Cyprus

 

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 intercommoned 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.

 

Geography:
Location: Middle East, island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 33 00 E
People:
Population: 1,138,071 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.2% (male 93,280/female 88,022)

15-64 years: 73.4% (male 427,752/female 394,578)

65 years and over: 10.4% (male 50,761/female 66,096) (2011 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

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: area under government control: 405,000 (2011); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 86,228 (2002)
Telephones – mobile cellular: area under government control: 1.09 million (2011); area administered by Turkish Cypriots: 147,522 (2002)
Transportation:
Airports: 15 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 13

2,438 to 3,047 m: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Republic of Cyprus: Greek Cypriot National Guard (Ethniki Forea, EF; includes air and naval elements); northern Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot Security Force (GKK) (2009)
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 (2009)

Economy:

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, financial services, and real estate 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 by an average of 3.6% per year during the period of 2000-06, 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. An aggressive austerity program in the preceding years, aimed at paving the way for the euro, helped turn a soaring fiscal deficit (6.3% in 2003) into a surplus of 1.5% in 2007. 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.

Transnational Issues:

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