.

Dating back to French rule and located in the heart of Nicosia's old town is Hamam Omerye - a true working example of Cyprus' rich culture and diversity, stone struggle, yet sense of freedom and flexibility. The site's history dates back to the 14th century, when it stood as an Augustinian church of St. Mary. Stone-built, with small domes, it is chronologically placed at around the time of Frankish and Venetian rule, approximately the same time that the city acquired its Venetian Walls.

Throughout the period of Venetian rule, Ottoman Turks raided and attacked Cyprus at will. The Greek population of Cyprus was given weapons and took part in the defense of the island. In 1489, the first year of Venetian control, Turks attacked the Karpasia Peninsula. In 1539 the Turkish fleet attacked and destroyed Limassol. Fearing the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire, the Venetians fortified Famagusta, Nicosia, and Kyrenia, but most other cities were easy prey.

In the summer of 1570, the Turks attacked again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. A fleet commanded by Piyale Pasha carried about 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery under the command of Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha, to the island and landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, laying siege to Nicosia. The city fell (September 9, 1570), 20,000 Nicosian Greeks were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted. Word of the massacre spread, and a few days later Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha took Kyrenia without having to fire a shot. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a heroic defense that lasted from September 1570 until August 1571.

In 1571, Mustapha Pasha converted the Augustinian church of St. Mary into a mosque, believing that this particular spot is where the second caliph Omer rested during his visit to Lefkosia. Most of the original building was destroyed by Ottoman artillery.In 2003, the EU funded a bi-communal UNDP/UNOPS project, "Partnership for the Future", in collaboration with Nicosia Municipality and Nicosia Master Plan to restore the building. The Hamam is still in use today and in 2006, received the Europa Nostra prize for the Conservation of Architectural Heritage.

Ottoman rule brought about two dramatic changes in the history of the island. For the first time since the Phoenicians in the ninth century BC, a new population group appeared, the Turks. The Ottoman Empire gave timars (land grants) to soldiers under the condition that they and their families would remain there permanently. This event radically changed the demographics of Cyprus. During the seventeenth century the Turkish population grew rapidly. Most of the Turks who had settled on the island during the three centuries of Ottoman rule remained when control of Cyprus under the Cyprus Convention) was ceded to Britain in 1878. By 1970, ethnic Turks represented 18% of the total population of the island, with ethnic Greeks representing the remainder. The distinction between the two groups was by religion and language.

The second important result of the Ottoman conquest benefited the Greek peasants, who no longer remained serfs[citation needed] of the land they were cultivating. Now they could acquire land by purchase, thus becoming land-owners. The Ottomans also applied the millet system to Cyprus, allowing religious authorities to govern their own non-Muslim minorities. This system reinforced the position of the Orthodox Church and the cohesion of the ethnic Greek population. Gradually the Archbishop of Cyprus became not only the religious but the ethnic leader as well. In this way the Church undertook the role of the guardian of Greek cultural legacy, a role the Church continued to have under British administration too. The Church itself paid no taxes to the Ottoman conquerors but was responsible for collecting taxes from the population and passing the funds on to the rulers.

The heavy taxes and the abuses against the population on the part of the Ottoman rulers in the early years after the Ottoman conquest gave rise to opposition, following which the Sultan ordered the Governor (the "Kadi") and the Treasurer to govern with justice.[citation needed] While the Sultan's orders indicated his goodwill toward the local population, the local administration proved indifferent, arbitrary and often corrupt, and the local rulers imposed a heavy burden of taxes.[citation needed] Disappointed at the mismanagement by Ottoman governors, Greek Cypriots began looking for outside help. Since their motherland, Greece, was also under Ottoman control, the Cypriots turned to Western Europe.Between 1572 and 1668, around twenty-eight bloody uprisings took place on the island, and in many of these both Greeks and Turkish peasants took part.[citation needed].

About 1660, in order to eliminate the mismanagement of the Ottoman administration, the Sultan recognized the Archbishop and Bishops as "the protectors of people" and the representatives of the Sultan. In 1670, Cyprus ceased to be a "pasaliki" for the Ottoman Empire and came under the jurisdiction of the Admiral of the Ottoman fleet. The Admiral sent an officer to govern in his place.

In 1703, Cyprus came under the jurisdiction of the Grand Vizier (Anthony Petane), who sent to the island a military and civil administrator. The title and function of this officer were awarded to the person who could raise the highest revenues (see Tax farming). As a result even heavier taxation was imposed. About 1760 the situation in Cyprus was intolerable. A terrible epidemic of plague, bad crops and earthquakes drove many Cypriots to emigrate. Even worse for the Greeks and Turks of the island, the newly-appointed Pasha doubled taxes in 1764. In the end, Chil Osman and 18 of his friends were killed by Greek and Turkish Cypriots, instigating an uprising under Khalil Agha, the commander of the guard of the castle of Kyrenia, as a leader which was eventually crushed and Khalil Agha was beheaded.

Detailed population statistics from Cyprus are available going back to the 1830s. The first large scale census of the Ottoman Empire in 1831 included Cyprus. Only men were counted, and information on religion was recorded. The male population at the time was 14,983 Muslims and 29,190 Christians.[10] This implies a total population of 88,000 for the island.

By 1872, the population of the island had risen to 144,000 comprising 44,000 Muslims and 100,000 Christians.[11]

British rule

Cyprus was placed under British administration on 4 June 1878 as a result of the Cyprus Convention, which granted control of the island to Britain in return for British support of the Ottoman Empire in the Russian-Turkish War.

Famagusta harbour was completed in June 1906, by which time the island was a strategic naval outpost for the British Empire, shoring up influence over the Eastern Mediterranean and Suez Canal, the crucial main route to India.On November 2, 1914, Cyprus was formally annexed by the United Kingdom after the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers. Many Cypriots, now British subjects, signed up to fight in the British Army, promised by the British that when the war finished Cyprus would be united with Greece. (This happened in both the First and in the Second World War.) In 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquished any claim to Cyprus. In 1925 Cyprus was declared a Crown colony.

The possibility of the island's return to the Ottoman Empire, from which the British had leased it in 1878, kept local Greek nationalist feelings in check. Once the island formally became a British colony, Greek Cypriots gradually became more assertive, ultimately demanding union with Greece. In January 1950 the Cypriot Church organized a referendum regarding union with Greece. The referendum was boycotted by the sizable Greek Cypriot Left and by the Turkish Cypriot community. Among those who participated, more than 90% voted in favor of the island's union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots claim that the enosis movement largely ignored the Turkish Cypriots minority presence on the island, but all peoples of Cyprus recognize that the British sought to quell any movement which threatened their military control of the island. (Local autonomy was proposed by the British but was rejected by the Greek Cypriots). In 1955 an armed struggle against British rule erupted with the foundation of EOKA. The organization's stated goal was the island's incorporation into Greece. The majority of non-leftist Greek Cypriots either took part directly or morally supported the EOKA struggle. By the end of the struggle in 1959, EOKA succeeded in shaking off British rule but failed to achieve the goal of annexation by Greece.

Instead Cyprus attained independence in 1960 after exhaustive negotiations between the United Kingdom (as the colonial power) and Greece and Turkey, the cultural "motherlands" for the two main communities in Cyprus. While retaining two Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, the United Kingdom granted Cyprus independence under a constitution allocating government posts and public offices by ethnic quota.

Post-independence (1960-1974)

The 1960 Constitution

Cyprus was declared an independent state on August 16, 1960. The new state's constitution, as defined by the Zürich and London Agreements, explicitly recognized two main ethnic communities in Cyprus: the Greek Cypriot community with approximately 82% of the population and the Turkish Cypriot community with approximately 18% of the population. These agreements were atypical in that they granted the numerically smaller Turkish Cypriot community political rights within the new republic greater than those of just an ethnic minority community. They were also atypical in that they placed constitutional limits on the absolute independence of the new republic by deeming certain articles unalterable and granting rights and responsibilities to the external guarantor states of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom.The complexity of these agreements and their limits on the new Republic’s independence reflected the complex situation in pre-independence Cyprus, where there was little or no cohesive pan-Cypriot national identity, with each of the two main ethnic communities seeking to pursue purely ethnically-based visions for Cyprus' future.

Before independence the Greek Cypriots, largely considering themselves Greeks living in Cyprus rather than Cypriots with Greek ethnicity, sought a Cypriot future based on Enosis, the ceding of Cyprus to Greece. This was thought to be a natural outcome during the Greek War of Independence as well as the fulfillment of the Greek Megali Idea. Enosis for Cyprus was silenced during the Greek War of Independence but was later renewed as the natural expected outcome of the end of British rule.

Turkish Cypriots likewise largely saw themselves as Turks living in Cyprus rather than Cypriots with Turkish ethnicity. For them the idea of handing Cyprus over to Greece after the end of British rule, and therefore becoming citizens in a Hellenic republic, was anathema. In opposition of the calls for Enosis, the Turkish Cypriot community developed the similar concept of Taksim. This was despite the fact that the two ethnic communities were geographically intermingled throughout Cyprus, and Taksim by its very nature would have required mass population movements. [12]

These differing expectations were why the Zürich and London Agreements, drawn up after lengthy negotiation principally among Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, became so complex and atypical, granting the Turkish Cypriot community political rights disproportionate to their numbers and containing permanent restrictions on the pursuit of both Enosis and Taksim alike. It is commonly held among Greek Cypriots that these agreements were imposed on them against their will by external powers and that Archbishop Makarios, the recognized leader of the Greek Cypriot community, only signed them under great pressure from the United Kingdom and Greece.

Uneasy coexistence

During the period from independence in 1960 to 1963 a series of disputes arose between the two communities over the implementation and interpretation of the agreements and constitution. These disputes involved:
The 70:30 ratio of Greek Cypriots to Turkish Cypriots in the public service mandated by the constitution but never achieved in practice,
The establishment of separate municipalities as required by the constitution but also not achieved,
The use by the Turkish Cypriot leadership of its veto on tax legislation as a means of gaining leverage over other areas of dispute, and
The status of the Turkish Cypriot vice president, who constitutionally had a veto regarding foreign policy but complained of frequently not being informed about foreign policy initiatives by the Greek Cypriot foreign minister.

Relations between the two communities became increasingly strained during this period, and distrust grew with both sides preparing for military confrontation by establishing groups of armed irregulars and bringing in military officers from the two respective 'motherlands'.[13] In addition the abuse of Constitutional safeguards by the Turkish Cypriot leadership made the Constitution ultimately unworkable, necessitating the submission of constitutional amendments to alter those provisions.

Intercommunal violence

In November 1963 Archbishop Makarios, by then the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, proposed thirteen amendments to the constitution. The amendments were said to be an attempt to make the cumbersome agreements and constitution of 1960 more workable and to remove causes of friction. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, however, claimed that the proposed amendments represented a fundamental change to the basis of the 1960 agreements and would have removed nearly all the political protections the Turkish Cypriot community gained in those agreements.[14] The proposed amendments were immediately rejected, and at Turkey's instigation, the Turkish Cypriot leadership decided to resort to insurrection against the state. The Turkish Cypriot members of the executive, legislature, judiciary, and the civil service withdrew from their posts, and military enclaves were created in Nicosia and other parts of the island. On 21 December 1963 a street brawl erupted in a Turkish quarter of Nicosia between a Turkish Cypriot crowd and plainclothes police officers, resulting in the outbreak of widespread intercommunal violence throughout the island.

Threats by Turkey during this period against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus were followed by UN resolutions calling, inter alia, for respect of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus. The Security Council debated the unfolding crisis in Cyprus at its 1094th to 1103rd meetings from 17 February to 4 March 1964,[15] and passed UN Security Council resolution 186 on 4 March 1964,[16] establishing a UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), and a Mediator was appointed. The peacekeeping force remains to this day. In his subsequent report (S/6253, A/6017, 26 March 1965), the Mediator, Dr Gala Plaza, criticised the 1960 legal framework and proposed certain amendments. These amendments were rejected by Turkey, resulting in serious deterioration of the situation.

Turkish Invasion of 1974

By 1974, dissatisfaction among right-wing Greek nationalists favoring the long-term goal of unification with Greece precipitated a coup d'etat against intending to assassinate President Makarios and declare Union with Greece. The coup was sponsored by the USA backed the military government of Greece and led by Greek officers in the Cypriot National Guard. The new regime replaced Makarios -who escaped the assassination attempt- with Nikos Giorgiades Sampson as president and Bishop Gennadios as head of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. Seven days later, on 20 July 1974, Turkey launched an air- and sea-based invasion of Cyprus, claiming its aim was "to re-instate the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus" per its obligation under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.

The coup was dissolved after strong resistance from the Greek Cypriot people, but the constitution was re-instated only in areas of Cyprus not under Turkish army occupation. Talks in Geneva involving Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the two Cypriot factions stalled, and on 12 August Turkey offered a proposal for a confederate system dividing the island into Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot regions. The Greek government was given 24 hours to accept the terms.[17] The talks soon collapsed after Turkish planes attacked Nicosia,[18] after which Turkish forces advanced from the previous cease-fire lines to gain control of 37% of the island. In the process, large numbers of Greek Cypriots lost their lives in the areas overrun by Turkish forces, and 170,000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from their homes and forced to move to Greek Cypriot-held territory.[19] The invasion also led to the displacement of around 50,000 Turkish Cypriots who migrated from areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus to Turkish army-controlled areas. Much of the migration occurred clandestinely, in defiance of Cypriot government-imposed restrictions aimed at preventing the separation of the island's population along ethnic lines.

As of today, there are 1,534 Greek Cypriots [20]and 502 Turkish Cypriots [21]unaccounted for, as well as over 150,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and over 60,000 Turkish Cypriot displaced persons. The events of the summer of 1974 have dominated Cypriot politics ever since and have been a major point of contention between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as well as between Greece and Turkey.

Since 1974, continual efforts to negotiate a settlement have met with varying levels of disagreement from both sides in the conflict. The Turkish government arranged an influx of settlers from Turkey, altering the demographics of the island in violation of the Geneva Convention. The exact number of these settlers is disputed but is believed to be more than 100,000.

Turkish Cypriots proclaimed a separate state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), under the leadership of Rauf Denktaş, on November 15, 1983. UN Security Council Resolution 541 of November 18, 1983 declared the action illegal and called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops. The Resolution also asked all member states to refrain from recognizing and providing assistance to the government of the secessionist entity.Currently only Turkey has provided recognition to TRNC, and refers to the Republic of Cyprus as 'the Greek Cypriot administration'.

Modern era (1975-present).

In 2004 Cyprus was scheduled to join the European Union (EU), and the UN-backed Annan Plan for Cyprus[22] sought to reunify the island before EU accession. The UN plan was put to a vote throughout the island, and Turkish Cypriots accepted the plan while Greek Cypriots rejected it. As a result Cyprus entered the EU as a divided country. EU countries recognize the government of the Republic of Cyprus and officially treat the north as a militarily occupied region. The EU acquis communautaire (European Union law) applies only to those regions under the control of the Republic of Cyprus, although EU ministers have stressed their intention to open direct trade links with the occupied area.

The current state of affairs has affected, but not derailed, negotiations with Turkey regarding its own bid for EU accession. Since the 1974 invasion, the economy of Cyprus has grown substantially, and Cypriots enjoy a high standard of living. The north maintains a lower standard of living partially due to international embargoes but nevertheless it receives aid from Turkey from which TRNC is heavily depended on. The Turkish Cypriot administration has allowed the legally questionable sale of real estate, consisting largely of property owned by Greek Cypriots before the 1974 Turkish invasion, to private buyers from overseas. In 2005 the UK's Guardian newspaper reported that up to 10,000 Europeans had invested in property in the north of Cyprus. This has caused concern in the south, highlighted by an event in 2006 involving Cherie Booth, the wife of Britain's then-prime minister. Mrs. Booth, in her capacity as an advocate at law, represented a UK couple, the Orams, who had been taken to court by Greek Cypriots who claimed ownership of the land on which the Orams had built a house[23]. Tassos Papadopoulos, President of the Republic of Cyprus since 2003, referred to Mrs. Booth's decision to represent the Orams as "a provocative action", as reported in the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

On 5 December 2006, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended a further six-month extension in the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force that has been deployed on the island for over four decades.[24] Mr. Annan said that, while the situation remained “calm and stable with no major violations of the ceasefire lines,” he regretted the continued stalemate in the political process and the “missed opportunities” of the past 10 years.

In July 2006 the island served as a safe haven for people, most of them foreigners, fleeing Lebanon due to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.[25]

In March 2007, Greek Cypriot authorities demolished a wall that for decades stood at the boundary between the Greek Cypriot controlled side and the UN buffer zone[26] . The demolished wall had cut across Ledra Street, which runs through the heart of the city's tourist area and is seen as the strongest symbol of the island's 32-year partition. This move came shortly after the Turkish Cypriots dismantled a footbridge close to Ledra street in December 2006 as a gesture of good will. After its erection in 2005, the footbridge was the cause of the withdrawal of Greek Cypriot plans to demolish the Ledra street wall, due to the bridge's encroachment of the UN buffer zone[27]. Despite these developments, Ledra street cannot yet be opened for the public for crossing to the other side, due to the Greek Cypriot administration's demands for the Turkish Cypriot administration to pull its troops back from the area

Geography Location: Middle East, island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 33 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in north Cyprus)
land: 9,240 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Area - comparative: about 0.6 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries: total: 150.4 km (approximately)
border sovereign base areas: Akrotiri 47.4 km, Dhekelia 103 km (approximately )
Coastline: 648 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters
Terrain: central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Olympus 1,951 m
Natural resources: copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
Land use: arable land: 10.81%
permanent crops: 4.32%
other: 84.87% (2005)
Irrigated land: 400 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 0.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.21 cu km/yr (27%/1%/71%)
per capita: 250 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: moderate earthquake activity; droughts
Environment - current issues: water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island's largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia)

Cyprus gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, with the UK, Greece and Turkey retaining limited rights to intervene in internal affairs.

In July 1974, after an attempted coup against the Makarios government by extreme right-wing factions aided by the Greek junta, Turkey invaded Cyprus. The coup had been quashed before the arrival of Turkish paratroopers. Turkey has ever since occupied the northern part by a military force estimated at 35 to 60 thousand troops[citation needed]. Cyprus has been divided, de facto, into the Greek-Cypriot controlled rump of the Republic, somewhat less than two-thirds of the island and the Turkish-occupied approximately one third in the north. Further, British sovereign bases under the term of the establishment of the Republic in 1960, occupy 99 square miles (256 square kilometers). The Republic of Cyprus is the legitimate internationally-recognised government of Cyprus. Turkey aside, all foreign governments and the United Nations recognise the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island of Cyprus.

The Turkish Cypriot administration of the northern part of the island, together with Turkey, rejects the Republic's rule over the whole island and refers to it as the "Greek Authority of Southern Cyprus". The TRNC's territory, known internationally as the "occupied area", extends over the northern 36[28] percent of the island.

The other power with territory on island of Cyprus is the United Kingdom. Under the independence agreement, the UK retained entitlement to lease two areas on the southern coast of the island, around Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Known collectively as the UK sovereign base areas, they are used as military bases.

People Population: 788,457 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.9% (male 80,273/female 76,826)
15-64 years: 68.3% (male 272,924/female 265,738)
65 years and over: 11.8% (male 40,458/female 52,238) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 35.1 years
male: 34.1 years
female: 36.2 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.527% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 12.56 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 7.72 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.045 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.027 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.774 male(s)/female
total population: 0.997 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.98 years
male: 75.6 years
female: 80.49 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.8 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 1,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Cypriot(s)
adjective: Cypriot
Ethnic groups: Greek 77%, Turkish 18%, other 5% (2001)
Religions: Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, other (includes Maronite and Armenian Apostolic) 4%
Languages: Greek, Turkish, English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.6%
male: 98.9%
female: 96.3% (2003 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Cyprus
conventional short form: Cyprus
local long form: Kypriaki Dimokratia/Kibris Cumhuriyeti
local short form: Kypros/Kibris
note: the Turkish Cypriot community, which administers the northern part of the island, refers to itself as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC)
Government type: republic
note: a separation of the two ethnic communities inhabiting the island began following the outbreak of communal strife in 1963; this separation was further solidified after the Turkish intervention in July 1974 that followed a Greek junta-supported coup attempt gave the Turkish Cypriots de facto control in the north; Greek Cypriots control the only internationally recognized government; on 15 November 1983 Turkish Cypriot "President" Rauf DENKTASH declared independence and the formation of a "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), which is recognized only by Turkey
Capital: name: Nicosia (Lefkosia)
geographic coordinates: 35 10 N, 33 22 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 6 districts; Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos; note - Turkish Cypriot area's administrative divisions include Kyrenia, all but a small part of Famagusta, and small parts of Lefkosia (Nicosia) and Larnaca
Independence: 16 August 1960 (from UK); note - Turkish Cypriots proclaimed self-rule on 13 February 1975 and independence in 1983, but these proclamations are only recognized by Turkey
National holiday: Independence Day, 1 October (1960); note - Turkish Cypriots celebrate 15 November (1983) as Independence Day
Constitution: 16 August 1960
note: from December 1963, the Turkish Cypriots no longer participated in the government; negotiations to create the basis for a new or revised constitution to govern the island and for better relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been held intermittently since the mid-1960s; in 1975, following the 1974 Turkish intervention, Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus," which became the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)" when the Turkish Cypriots declared their independence in 1983; a new constitution for the "TRNC" passed by referendum on 5 May 1985, although the "TRNC" remains unrecognized by any country other than Turkey
Legal system: based on English common law, with civil law modifications; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Dimitris CHRISTOFIAS (since 28 February 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; post of vice president is currently vacant; under the 1960 constitution, the post is reserved for a Turkish Cypriot
head of government: President Dimitris CHRISTOFIAS (since 28 February 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed jointly by the president and vice president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 17 and 24 February 2008 (next to be held in February 2013)
election results: Dimitris CHRISTOFIAS elected president; percent of vote (first round) - Ioannis KASOULIDIS 33.5%, Dimitris CHRISTOFIAS 33.3%, Tassos PAPADOPOULOS 31.8%; (second round) Dimitris CHRISTOFIAS 53.4%, Ioannis KASOULIDIS 46.6%
note: Mehmet Ali TALAT became "president" of the "TRNC", 24 April 2005, after "presidential" elections on 17 April 2005; results - Mehmet Ali TALAT 55.6%, Dervis EROGLU 22.7%; Ferdi Sabit SOYER is "TRNC prime minister" and heads the Council of Ministers (cabinet) in coalition with "Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister" Turgay AVCI
Legislative branch: unicameral - area under government control: House of Representatives or Vouli Antiprosopon (80 seats, 56 assigned to the Greek Cypriots, 24 to Turkish Cypriots; note - only those assigned to Greek Cypriots are filled; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: Assembly of the Republic or Cumhuriyet Meclisi (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: area under government control: last held 21 May 2006 (next to be held 2011); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: last held 14 December 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
election results: area under government control: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - AKEL 31.1%, DISY 30.3%, DIKO 17.9%, EDEK 8.9%, EURO.KO 5.8%, Greens 2.0%; seats by party - AKEL (Communist) 18, DISY 18, DIKO 11, EDEK 5, EURO.KO 3, Greens 1; area administered by Turkish Cypriots: Assembly of the Republic - percent of vote by party - CTP 35.8%, UBP 32.3%, Peace and Democratic Movement 13.4%, DP 12.3%; seats by party - CTP 19, UBP 18, Peace and Democratic Movement 6, DP 7; note - "TRNC" seats by party as of September 2006 - CTP 25, OP 3, UBP 13, DP 6, BDH 1, independents 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed jointly by the president and vice president)
note: there is also a Supreme Court in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots
Political parties and leaders: area under government control: Democratic Party or DIKO [Marios KAROYIAN]; Democratic Rally or DISY [Nikos ANASTASIADHIS]; European Democracy or EURO.DI [Prodromos PRODROMOU] (evolved from For Europe which merged with New Horizons); European Party or EURO.KO [Demetris SYLLOURIS]; Fighting Democratic Movement or ADIK [Dinos MIKHAILIDIS]; Green Party of Cyprus [George PERDIKIS]; Movement for Social Democrats or EDEK [Yannakis OMIROU]; Political Movement of Hunters [Michalis PAFITANIS]; Progressive Party of the Working People or AKEL (Communist Party) [Dimitrios CHRISTOFIAS]; United Democrats or EDI [Michalis PAPAPETROU]
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: Communal Liberation Party or TKP [Huseyin ANGOLEMLI]; Cyprus Socialist Party or KSP [Kazim ONGEN]; Democratic Party or DP [Serder DENKTASH]; Freedom and Reform Party or OP [Turgay AVCI]; National Unity Party or UBP [Tahsin ERTUGRULOGLU]; Nationalist Justice Party or MAP [Ata TEPE]; New Party or YP [Huseyin TURAN]; Our Party or BP [Okyay SADIKOGLU]; Patriotic Unity Movement or YBH [Oguz OZEN]; Peace and Democratic Movement or BDH [Mustafa AKINCI]; Renewal Progress Party or YAP [Ertugrul HASIPOGLU]; Republican Turkish Party or CTP [Ferdi Sabit SOYER]; United Cyprus Party or BKP [Isset IZCAN]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Confederation of Cypriot Workers or SEK (pro-West); Confederation of Revolutionary Labor Unions or Dev-Is; Federation of Turkish Cypriot Labor Unions or Turk-Sen; Pan-Cyprian Labor Federation or PEO (Communist controlled)
International organization participation: Australia Group, C, CE, EBRD, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Andreas KAKOURIS
chancery: 2211 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-5772, 462-0873
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6710
consulate(s) general: New York
note: representative of the Turkish Cypriot community in the US is Hilmi AKIL; office at 1667 K Street NW, Washington, DC; telephone [1] (202) 887-6198
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald L. SCHLICHER
embassy: corner of Metochiou and Ploutarchou Streets, 2407 Engomi, Nicosia
mailing address: P. O. Box 24536, 1385 Nicosia
telephone: [357] (22) 393939
FAX: [357] (22) 780944
Flag description: white with a copper-colored silhouette of the island (the name Cyprus is derived from the Greek word for copper) above two green crossed olive branches in the center of the flag; the branches symbolize the hope for peace and reconciliation between the Greek and Turkish communities
note: the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" flag has a white field with narrow horizontal red stripes positioned a small distance from the top and bottom edges between which is centered a red crescent and red five-pointed star


The 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus establishes Greek and Turkish as official languages.[41] Due to the geographic separation of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities following the Turkish invasion in 1974, Greek now predominates in the South and Turkish in the North. English is widely understood on both sides of the island, especially among the younger generations. The large number of foreigners living in Cyprus has contributed to the maintenance of English as a semi-official language. In the Greek-speaking south most forms and services, both public and private, are available in both English and Greek (bank contracts, phone bills, tax returns etc). English documents from abroad, such as university degrees, birth certificates and the like, do not need to be translated into Greek to be used officially. English is also used as the primary means of communication between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, especially among younger generations. Political contacts between the two communities are carried out exclusively in English.

Prior to the de facto partition of the island in 1974, Greek was widely understood among Turkish Cypriots living in mixed communities. To this day, 19% of the residents of Northern Cyprus report being able to speak Greek [42]. It should be noted, however, that even prior to 1974, Turkish Cypriots attended separate, monolingual Turkish-language schools and thus never achieved mastery of the written Greek language.

For everyday informal (oral) communication, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots use local dialects of their respective languages which are different from the "standard" versions: Greek Cypriot Dialect and Turkish-Cypriot dialect. Native speakers from the Greek mainland report difficulty in understanding their linguistic kin on the island. However, the Turkish Cypriot dialect is fully comprehensible to mainland Turkey with accent being the main difference. Almost everybody on the island can communicate in standard Greek/Turkish, albeit with an accent. Neither political administrations on the island implement any instruction of the others language within the educational curriculum.


Notable artists include Rhea Bailey, Mihail Kkasialos, Theodoulos Gregoriou, Helene Black, George Skoteinos, Hüseyin Çakmak, Kalopedis family, Nicos Nicolaides, Stass Paraskos, Arestís Stasí, Telemachos Kanthos, Adamantios Diamantis and Konstantia Sofokleous


Halloumi, (a cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk) originates from Cyprus, and is commonly served sliced and grilled as an appetizer. Seafood dishes of Cyprus include calamari (squid), octopus in red wine, (red mullet), and sea bass. Cucumber and tomato are used widely in Cypriot cuisine. Other common vegetable preparations include potatoes in olive oil and parsley, pickled cauliflower and beets, kolokasi (taro) and asparagus. Meat dishes marinated in dried coriander seeds and wine, and eventually dried and smoked, such as lounza, charcoal grilled lamb (souvla), sheftalia (minced meat wrapped in mesentery), as well as cracked wheat (pourgouri) are some of the traditional delicacies of the island.


Cypriot composers include Solon Michaelides, Evagoras Karagiorgis, Nicolas Economou, Marios Tokas, Alkinoos Ioannidis and Marios Joannou Elia. Cypriot pop singers and composers include Michalis Hatzigiannis, Anna Vissi, Lia Vissi, Alexia (Cypriot singer), Costandina, Costandinos Christoforou, Despoina Olympiou, Marianta Pieridi, Marlen Angelidou, Lisa Andreas, Evridiki, Nikola K, Michalis Violaris, Terlikas, Kiriakou Pelagia, Costas Cacoyiannis, Giorgos Theofanous, Christodoulos Siganos, Andreas Ektoras, Stavros Costandinou, Stella Georgiadou, Alexandros Panayi, Andy Paul, Evridiki, Giorgos Theofanous, Isin Karaca and Ziynet Sali.


Governing bodies of sport in Cyprus include the Cyprus Automobile Association, Cyprus Basketball Federation, Cyprus Cricket Association, Cyprus Football Association, Cyprus Rugby Federation and the Cyprus Volleyball Federation. Marcos Baghdatis is one of the most successful Cypriot tennis players. He reached the Wimbledon semi-final in 2006. Also Kyriakos Ioannou a Cypriot high jumper born in Limassol achieved a jump of 2.35m at the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Osaka, Japan, in 2007 winning the bronze medal

The island has a keen football culture. Notable football teams include Anorthosis Famagusta FC, AEK Larnaca, AEL Limassol, AEP Paphos FC, APEP Pitsilia, APOEL FC, APOP Kinyras Peyias FC, Alki Larnaca FC, Apollon Limassol, Aris Limassol F.C., Ayia Napa FC, Digenis Akritas Morphou, Doxa Katokopia, Enosis Neon Paralimni FC, ENTHOI Lakatamia FC, Ethnikos Achna FC, Nea Salamis FC, Olympiakos Nicosia, AC Omonia and PAEEK. Stadiums or sports venues in Cyprus include the GSP Stadium(the largest and home venue of the Cypiot national football team), Makario Stadium, Neo GSZ Stadium, Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium and Tsirion Stadium. The Cyprus Rally is also on the sporting agenda.


Newspapers include the Cyprus Mail, the Cyprus Observer, Famagusta Gazette, Cyprus Today, Cyprus Weekly, Financial Mirror, Haravgi, Makhi, Phileleftheros, Politis (Cyprus), and Simerini.

TV channels include ANT1 Cyprus, Alfa TV, CNC Plus TV, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, Lumiere TV, Middle East Television, Mega Channel Cyprus and Sigma TV.


Cyprus has a continuous literary tradition since the Ancient times. Literary production of the antiquity includes the Cypria, an epic poem probably composed in the later seventh century BCE and attributed to Stasinus. The Cypria is one of the very first specimens of Greek and European poetry[43]. Zeno of Citium was the founder of the Stoic philosophy. Medieval years was also a period with a significant literary production, related not only to religion. Epic poetry, notably the "acritic songs", flourished in that period. Two chronicles, one written by Leontios Machairas and the other by Voustronios, refer to the period under French domination (15th century). Poèmes d' amour (16th century) written in medieval Greek Cypriot are sonnets, some of them are actual translations of poems written by Petrarch, Bembo, Ariosto and G. Sannazzaro[44]. Modern literary figures from Cyprus include the poet and writer Kostas Montis, poet Kyriakos Charalambides, poet Michalis Pasardis, writer Nicos Nicolaides, Stylianos Atteshlis, Altheides and also Demetris Th. Gotsis. Dimitris Lipertis and Vasilis Michaelides are folk poets who wrote poems mainly in the Cypriot-Greek dialect. Some notable Turkish Cypriot poets include Nesie Yasin and Osman Türkay. Cyprus has influenced Literature in general as the birth place of Venus Goddess of Love. The majority of the play Othello by William Shakespeare took place on the island of Cyprus. Cyprus also figures in religious literature, most notably in Acts of the Apostles where the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached on the island.

Economy Economy - overview: The area of the Republic of Cyprus under government control has a market economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for 78% of GDP. Tourism and financial services are the most important sectors; erratic growth rates over the past decade reflect the economy's reliance on tourism, which often fluctuates with political instability in the region and economic conditions in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the economy in the area under government control grew a healthy 3.7% to 3.8% per year in 2004, 2005 and 2006, well above the EU average. Cyprus joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2) in May 2005 and adopted the euro as its national currency on 1 January 2008. The government initiated an aggressive austerity program, which cut the budget deficit to well below 3% of GDP. As in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, water shortages are a perennial problem; a few desalination plants are now on line. After 10 years of drought, the country received substantial rainfall from 2001-04 alleviating immediate concerns. Rainfall in 2005 and 2006, however, was well below average, making water rationing a necessity in 2007. The Turkish Cypriot economy has roughly 30% of the per capita GDP of the south, and economic growth tends to be volatile, given the north's relative isolation, bloated public sector, reliance on the Turkish lira, and small market size. The Turkish Cypriot economy grew around 10.6% in 2006-07, fueled by growth in the construction and education sectors, as well as increased employment of Turkish Cypriots in the area under government control. Agriculture and services, together, employ more than half of the work force. The Turkish Cypriots are heavily dependent on transfers from the Turkish Government. Ankara directly finances around one-third of the "TRNC's" budget. Aid from Turkey has reached over $400 million annually in recent years.
GDP (purchasing power parity): area under government control: $21.41 billion
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $4.54 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): area under government control: $17.42 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: area under government control: 3.9%
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 10.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): area under government control: $27,100
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $7,135 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: area under government control: agriculture 3.1%; industry 19.1%; services 77.8% (2007 est.)
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: agriculture 10.6%; industry 20.5%; services 68.9% (2003 est.)
Labor force: area under government control: 391,000
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 95,025 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: area under government control: agriculture 7.4%, industry 38.2%, services 54.4% (2004 est.)
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: agriculture 14.5%, industry 29%, services 56.5% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: area under government control: 3.8% (2005 est.)
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 5.6% (2004 est.) (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 29 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): area under government control: 2.3% (2007 est.)
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 9.1% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): area under government control: 19.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: area under government control: revenues: $8.957 billion; expenditures: $9.16 billion (2007 est.)
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: revenues: $722 million; expenditures: $1.04 billion (2003 est.)
Public debt: area under government control: 61.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: citrus, vegetables, barley, grapes, olives, vegetables; poultry, pork, lamb; dairy, cheese
Industries: tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum production, ship repair and refurbishment, textiles, light chemicals, metal products, wood, paper, stone, and clay products
Industrial production growth rate: area under government control: 2%
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 6.4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: area under government control: 4.117 billion kWh
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 998.9 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: area under government control: 3.953 billion kWh (2004)
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 797.9 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: area under government control: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: area under government control: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: area under government control: 300 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: area under government control: 56,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: area under government control: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: area under government control: 51,640 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: area under government control: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006)
Current account balance: area under government control: -$1.236 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: area under government control: $1.496 billion f.o.b.
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $69 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: area under government control: citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, cement, clothing and cigarettes
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: citrus, dairy, potatoes, textiles
Exports - partners: UK 15.1%, Greece 14.2%, France 7.7%, Germany 4.9%, UAE 4.2% (2006)
Imports: area under government control: $6.828 billion f.o.b.
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $415.2 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: area under government control: consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, intermediate goods, machinery, transport equipment
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: vehicles, fuel, cigarettes, food, minerals, chemicals, machinery
Imports - partners: Greece 17.6%, Italy 11.4%, Germany 9%, UK 8.9%, Israel 6.3%, France 4.3%, Netherlands 4.3%, China 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: area under government control: $59.86 million
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $700 million under a July 2006 agreement, Turkey plans to provide the area administered by Turkish Cypriots 1.875 billion YTL ($1.3 billion) over three years (600 million YTL in 2006, 625 million YTL in 2007 and 650 million YTL in 2008); Turkey has forgiven most past aid (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: area under government control: $6.176 billion
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $NA (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: area under government control: $26.12 billion
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: $NA (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares: area under government control: $6.583 billion (2005)
Currency (code): area under government control: Cypriot pound (CYP); euro (EUR) after 1 January 2008
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: Turkish New lira (TRY)
Currency code: CYP; TRL
Exchange rates: Cypriot pounds per US dollar: 0.4286 (2007), 0.4586 (2006), 0.4641 (2005), 0.4686 (2004), 0.5174 (2003)
Turkish lira per US dollar: 1.319 (2007), 1.4451 (2006), 1.3436 (2005), 1.426 million (2004), 1.501 million (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: area under government control: 408,300 (2006); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 86,228 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular: area under government control: 777,500 (2006); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 143,178 (2002)
Telephone system: general assessment: excellent in both area under government control and area administered by Turkish Cypriots
domestic: open-wire, fiber-optic cable, and microwave radio relay
international: country code - 357 (area administered by Turkish Cypriots uses the country code of Turkey - 90); a number of submarine cables, including the SEA-ME-WE-3, combine to provide connectivity to Western Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; tropospheric scatter; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 2 Eutelsat, 2 Intersputnik, and 1 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations: area under government control: AM 5, FM 76, shortwave 0
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: AM 1, FM 20, shortwave 1 (2004)
Radios: Greek Cypriot area: 310,000 (1997); Turkish Cypriot area: 56,450 (1994)
Television broadcast stations: area under government control: 8
area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 2 (plus 4 relay) (2004)
Televisions: Greek Cypriot area: 248,000 (1997); Turkish Cypriot area: 52,300 (1994)
Internet country code: .cy
Internet hosts: 36,964 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 6 (2000)
Internet users: 356,600 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 16 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Heliports: 10 (2007)
Roadways: total: 14,630 km (area under government control: 12,280 km; area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 2,350 km)
paved: area under government control: 7,979 km (includes 257 km of expressways); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 1,370 km
unpaved: area under government control: 4,301 km; area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 980 km (2006)
Merchant marine: total: 868 ships (1000 GRT or over) 19,408,418 GRT/30,843,848 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 311, cargo 197, chemical tanker 58, container 163, liquefied gas 7, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 24, petroleum tanker 64, refrigerated cargo 17, roll on/roll off 16, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 724 (Austria 1, Belgium 1, Canada 2, China 10, Cuba 2, Denmark 1, Estonia 5, Germany 197, Greece 292, Hong Kong 2, India 1, Iran 2, Ireland 1, Israel 4, Italy 5, Japan 19, South Korea 2, Latvia 1, Lebanon 1, Netherlands 23, Norway 17, Philippines 1, Poland 18, Portugal 1, Russia 50, Singapore 1, Slovenia 4, Spain 7, Sweden 2, Switzerland 3, Syria 2, Turkey 1, Ukraine 6, UAE 10, UK 21, US 8)
registered in other countries: 133 (Antigua and Barbuda 2, Bahamas 20, Belize 1, Cambodia 9, Comoros 1, Georgia 1, Gibraltar 5, Greece 5, Isle of Man 4, Liberia 5, Malta 15, Marshall Islands 39, Norway 2, Panama 15, Russia 2, Samoa 1, St Vincent and The Grenadines 3, Turkey 2, UK 1, unknown 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals: area under government control: Larnaca, Limassol, Vasilikos; area administered by Turkish Cypriots: Famagusta, Kyrenia
Military Military branches: Republic of Cyprus: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG; includes air and naval elements); north Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot Security Force (GKK)
Military service age and obligation: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG): 18-50 years of age for compulsory military service for all Greek Cypriot males; 17 years of age for voluntary service; females are not conscripted; age of military eligibility 17 to 50; length of normal service is 25 months with a minimum of 3 months (2006)
Manpower available for military service: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG):
males age 18-49: 184,352
females age 18-49: 175,567 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG):
males age 18-49: 150,750
females age 18-49: 144,344 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG):
males age 18-49: 6,578
females age 18-49: 6,200 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.8% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: hostilities in 1974 divided the island into two de facto autonomous entities, the internationally recognized Cypriot Government and a Turkish-Cypriot community (north Cyprus); the 1,000-strong UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has served in Cyprus since 1964 and maintains the buffer zone between north and south; on 1 May 2004, Cyprus entered the European Union still divided, with the EU's body of legislation and standards (acquis communitaire) suspended in the north
Refugees and internally displaced persons: IDPs: 210,000 (both Turkish and Greek Cypriots; many displaced for over 30 years) (2006)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: Cyprus is primarily a destination country for a large number of women trafficked from Eastern and Central Europe, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic for the purpose of sexual exploitation; traffickers continued to fraudulently recruit victims for work as dancers in cabarets and nightclubs on short-term "artiste" visas, for work in pubs and bars on employment visas, or for illegal work on tourist or student visas; there were credible reports of female domestic workers from India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines forced to work excessively long hours and denied proper compensation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Cyprus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and failed to show evidence of increasing efforts to address its serious trafficking for sexual exploitation problem; however, it is making significant efforts to do so
Illicit drugs: minor transit point for heroin and hashish via air routes and container traffic to Europe, especially from Lebanon and Turkey; some cocaine transits as well; despite a strengthening of anti-money-laundering legislation, remains vulnerable to money laundering; reporting of suspicious transactions in offshore sector remains weak