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Republic of Cyprus

Kypriaki Dimokratia

CAPITAL: Nicosia

FLAG: The national flag consists of the map of Cyprus in gold set above two green olive branches on a white field.

ANTHEM: Ethnikos Hymnos (National Hymn), beginning "Se gnorizo apo tin kopsi" ("I recognize you by the keenness of your spade").

MONETARY UNIT: The Cyprus pound (c£) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 pound, and notes of 50 cents, and 1, 5, 10, and 20 pounds. c£1 = $2.12766 (or $1 = c£0.47) as of 2005. The Turkish lira (tl) of 100 kuruş is the currency in the Turkish Cypriot zone.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard. Imperial and local measures also are used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Epiphany, 6 January; Late President Makarios' Day, 19 January; Greek Independence Day, 25 March; Cyprus National Day, 1 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Cyprus Independence Day, 1 October; Greek Resistance Day, 28 October; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Holidays observed by the Turkish Cypriot community include Founding of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, 13 February; Turkish National Sovereignty and Children's Day, 23 April; Turkish Youth and Sports Day, 19 May; Turkish Victory Day, 30 August; Turkish Independence Day, 29 October. Movable Christian religious holidays include Green Monday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Monday. Movable Muslim religious holidays are observed in the Turkish Cypriot zone.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.


Cyprus is the largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia. Including small island outposts of Cape Andreas known as the Klidhes, its area is 9,250 sq km (3,571 sq mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Cyprus is about three-fifths the size of the state of Connecticut. Since 1974, the northern third of the island, or 3,367 sq km (1,300 sq mi), has been under the de facto control of the Turkish Cypriot Federated State (proclaimed in 1975), which on 15 November 1983 proclaimed its independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; the southern two-thirds (5,884 sq km/2,272 sq mi) are controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. A narrow zone called the "green line," patrolled by UN forces, separates the two regions and divides Nicosia, the national capital.

Cyprus is situated in the extreme northeast corner of the Mediterranean; it is 71 km (44 mi) s of Turkey, 105 km (65 mi) w of Syria, and some 800 km (500 mi) e of the Greek mainland. Cyprus extends 227 km (141 mi) enewsw from Cape Andreas to Cape Drepanon and 97 km (60 mi) ssennw. The average width is 5672 km (3545 mi); the narrow peninsula known as the Karpas, which is nowhere more than 16 km (10 mi) wide, extends 74 km (46 mi) northeastward to Cape Andreas. Cyprus has a total coastline of 648 km (403 mi).

The capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia, is located in the north central part of the country.


Two dissimilar mountain systems, flanking a central plain, occupy the greater part of the island. The Troodos Massif, in the southwest, attaining its highest point in Mt. Olympus (1,953 m/6,406 ft), sends out numerous spurs to the northwestern, northern, and southern coasts. In the north, a geologically older range, the Kyrenia Mountains, extend more than 160 km (100 mi) along the coast in a series of rocky peaks, capped often by medieval castles. Between these principal formations lies the Mesaoria, a low plain extending from Famagusta Bay on the east to Morphou Bay on the west. Once forested, this now treeless region, varying in width from 1632 km (1020 mi), contains the bulk of the island's cultivable and pastoral area. There are few lakes or rivers; rivers are little more than rocky channels that carry away torrents during the thaw of spring and early summer.


Cyprus is for the most part dry and sunny. The warm currents of the Mediterranean ensure mild winters but bring humidity to the coastal area in the summer, when the central plain is hot and dry. On the hills, daily sunshine is interrupted only occasionally by a wet period rarely lasting more than a week. The mean annual temperature is about 20°c (68°f). A cool, rainy season lasts from November to March. In winter, snow covers the higher peaks of the Troodos; elsewhere the temperature seldom falls below freezing, and conditions are mild and bracing. Rainfall is erratic and varies greatly in different parts of the island. The annual average precipitation ranges from below 30 cm (12 in) in the west-central lowlands to more than 114 cm (45 in) in the higher parts of the southern massif. The main agricultural areas receive rainfall of from 3040 cm (1216 in) annually. Earthquakes are not uncommon.


Except for some small lowland areas in which eucalyptus has been planted, the forests are natural growths of great antiquity, from which the Phoenician shipbuilders drew much of their timber. Forests consist principally of Aleppo pine; other important conifers, locally dominant, are the stone pine, cedar (which is becoming rare), Mediterranean cypress, and juniper, the last growing chiefly on the lower slopes of the Kyrenia Mountains. Oriental plane and alder are plentiful in the valleys, while on the hills, Olympus dwarf oak mingles with pines of various species. Wild flowers grow in profusion, and herbs are numerous.

Cyprus has few wild animals, but birdlife is varied and includes partridge, quail, snipe, plover, and woodcock. Eagles are commonly seen in the mountains.


Under the Town and Country Planning Law of 1972, the government has the power to issue "reservation orders" in order to protect historic buildings, trees, or other specific points. Other conservation laws seek to preserve forests, restrict the hunting of wildlife, and maintain environmental health.

The most significant environmental problems in Cyprus are water pollution, erosion, and wildlife preservation. The purity of the water supply is threatened by industrial pollutants, pesticides used in agricultural areas, and the lack of adequate sewage treatment. Other water resource problems include uneven rainfall levels at different times of the year and the absence of natural reservoir catchments. Cyprus has about 0.2 cu mi of fresh water, of which 91% is used for farming activity. One hundred percent of Cyprus's urban and rural dwellers have access to safe water.

Another environmental concern is erosion, especially erosion of Cyprus's coastline. In accordance with the Foreshore Protection Law, several coastal areas have been zoned to prevent undesirable development. The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has primary responsibility for environmental matters. The expansion of urban centers threatens the habitat of Cyprus' wildlife.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 3 types of mammals, 11 species of birds, 3 types of reptiles, 7 species of fish, and 1 species of plant. Threatened species included the Cyprus spiny mouse, the black vulture, the Mediterranean killfish, the imperial eagle, and the wild goat. About 20 species of flora are protected. The Cyprus mouflon or wild sheep is protected in the Paphos Forest game reserve.


The population of Cyprus (both north and south) in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 965,000, which placed it at number 152 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 11% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 20% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 95 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.4%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The fertility rate at 2 births per woman is not enough to sustain the population. The projected population for the year 2025 was 1,087,000. The population density was 104 per sq km (270 per sq mi), with the Turkish sector more sparsely populated than the Greek zone.

The UN estimated that 65% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.88%. The capital city, Nicosia, had a population of 205,000 in that year. Other chief townsall seaportsare Limassol, Famagusta, Larnaca, Paphos, and Kyrenia.


Cyprus suffered massive population shifts following the Turkish military occupation of the northern third of the island in July 1974. Some 120,000 Greek Cypriots fled from the occupied area to the south, and about 60,000 Turkish Cypriots fled in the opposite direction.

In the 1990s, asylum seekers originated mainly from the Middle East and North Africa. Until 1998, a yearly average of 70 to 100 people applied for refugee status. This figure rose significantly in the second half of 1998 due to the arrival of approximately 150 asylum seekers who arrived by boat from Lebanon. In 2004 there were 531 refugees and 10,028 asylum seekers. Asylum seekers were from China, Russia, and other countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ukraine, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Iran.

Some asylum seekers are detained as illegal entrants or overstayers. While acknowledging the difficulties in dealing with the increased number of asylum seekers, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has encouraged the government to find alternatives to detention. Cyprus allows recognized refugees to remain with work permits while waiting for resettlement to a third country; however resettlement is a lengthy process and many refugees never obtain employment. Local integration was the preferred solution after adoption of the new refugee law. In 2004 there were 210,000 internally displaced persons in Cyprus. In 2002 an Amendment of the Citizenship Law allowed persons born after 16 August 1960 by a Cypriot mother and a foreign father to automatically acquire Cyprian citizenship. Previously, only children born of a Cypriot father were automatically permitted to attain citizenship.

In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as. 43 migrants per 1,000 population, down from 8.4, 15 years earlier.


Following the 16thcentury Turkish conquest, Cyprus received a substantial permanent influx of Ottoman Turks. Many soldiers became owners of feudal estates, and there was immigration from Anatolia and Rumelia. There was virtually no intermarriage; each community preserved its own religion, language, dress, and other national characteristics, and major cities and towns had their Greek and Turkish quarters. The 1974 war had the effect of almost completely segregating the two communities.

Estimates in 2001 indicated that about 77% of the population were Greek and about 18% were Turkish. The remainder of the population included Lebanese Maronites, Armenians, British, and others.


After independence in 1960, Greek and Turkish became the official languages. Since 1974, Greek has been the language of the south and Turkish the language of the north. English is also used extensively.


According to a 2004 report, about 96% of the government controlled area of Cyprus was Greek Orthodox. Nearly 99% of the Turkish Cypriots were Muslim. Other faiths included Maronite, Armenian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestants. Religion holds a significantly more prominent place in Greek Cypriot society than in Turkish Cypriot society, with correspondingly greater cultural and political influence. Under the Cyprus ethnarch Archbishop Makarios III, who was president of Cyprus from 1960 until his death in 1977, the church was the chief instrument of Greek Cypriot nationalism. Makarios' successor as ethnarch, Archbishop Chrysostomos, elected for life, also has played an active role in Greek Cypriot political affairs.

The constitution of the Republic of Cyprus provides for freedom of religion and this right is generally respected in practice. The constitution also specifies that the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus has a right to regulate and administer its own internal affairs. The Vakf, the Muslim institution that serves the Turkish Cypriots, is given the same right.

The independence of the Church of Cyprus was recognized by the Council of Ephesus in ad 431 and confirmed by Emperor Zeno in 478. The Church of Cyprus is one of the oldest constituent bodies of the Holy Orthodox Eastern Church, being senior by centuries to the Orthodox Church of Greece, and junior only to the four original patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Virtually all Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafisect.


Internal transport is exclusively by road. In 2003, there were 11,760 km (7,315 mi) of roads in the Greek area and 2,350 km (1,460 mi) of roads in the Turkish area. In the Turkish area, 1,370 km (851 mi) of the roads were paved, compared with 7,403 km (4,605 mi) in the Greek area. In addition to numerous taxicabs, the chief towns are served by private buses, whose services are regulated by the Road Motor Transport Board. In 2003 there were 287,622 licensed private motor cars and 120,789 commercial vehicles.

Although off the main world shipping routes, Cyprus is served by passenger and cargo shipping lines. Famagusta on the east coast was the main port, but it and the ports of Kyrenia and Karavostasi were closed to national shipping after the Turkish invasion in 1974. (The port of Famagusta was reopened by the Turkish Cypriots in 1978.) The Limassol and Larnaca ports have been modernized and are now considered good deepwater harbors. Other ports include Moni, VasilikoZiyyi, and Paphos. In 2005, there were 972 ships totaling 22,016,374 gross registered tonnage (GRT) comprised the merchant fleet, one of the world's leaders in terms of deadweight tonnage (DWT), at 35,760,004. About two-thirds of the trade passed through Limassol. There are no inland waterways.

There were an estimated 17 airports in 2004. As of 2005 a total of 13 had paved runways, and there were 10 heliports. The civil airport at Nicosia was used by many international airlines until the 1974 war, after which nearly all flights were diverted to the new international airport built at Larnaca. In 1983, a new international airport opened in Paphos. In 2001, a total of 1,503,400 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights. Cyprus Airways has services to Middle Eastern countries, but there is no regular internal air service.


Numerous Stone Age settlements excavated in Cyprus indicate that as early as 4000 bc a distinctive civilization existed on the island. Living in circular huts, this Neolithic people produced decorated pottery of great individuality, and used vessels and tools ground from the close-grained rocks of the Troodos Mountains. Cyprus was famous in the ancient world for its copper, which, from about 2200 bc, was used throughout the Aegean in the making of bronze. The island is believed either to have derived its name from or to have given it to this mineral through the Greek word kypros copper. Although celebrated also for its cult of Aphrodite (many temples devoted to the goddess were built in Paphos on the southwest coast), Cyprus was at first only a far outpost of the Hellenic world.

Greek colonizers came there in sizable numbers in 1400 bc, and were followed soon afterward by Phoenician settlers. About 560 bc, Cyprus was conquered by Egypt. Coveted by each rising civilization, it was taken in turn by Persia, Alexander the Great, Egypt again, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire. Its Christian history began with the visits of Paul, accompanied first (as described in the Acts of the Apostles) by Barnabas, and later by the apostle Mark. For several centuries after ad 632, Cyprus underwent a series of Arab invasions. The island was wrested from its Byzantine ruler Isaac Comnenus in 1191 by Richard I (the LionHearted) during the Third Crusade. Sold by the English king to the Knights Templar, it was transferred by that order to settle debts. Guy de Lusignan, the ruler of Jerusalem, received control of Cyprus. It was under his dynasty that the island experienced a brilliant period in its history, lasting some 300 years. In the period from 1468 until 1489, Cyprus was linked to Venice through a marriage. Cyprus fell to the Turks in 1571, and was thus part of the Ottoman Empire until 1878.

The administration of Cyprus by the United Kingdom began in 1878 at a convention with Turkey initiated by the British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, at the Congress of Berlin. He sought to establish Cyprus as a defensive base against further Russian aggression in the Middle East. When Turkey entered World War I, Cyprus was annexed to the British crown. It was declared a crown colony and placed under a governor in 1925.

For centuries under Ottoman and British rule, Greek Cypriots had regarded Greece as their mother country and had sought union (enosis ) with it as Greek nationals. In 1931, enosis agitation, long held in check, broke into violence. The government house was burned amid widespread disturbances, and the British colonial administration applied severe repressive measures, including the deportation of clerical leaders. While British occupation was restrictive to many Cypriots, it also brought many benefits. The economy prospered, an efficient civil service was established, hospitals and roads were built, and investment in modernization was made.

Agitation for enosis was dormant until the close of World War II, when it recommenced, and demands that the United Kingdom cede the island to Greece were renewed. The National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis KyrprionEOKA), led by retired Greek army officer Col. George Grivas and Michael Mouskus (who was Archbishop Makarios III), began a campaign of terrorism in 1955. The campaign was a series of carefully planned military attacks against British police, military, and other government institutions in Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta, and Nicosia. The results of these riots were the resignation of many Greek Cypriots from the police force and the replacement of the force by Turkish Cypriots. Upward of 2,000 casualties were recorded.

Problems were escalating rapidly in the island, and in 1957, because of tensions between the Greeks and the Turks, the Turkish Cypriots formed the TMT (Turk Mukavemet Teskilati) to fight the EOKA. The TMT was formed to protect Turkish Cypriots' interest and identity, should enosis occur. The TMT felt the only solution was to divide the island, with the Greek Cypriots living on one side and the Turkish Cypriots on the other.

The unity of NATO was endangered by the opposing positions taken on the Cyprus question by Greece and Turkey, and efforts by NATO members to mediate the dispute proved unsuccessful. Against this background, the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey met in Zürich, Switzerland, early in 1959 in a further attempt to reach a settlement. Unexpectedly, the Greek Cypriots set aside their demands for enosis and accepted instead proposals for an independent republic, with representation of both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities (including a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice president) guaranteed. A formula for the island's future, approved by the governments of the United Kingdom, Greece, and Turkey, also received the blessing of the Cyprus ethnarch, Archbishop Makarios III, who returned in triumph to the island from which he had been deported by the British government on charges of complicity with terrorism.

Besides determining Cyprus's legislative institutions, the Zürich settlement provided for a number of instruments defining the island's future international status. Enclaves on Cyprus were set aside for the continuation of British military installations in an effort to restore constitutional order. The United Kingdom, Greece, and Turkey, the guarantor powers, had the right to act together or singly to prevent either enosis or partition. In addition, provision was made for Greek, Turkish, and Cypriot forces to be stationed together at a tripartite headquarters. By 1 July 1960, agreement was reached on all outstanding differences. Independence was officially declared and the constitution was made effective on 16 August 1960. The first general elections for the House of Representatives were held 31 July of that same year. A month later the island became a member of the United Nations (UN), in the spring a member of the Commonwealth on Nations. In December 1961, Cyprus became an official member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

No amount of independence, however, would ensure peace between the Turks and Greeks living in Cyprus. From the outset, the two Cypriot communities differed on how the Zürich settlement would be implemented, and how much autonomy the Turkish minority would enjoy. In December 1963, Turkish Cypriots, protesting a proposed constitutional change that would have strengthened the political power of the Greek Cypriot majority, clashed with Greek Cypriots and police. When fighting continued, the Cyprus government appealed to the UN Security Council. On 4 March 1964, the Security Council voted to send in troops. Turkey and Cyprus agreed on 10 August 1964 to accept a UN Security Council call for a ceasefire, but on 22 December, fighting again erupted in Nicosia and spread to other parts of the island. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in December 1965 calling on all states to "respect the sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, and to refrain from any intervention directed against it." The General Assembly requested the Security Council to continue UN mediation.

Violent clashes between Greek and Turkish Cypriots nearly precipitated war between Greece and Turkey in 1967, but the situation was stabilized by mutual reduction of their armed contingents on Cyprus. By January 1970, the UN peacekeeping force numbered some 3,500 troops; both Greek Cypriot National Guard and Turkish Cypriot militia also maintained sizable national guards of their own. Although talks continued between the two communities, no agreement was reached on the two basic points of dispute. Politically, the Turks wanted full autonomy, while the Greeks demanded continued unitary majority rule. Territorially, the Turks wanted Cyprus divided into Greek- and Turkish-controlled zones, a position that was likewise at odds with the Greek Cypriot concept of a unitary state.

Meanwhile, tensions had developed between Makarios, who continued to oppose enosis, and the remnants of the military junta that had ruled Greece since 1967. On 2 July 1974, Makarios accused the Greek government of seeking his overthrow and called for the immediate withdrawal of 650 Greek officers in the Cypriot National Guard. Less than two weeks later, the National Guard toppled the Makarios government, forcing the Archbishop into exile and installing Nikos Sampson as president. To counter the threat of Greek control over Cyprus, the Turks, supported by Turkish Cypriots, insisted on some form of geographical separation between the Greeks and the Turks living on the island. Turkish Cypriot leaders asked Turkey to intervene militarily. On 20 July 1974 Turkish troops landed on the island, and the resulting conflict ended in the deaths of thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Within two days the UN forces had been augmented and a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution took effect. This action eventually led to the establishment of a corridor, known as the UN Buffer Zone or the "green line," separating the two groups. Sampson resigned as president on 23 July and Glafkos Clerides became acting president in accordance with the Cyprus constitution.

However, Turkey did not withdraw its forces, and while peace talks were conducted in Geneva, Switzerland, the Turkish military buildup continued. When talks broke down, a fullscale Turkish offensive began, and by mid-August, when a second ceasefire was accepted, Turkish forces controlled about 38% of the island. Makarios returned to Cyprus and resumed the presidency in December. On 13 February 1975, in an action considered illegal by the Cyprus government, the Turkishheld area proclaimed itself the Turkish Cypriot Federated State; Rauf Denktash, a former vice president of Cyprus and the president of the interim Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration (formed after the 1967 crisis), became president. A Security Council resolution on 12 March regretted the proclamation of the new state and called for the resumption of talks. The government of the Republic of Cyprus continued to be recognized as the legally constituted authority by the UN and by all countries except Turkey, although its effective power extended only to the area under Greek Cypriot control.

After the de facto partition, Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders met several times under UN auspices to explore a possible solution to the Cyprus problem. President Makarios conferred with Denktash in Nicosia early in 1977. When Makarios died of a heart attack on 3 August, Spyros Kyprianou became president, and he also held talks with Denktash in May 1979. Further negotiations between leaders of the two communities were held in August 1980, but again no agreement was reached.

On 15 November 1983, the Turkish sector proclaimed itself an independent state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Denktash was named president, but only Turkey recognizes the TRNC. The UN, which condemned the TRNC's declaration of independence, tried repeatedly to end the partition between north and south, but both parts rejected all proposals. The major stumbling block was the south's demand that the estimated 25,000 Turkish troops in the north be withdrawn before negotiations began and the north's refusal to remove the troops before a final solution was reached. In February 1988, George Vassiliou was elected president of Cyprus, and he stated that he would call for reunification talks with the Turkish Cypriots.

In 1991, the UN Security Council called on both sides to complete an overall framework agreement. Despite speculation in 1994 that UN peacekeeping forces might be withdrawn if some progress was not registered, the mandate was renewed. In 1993 voting, Glafcos Clerides, a conservative, replaced rightwing George Vassiliou as president. Clerides won reelection to a second five-year term in 1998.

August 1996 saw the most violent border clashes since the 1974 partition. In the space of one week, protestors broke through GreekCypriot security lines and clashed with TurkishCypriot and Turkish military forces in the buffer zone lying between the two divided parts of the island. Two GreekCypriots were killed and over 50 were injured by the Turkish military. The killing of the protestors, who were unarmed, brought general expressions of condemnation from the West but was supported by the Turkish government as acts of self-defense.

In November 2002, UN secretary general Kofi-Annan presented a comprehensive peace plan for Cyprus, envisaging a Swissstyle confederation of two equal component states, presided over by a rotating presidency. To go into effect, the plan required a referendum on both sides of the island. In December 2002, the European Union (EU) issued a formal invitation to Cyprus to join, stipulating that by 28 February 2003, the two communities agree to the UN peace plan for reunification. Without reunification, only the Greek Cypriot part of the island would gain membership.

In late 2002 and early 2003, thousands of Turkish Cypriots held rallies to call for the island's reunification and Denktash's resignation. Denktash was accused of blocking progress on the November 2002 UN peace plan. Denktash threatened to stand down as leader rather than sign the UN plan. Contributing to the failed peace negotiations was the election of hardline nationalist Tassos Papadopoulos as president of Cyprus on 16 February 2003; he took office 1 March 2003. In a surprise first-round win, Papadopoulos soundly defeated Clerides, with 51.5% of the vote to 38.8%.

Talks on Annan's reunification plan broke down on 11 March 2003, and Annan declared the island's two communities might not get a similar chance for peace for years. The Republic of Cyprus, remaining divided, signed the Accession Treaty for the EU on 16 April 2003, and joined the EU in May 2004.

In April 2005 Rauf Denktash retired as president of the Turkish area. Mehmet Ali Talatwho favors reunificationwas elected in his place.


The 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus respects the two existing ethnic communities, Greek and Turkish, by providing specifically for representation from each community in the government. The president must be Greek and the vice president Turkish. Under the constitution, these officers are elected for five years by universal suffrage by the Greek and Turkish communities, respectively; each has the right of veto over legislation and over certain decisions of the Council of Ministers. (The Council of Ministers is made up of seven Greek and three Turkish ministers, designated by the president and vice president jointly.) Legislative authority (as of 20 June 1985) is vested in the 80-member House of Representatives, elected by the two chief communities in the proportion of 56 Greek and 24 Turkish. In January 1964, following the outbreak of fighting, Turkish representatives withdrew from the House, and temporary constitutional provisions for administering the country were put into effect.

Archbishop Makarios, who became president of Cyprus in 1960, was reelected in 1968 and 1973. Following his death in 1977, the leader of the House of Representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, became president; he was elected to two five-year terms in 1978 and 1983. (George Vassiliou, an independent, succeeded him in 1988; Glafcos Clerides was elected in 1993 and reelected in 1998. Tassos Papadopoulos was elected president in 2003.) Rauf Denktash was elected vice president in 1973, but the post has remained effectively vacant since the 1974 war, in the absence of Turkish participation. Denktash was president of the Turkish area from 19752005.

On 13 February 1975, subsequent to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot Federated State (TCFS) was proclaimed in the northern part of the island, and Denktash became its president. A draft constitution, approved by the state's Constituent Assembly on 25 April, was ratified by the Turkish Cypriot community in a referendum on 8 June. Establishment of the TCFS was described by Denktash as "not a unilateral declaration of independence" but a preparation for the establishment of a federal system. Denktash was elected president of the TCFS in 1976 and again in 1981; elections to a unicameral legislature of 40 seats were held those same years. On 15 November 1983, the TCFS proclaimed itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), separate and independent from the Republic of Cyprus. In June 1985, TRNC voters approved a new constitution that embodied most of the old constitution's articles. The new constitution, however, increased the size of the Legislative Assembly to 50 seats. In elections held in June 1985, Rauf Denktash won reelection to a five-year term as president with more than 70% of the vote. Denktash was reelected in 1990, 1995, and 2000. In April 2005, Rauf Denktash retired, and Mehmet Ali Talatwho favors reunificationwas elected president of the TRNC.


The four principal political parties of the Greek community in 2001 were the Progressive Party of the Working People (Anorthotikon Komma Ergazomenou LaouAKEL), a proCommunist group; the rightwing Democratic Rally (Demokratikos SynagermosDISY); the center right Democratic Party (Demokratiko KommaDIKO); and the Socialist Party, or Social Democrats Movement (Kinima SosialdimokratonKISOS, formerly Eniea Demokratiki Enosi Kyprou or EDEK). The Orthodox Church of Cyprus also exercises some political power within the island.

Party representation in the House and percentages of the popular vote won by the parties in the elections of 27 May 2001 were AKEL, 20 seats (34.7%); DISY, 19 seats (34%); DIKO, 9 seats (14.8%); KISOS, 4 seats (6.5%); and other parties, 4 seats (9.9%).

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus held elections for a 50-seat Legislative Assembly on 14 December 2003. The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) won 19 seats (35.8% of the vote); the National Unity Party (UBP), 18 seats (32.3%); Peace and Democratic Movement, 6 seats (13.4%), and the Democratic Party (DP), 7 seats (12.3%).


There are six administrative districts in the island: Kyrenia, Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos, and Famagusta. The Turkish areas include Kyrenia, and several small parts of Larnaca, Nicosia, and Famagusta. Elected municipal corporations manage chief towns and larger villages. The smaller villages are managed by commissions comprising a headman (mukhtar ) and elders (azas ).

The 1960 constitution provided for two communal chambers, these bodies having wide authority within the two main ethnic groups, including the power to draft laws, impose taxes, and determine all religious, educational, and cultural questions. The Greek Communal Chamber, however, was abolished in 1965, and its functions reverted to the Ministry of Education (later renamed the Ministry of Education and Culture). The Turkish Communal Chamber embraces municipalities that are exclusively Turkish. Originally the duties of the Turkish Communal Chamber were to supervise Turkish cooperatives, sports organizations, and charitable institutions. But since the late 1960s, the Turkish communities have maintained strict administrative control of their own areas and have insisted on civil autonomy.


In the Greek Cypriot area, the Supreme Court is the final appellate court and has final authority in constitutional and administrative cases. It deals with appeals from assize and district courts, as well as from decisions by its own judges, acting singly in certain matters. There are six district courts and six assize courts. The Supreme Council of Judicature appoints judges to the district and assize courts.

In the Turkishheld area, a Supreme Court acts as final appellate court, with powers similar to those of the Supreme Court in the Greek Cypriot area. In addition to district and assize courts, there are two Turkish communal courts as well as a communal appeals court.

The Cypriot legal system incorporates a number of elements of the British tradition including the presumption of innocence, due process protections, and the right to appeal. Both parts of Cyprus provide for fair public trials. Both in theory and in practice, the judiciary is independent of executive or military control.


As of 2005, Cyprus' armed forces were divided between the Greek and Turkish dominated areas. The armed forces of the Greek side consisted of a 10,000 member national guard, that included maritime and aviation wings, and which was supported by 60,000 reservists and a 750 person paramilitary force. The National Guard was outfitted with 154 main battle tanks, 139 reconnaissance vehicles, 43 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 310 armored personnel carriers, and over 562 artillery pieces. The maritime wing operated 15 patrol/coastal vessels, while the aviation wing operated 16 attack helicopters, 2 trainers, and 1 transport aircraft. The paramilitary force consisted of more than 500 land-based armed police and a 250-person maritime police force. About 1,150 troops and advisors from Greece were stationed in the south in 2005 in addition to small contingents from eight other countries. Military spending in the Greek Cypriot region in 2005 amounted to $280 million. In the Turkish region, there was an estimated army of 5,000 active personnel, supported by a force of 26,000 reservists, a paramilitary force of around 150, and a Turkish Army force of about 36,000. With the exception of 73 120-mm mortars, operated by the local 5,000 man army, virtually all other equipment is operated by the Turkish Army force. This includes 8 main battle tanks, 441 training tanks, 627 armored personnel carriers, and 102 towed and 90 self-propelled artillery pieces.


Cyprus was admitted to the United Nations on 20 September 1960 and is a member of ECE and several nonregional specialized agencies. Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004. The nation is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Central European Initiative, and the WTO. Cyprus belongs to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the OSCE and is an observer in the OAS.

Cyprus is part of the Nonaligned Movement, the Australia Group, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It also belongs to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in 1964 to serve in peacekeeping efforts between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots; 10 nations are involved in the force. In environmental cooperation, Cyprus is part of the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, CITES, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


Historically an agricultural country with few natural resources, Cyprus has been shifting from subsistence farming to light manufacturing, and a service dominated economy. Farm mechanism has reached an advanced state, and a hopefully long-lasting solution to an erratic water supply has been achieved with the completion of a second desalination plant in 2001 that allowed the lifting of restrictions on water usage. Large trade deficits have been partially offset by tourism and remittances from Cypriots working abroad. The Greek Cypriot economy has established itself as a business and service center for enterprises engaged in shipping, banking, and commerce. Cyprus is now classified by the World Bank as a high-income country, and in 2004 it became a full member of the EU.

The 1974 coup and the Turkish armed intervention badly disrupted the economy. Physical destruction and the displacement of about a third of the population reduced the output of the manufacturing, agricultural, and service sectors. The lands occupied by Turkish forces accounted for about 70% of the country's prewar economic output. In general, the Greek Cypriot zone recovered much more quickly and successfully than the Turkishheld region, which was burdened with the weaknesses of Turkey's economy as well as its own. Scarcity of capital and skilled labor, the lack of trade and diplomatic ties to the outside world, and the consequent shortage of development aid have aggravated the problems of northern Cyprus. In the south, on the other hand, tourism has exceeded prewar levels, foreign assistance has been readily available, and the business community has benefited from the transfer to Cyprus of the Middle Eastern operations of multinational firms driven from Beirut by the Lebanese civil war.

The Republic of Cyprus saw strong economic growth throughout the 1990s. In 1992, the economy grew by over 8%. In 1995 and 1996, growth was more modest, but still robust, registering 6.6% in 1996. Growth slumped in 1997 to 3%, which was followed by three years of recovery, with growth rates of 5%, 4.5%, and 5.1% 1998 to 2000. The global slowdown of 2001 impacted Cyprus' vulnerable economy, which posted a 2.6% decline. Although growth returned in 2002, it was at an anemic 2% level due mainly to the sharp decline in tourism following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Inflation and unemployment continued at low levels. From 1992 to 2001, the weighted annual rate of inflation was 2.48%, and had fallen to 1.9% (consumer prices) in 2001, according to CIA estimates. The unemployment level was averaging below 2% before 1996, and since has averaged a little over 3%. Unemployment was at 3% in 2001, and was an estimated 3% for 2002, according to official government statistics.

In the North, however, the economy continued to grow more slowly, at less than 1% a year accompanied by persistently high inflation. In 1995, growth was estimated at 0.5% and inflation at 215%. In 2000, according to CIA estimates, growth was. 8% and inflation, based on consumer prices, was 53.2%. Unemployment in the Turkishheld north, estimated at 1.5% in 1995, was at an estimated 5.6% in 1999, the latest available year. Nominal per capita income in the south is about three times that of the north, although in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, as estimated by the CIA, the difference is somewhat narrower.

Economic growth was consistent, but not spectacular, hovering around 2% in 2002 and 2003, and climbing slightly, to 3.7%, in 2004. The main drivers of growth were the sectors of financial intermediation (12.4%), transport, storage and communication (8.9%), construction (5.2%), and wholesale and retail trade (4.8%). The tourist industry registered a setback despite a slight increase of incoming tourists. Inflation and unemployment are not a matter of concern for the country, floating around 2.5% and 3.5% respectively. These indicators vary however if the Republic of Cyprus and North Cyprus are analyzed separately. North Cyprus performed more poorly on all of the indicators presented above, and is to a large extent dependent on transfers from the Turkish government. Its main domestic sources of revenue were the tourist industry and the education sector.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 the Greek Cypriot area's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $16.82 billion and the Turkish Cypriot area's GDP was estimated at $4.54 billion. The per capita GDP was estimated at $21,600 in the Greek Cypriot area in 2005 and at $7,135 in the Turkish Cypriot area in 2004. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 3.8% in the Greek Cypriot area in 2005, and at 15.4% in the Turkish Cypriot area in 2004. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 3.8% of GDP, industry 20%, and services 76.2% in the Greek Cypriot area in 2005; agriculture accounted for 10.6% of GDP, industry 20.5% and services 68.9% in the Turkish Cypriot area in 2003. Over the 200306 period, the Turkish region received some $700 million in grants and loans from Turkey, which are usually forgiven.


In 2005, the economically active population totaled an estimated 370,000 in the Greek Cypriot area and 95,025 in the northern Turkish Cypriot area. Of all employees in the Greek Cypriot area in 2004, an estimated 54.4% were employed in the services sector, 38.2% in industry, and 7.4% in agriculture. In the Turkish Cypriot area, an estimated 56.5% were in the services sector, 29% in industry, and 14.5% in agriculture. The unemployment rate in the Greek Cypriot area was estimated at 3.5% in 2005, while in the Turkish area it amounted to an estimated 5.6% in 2004.

In both the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus, all workers have the right to join or form unions without prior authorization, excluding the military and police forces. On the Greek side, more than 70% of the Greek Cypriot workforce belonged to independent unions in 2005. On the Turkish portion, about 60 to 70% of semi-public workers, nearly all publicsector workers and 1% of private sector workers are unionized. In both parts of Cyprus, collective bargaining is legal but the bargaining agreements are not legally enforceable.

There is a legislated minimum wage in the Greek Cypriot community; because of inflation this figure is adjusted twice yearly. In 2005 it was $724 per month for practical nurses, shop and nursery assistants, clerks and hairdressers, rising to $770 per month after six months employment. In the same year, the Turkish Cypriot minimum wage was $447 per month. These wages are insufficient to support a wage earner and family, but most workers earn significantly more than this. The minimum working age in both communities is 16, with apprentice programs allowing 15 year olds to work in the Turkish Cypriot community. In the Greek controlled area, the legal workweek is 48 hours, including overtime. In the private sector, white-collar employees worked 39 hours, with 38 hours for blue-collar workers. Fewer hours were worked in the summer months. In the Turkish Cypriot community, the workweek is 38 hours in the winter and 36 hours in the summer. Health and safety standards in the workplace continued to improve.


Agricultural methods are adapted to the island's hot and dry summers and generally limited water supply. Spring and early summer growth is dependent on moisture stored in the soil from the winter rains, but summer cultivation is dependent on irrigation. About 12.2% of the total land area is arable.

Most farmers raise a variety of subsistence crops, ranging from grains and vegetables to fruits. Since 1960 there has been increased production of citrus fruits and potatoes. These two commodities, along with grapes, kiwi, and avocados are grown both for the domestic market and as exports to EU nations. Principal crops in 2004 (in tons) included barley, 94,000; potatoes, 116,000; grapes, 80,860; grapefruit, 30,000; oranges, 35,000; lemons, 25,000, and wheat, 13,000. Tomatoes, carrots, olives, and other fruits and vegetables are also grown. The areas that have been Turkishheld since 1974 include much of Cyprus' most fertile land; citrus fruits are a major export.

The Agricultural Research Institute, through experiments with solarheated greenhouses, soil fertility, water usage optimization, and introduction of new varieties of grain, attempts to improve the efficiency of Cypriot agriculture. Agricultural products accounted for 24% of exports in 2004.


Grazing land for livestock covers about 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres). Animal husbandry contributes about one-third of total agricultural production. Output of pork, poultry, and eggs meets domestic demand, but beef and mutton are imported. Sheep and goats, which feed upon rough grazing land unsuitable for cultivation, provide most of the milk products. In 2004, sheep numbered about 295,000; hogs, 491,800; and goats, 460,000.

Indigenous cattle, kept primarily as draft animals, are decreasing with the advance of farm mechanization. There is no indigenous breed of dairy cattle, but near main towns, dairy stock, mostly shorthorns, are kept under stallfed conditions, and Friesian cattle have been imported from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Cattle numbered about 58,500 in 2004.

Livestock products in 2004 included 53,000 tons of pork, 35,000 tons of poultry meat, 108,248 tons of milk, and 12,300 tons of eggs.


Year-round fishing is carried on mostly in coastal waters not more than 3.2 km (2 mi) from shore. The fish in Cyprus waters are small from the lack of nutrient salts, and the catches are meager. The 2003 catch was 3,612 tons. Fish exports in 2003 were valued at $4.7 million, or 6.8% of agricultural exports. There is no deepsea fishing. Sponges of good quality are taken, mostly by licensed fishermen, from the Greek Dodecanese Islands.


About 172,000 hectares (425,000 acres) are forested; 137,800 hectares (340,500 acres) are reserves managed by the Forest Department, the remainder being natural growths of poor scrub used by village communities as fuel and as grazing grounds. Besides furnishing commercial timber, the forests provide protective cover for water catchment areas and prevent soil erosion. Their value is also scenic, numerous holiday resorts being situated in the forest reserves. Most numerous by far among forest trees is the Aleppo pine. The stone pine is found on the highest slopes of the Troodos Massif; the cedar, once a flourishing tree, has become a rarity. In the lowlands, eucalyptus and other exotic hardwoods have been introduced. Other important local species include cypress, plane, alder, and golden oak. The demand for timber during World War I resulted in some overcutting, and in 1956 large fires further reduced forests, particularly in Paphos, where 211,000 cu m (6 million cu ft) of standing timber were destroyed. To offset these losses, all felling of fresh trees for timber was stopped and systematic reforestation begun. The timber cut decreased from 152,415 cu m (5.4 million cu ft) in 1977 to 12,000 cu m (42.3 million cu ft) in 2003 (about 90% coniferous). Most of Cyprus' timber requirements must be met by imports. In 2003, imports of forestry products exceeded exports by $93.3 million.


In 2004, the mineral industry of Cyprus was dominated by the production of bentonite, cement, sand and gravel, and stone. Mineral production however, accounts for only a small portion of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). In 2004, mineral production accounted for approximately 0.3% of GDP, estimated that year at $14.5 billion. In addition, production of Cyprus's historically important export mineralsasbestos, celestite, chromite, copper, and iron pyritehas stopped. Cyprus was also a source of the mineral pigment umber. In 2004 preliminary umber production was put at 5,205 metric tons. Ownership and control of minerals and quarry materials were vested in the government, which may grant prospecting permits, mining leases, and quarrying licenses. Royalties on extracted mineral commodities ranged from 15%.

Preliminary production totals of the following products in 2004 were: hydraulic cement,1,689,000 metric tons; 155,717 metric tons of bentonite; 11.6 million metric tons of sand and gravel; 255,000 metric tons of crude gypsum; 2.29 million tons of marl (for cement production), and 1.2 million tons of crushed limestone (Havara). Other mine and quarry products for 2004 were common clays, hydrated lime, marble, building stone, and sulfur.


Except where stated, the information that follows is for the Greek portion of the island. All of Cyprus' electricity is produced by conventional thermal means, namely through the burning of fossil fuels. Its production, transmission and distribution are controlled by a semi-government corporation known as the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), which operates three generating stations: DhekeliaB; Moni; and Vasilikos, a new facility that began operation in 2000. A fourth facility, DhekeliaA, was decommissioned in January 1994 and was demolished in 2002. In 2002, total electric generating capacity stood at 0.998 million kW. 2001. In 2003, the southern half of Cyprus produced 4 billion kWh. However, it is not known how much power, if any, was produced by the northern portion or TRNC. Consumption of electricity by the southern and northern portions totaled 3.663 billion kWh and 0.602 billion kWh, respectively.

Cyprus must also import virtually all the oil products it consumes. In 2002, consumption of all petroleum products totaled 50,890 barrels per day, with imports totaling 50,880 barrels per day. The island does produce a miniscule amount of oil, estimated at 300 barrels per day for 2004. Cyprus has no known coal reserves and therefore must import whatever coal it uses. In 2002, imports of hard coal totaled 73,000 tons, of which 58,000 tons was consumed and 14,000 tons stockpiled.


Industries are numerous and small in scale, 95% of them employing fewer than 10 workers. Working owners make up a large part of the industrial labor force. Manufacturing, which accounts for about 10.6% of GDP, and employs 9.1% of the labor force, is dominated by small enterprises. The manufacturing sector of industrial production has declined in absolute value over 10% from its peak in 1992, reflecting declines in the traditional leaders, textiles and food processing. Textiles, the leading manufacturing industry since 1974, has declined in output value about 50% since a peak reached in 1988, whereas food processing (food, beverages, and cigarettes) has declined about 15% from a peak reached in 1992. The manufacture of nonmetallic mineral products has also declined, about 7% from peak levels in 199495. Growth has occurred among nontraditional manufactures in the areas of chemicals, petroleum, rubber, and plastics, up over 25% in the decade.

Other industrial sectors have increased strongly: mining and quarrying is up nearly 60% since 1990 and the production of electricity, gas, and water treatment, increased nearly 80%. According to CIA estimates, overall industrial production grew 2.2% in 1999 in the Greek Cypriot area, but declined an estimated 0.3% in the Turkish area. The leading products are textiles, shoes, cement mosaic tiles, and cigarettes. Major plants include modern flour mills, tiretreading factories, knitting mills, preprocessing facilities, and a petroleum refinery. Furniture and carts are also manufactured. Nine industrial estates have been established. In both the Greek and Turkish areas of Cyprus, industry accounts for about 20% of GDP and employs about 22% of the labor force.

The contribution of the industry to the GDP was fairly the same in both parts of Cyprus20% in the Republic of Cyprus (2005), and 20.5% in North Cyprus (2003). The makeup of the labor force showed some discrepancies however: in the Republic of Cyprus, 38.2% of the work force was employed by the industry, as opposed to 29% in North Cyprus in 2004. This is a clear indicator of the higher productivity levels achieved in the south.


The Cyprus Research Center promotes research principally in the social sciences and in history, ethnography, and philology. In addition, Cyprus has three universities and several colleges offering degrees in basic and applied sciences. In 2003, total expenditures for research and development (R&D) amounted to c£22.1 million. The R&D spending breakdown for 2002 (the latest year for which this data was available; R&D spending that year totaled c£19.441 million) saw government sources account for 61.7%. Business that year accounted for 17.4% of R&D spending, while educational, private nonprofit and foreign sources accounted for 3.8%, 2% and 15.1%, respectively. In 2002, there were 269 technicians and 569 researchers per million people engaged in R&D.


A flourishing cooperative movement provides facilities for marketing agricultural products. There are more than 500 Greek cooperative societies, with some 100,000 members. Many towns and villages have cooperative stores; the towns also have small independent shops, general stores, and bazaars. The nation is not self-sufficient and relies on imports for a number of food products and consumer goods. Since 1990, at least 12 US franchises have been established throughout the country.

Government price controls have been virtually eliminated as the nation has realigned its economic policies to be acceptable to the European Union. The result has been a more open market with greater competition.

Business hours are from 8 am to 1 pm, and 2:30 to 5:30 pm in the winter and from 7:30 am to 1 pm and 4 to 6:30 pm in the summer. Shops are open only in the morning on Wednesday and Saturday. Normal banking hours are from 8:30 am to noon, Monday through Saturday. Advertising is mainly through newspapers and television. Direct marketing/telemarketing has also been used.

As a result of the island's division in 1974, there is no trade between the two communities across the UN buffer zone.


With limited natural resources, Cyprus is dependent on other countries for many of its needs. Other than some agricultural commodities, it has few surpluses, and the balance of trade has steadily grown more unfavorable.

The tobacco industry in Cyprus provides the export market with the largest portion of revenues (30%), while medicinal and pharmaceutical products take care of another large proportion (11%). Other exports include passenger motor vehicles (6.3%), vegetables (5.7%), apparel (4.5%), and fruit (2.5%).

Lack of international recognition for the Turkish Cypriots severely hampers their foreign trade. Because of the Greek Cypriot economic boycott, all goods originating in northern Cyprus must transit through Turkey, thereby adding to shipping costs. Moreover, a 1994 ruling by the European Court of Justice declared that phytosanitary certificates issued by the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" were invalid due to the "illegality" of the entity.

In 2004, North Cyprus' total exports reached $49.3 million (FOBFree on Board), and were dwarfed by the south's performance$1.1 billion (FOB). Imports were almost ten times as high as the exports in the north, at $415 million (FOB), and almost five times as high in the south, at $5.3 billion. Main import commodities for the Republic of Cyprus were consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, intermediate goods, machinery, transport equipment, while North Cyprus mostly imported vehicles, fuel, cigarettes, food, minerals, chemicals, and machinery. Turkey remains the most important trade partner for the latter, while the south largely relies on trade with Greece, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy.


Since Cyprus has persistently imported more than it exports, it consistently runs a trade imbalance which has grown steadily over the past two decades. Cyprus' trade deficit has been somewhat offset by tourist dollars, spending by foreign military forces, and remittances from workers abroad.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that the purchasing power parity of Greek Cypriot exports was $1.237 billion in 2005 (FOB), and Turkish Cypriot exports totaled $49.3 million, while Greek Cypriot imports totaled $5.552 billion in 2005, and Turkish Cypriot imports totaled $415.2 million.

The current account balance for Greek Cyprus was negative, worsening from -$442 million in 2003, to -$915 million in 2004. External debt was on the rise (lending from international markets is one way of responding to the huge trade deficit), reaching $7.6 billion in 2003, and $9.9 billion in 2004. The reserves of foreign exchange and gold were high enough though to sustain a prolonged

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 922.9 4,466.2 -3,543.3
United Kingdom 295.0 371.8 -76.8
Bunkers, ship stores 89.8 89.8
Greece 84.7 535.1 -450.4
Germany 36.1 336.0 -299.9
Lebanon 31.3 31.3
Jordan 24.7 24.7
Netherlands 23.8 109.2 -85.4
United Arab Emirates 23.3 23.3
Egypt 22.9 22.7 0.2
United States 17.8 186.6 -168.8
() data not available or not significant.

period of imports: $3.4 billion in the Republic of Cyprus, and $942 million in North Cyprus.


In 1963, the Ottoman Bank (since renamed the Central Bank of Cyprus) was designated as the government's banking and currency clearing agent. The Banking law of 1997 provided for a properly-funded deposit insurance scheme and regulation were before the House of Representatives in late 1999. In general, banking services compare with the level experienced in European countries and the United States. There are six domestic banks. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $695.0 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual

Current Account -441.8
     Balance on goods -3,134.4
         Imports -4,089.8
         Exports 955.4
     Balance on services 2,935.8
     Balance on income -387.1
     Current transfers 144.0
Capital Account 20.3
Financial Account 188.6
     Direct investment abroad -538.5
     Direct investment in Cyprus 1,025.1
     Portfolio investment assets -482.5
     Portfolio investment liabilities 802.5
     Financial derivatives 16.6
     Other investment assets -2,479.2
     Other investment liabilities 1,844.7
Net Errors and Omissions 45.2
Reserves and Related Items 187.6
() data not available or not significant.

fundswas $4.5 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.93%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 5.5%.

The Cyprus Stock Exchange, which opened in March 1996, ended 1996 with gains of just 0.2%, but experienced an extended bull run starting in late November of 1998. Since 1996, foreign investors are no longer required to obtain the Central Bank's permission to invest in the CSE, although there are limits on foreign participation. Legislation passed in 1999 prohibited insider trading and a new screen-based automated trading system helped enhance investor confidence. The CSE index reach 162.8 by June 1999, up from its initial starting point of 100 in 1996. By mid2003, however, it had dropped to around 84. Market capitalization is $5.4 billion.


Insurance companies, mostly British, make available life, fire, marine, accident, burglary, and other types of insurance. Third party automobile liability and workers' compensation insurance are compulsory. All insurance companies in Cyprus must be members of the Insurance Association of Cyprus, and foreign ownership is subject to government approval. In 2003, the value of all direct premiums written totaled $590 million, of which nonlife and life each accounted for 50%. The top nonlife insurer in 2003 was Laiki, with $45 million in gross nonlife premiums written. The country's top life insurer was Laiki Cyprialife, with $80.8 million on gross premiums written in that same year.


The fiscal year follows the calendar year. Import duties and income tax are the principal sources of government revenue. The principal ordinary expenditures are education, defense, and police and fire services. Due to the introduction of a valueadded tax and a more efficient tax collection system, Cyprus made steady

Revenue and Grants 1,473 100.0%
     Tax revenue 955.8 64.9%
     Social contributions 223.1 15.1%
     Grants 0.7 <1.0%
     Other revenue 293.3 19.9%
Expenditures 1,731.7 100.0%
     General public services 387.5 22.4%
     Defense 68.3 3.9%
     Public order and safety 91.8 5.3%
     Economic affairs 232.6 13.4%
     Environmental protection
     Housing and community amenities 68.2 3.9%
     Health 109.4 6.3%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 28.5 1.6%
     Education 205 11.8%
     Social protection 424.7 24.5%
() data not available or not significant.

progress in reducing its budget deficit in the early 1990s, which reached 1% of GDP in 1995. The deficit, however, due in part to a slowing economy, began to increase again. Turkish Cypriots use the Turkish lira for currency, and the Turkish government reportedly provides a large part of the TRNC annual budget. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that in 1997 Cyprus's central government took in revenues of approximately $710.9 million and had expenditures of $830.4 million including capital expenditures of $83.2 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $120 million.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 the Republic of Cyprus's central government took in revenues of approximately $6.698 billion and had expenditures of $7.122 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 72% of GDP. Total external debt was $7.803 billion. For the Turkish region, revenues amounted to $231.3 million in 2003, and expenditures $432.8 million.


Income taxes were first introduced in 1941, and a system of withholding in 1953. The first valueadded tax (VAT) was enacted in 1992. With an eye to its hopedfor accession to the EU in 2004, the Greek Cypriot government enacted a series of new tax laws in July 2002, effective as of 1 January 2003, designed to be fully compliant with OECD tax criteria and the EU tax Code of Conduct.

The new corporate income tax rate, applied to both local and international business companies (IBC's), is 10%. Dividends paid to Cypriot tax residents are subject to a 15% withholding tax. A major feature of the new tax code is the integration of corporation and withholding taxes, with income tax on distributed profits. The combination of the income tax and the withholding tax, assuming that 70% of the aftertax profits are distributed, produces a final tax rate of 19.45%, which is below the highest income tax rate of 25% before the reforms. Provisions for "special contributions to defense of the Republic" are changed under the new tax laws. The defense tax on interest income was raised from 3% to 10% except for recipients whose total income is less that c£7.000 (about $13,100), and except on interest from government bonds, pension funds, and deposits with the Housing Finance Corporation (HFC), which are taxed at 3%. With some exceptions, the defense levy on dividends received was increased from 3% to 15%. Interest income is subject to a final 10% withholding tax. All interest earned by individuals and 50% of the interest earned by corporations is exempt from income tax.

Income taxation of companies will no longer depend on where they are registered but on where they are managed and controlled. Companies registered in Cyprus but managed and controlled from another country, will only be taxed in Cyprus on their Cyprussource income. IBCs will not be entitled to benefits under double taxation treaties, but they will also not be subject to the exchange of information requirements of such treaties.

Cyprus has a progressive individual income tax with a top rate of 30%, with the initial 10,000 Cyprus pounds taxfree. Cyprus residents are subject to a 15% withholding tax on dividends and a 10% withholding tax on interest. The capital gains tax, its rate of 20% unchanged under the new laws, is imposed only on the disposal of property situated in the Republic. Indirect taxes include a valueadded tax (VAT) of 15% and a lower 5% rate that applies to new dwellings, hotel services, newspapers, catering, books and gas, and various excise taxes.

Duty free facilities for expatriates were withdrawn in April 2003.


As of 1 January 1998, tariffs on many goods imported from the European Union (EU) fell to zero as Cyprus adopted the EU's common customs tariff on most products from thirdparty countries. In addition, Cyprus is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Republic of Cyprus also provides a 20% price preference on domestic goods and services for public tenders, although foreign pressurethe EU and WTO forbid such practicesmay halt this practice. A 15% VAT is also levied, although food and agricultural products have a reduced rate of 5%.


Because Turkish Cyprus is recognized as a sovereign nation by no other nation besides Turkey, it has attracted little foreign investment. The majority of factories are owned by domestic companies but, in most of the major industrial concerns, there has been considerable British and Greek capital. The central government encourages foreign investment that results in the import of new technology or new production methods and improves the quality of the goods produced, especially for export. Any purchase of shares in a domestic company by nonresidents requires approval by the Central Bank of Cyprus.

As part of its accession to the EU, Cyprus endeavored to transform itself from an offshore tax haven, featuring a 4.25% corporate tax rate for ringfence businesses (that is, those having no trade inside Cyprus) to a what it calls a tax incentive country, free from the suspicion usually associated with tax havens. Under the new tax code effective as of effect 1 January 2003, foreign companies already enjoying the tax haven 4.25% (in 1996, for instance, there were some 1,168 offshore companies operating out of Cyprus) could continue to do so until the end of 2005, provided they have not traded inside Cyprus.

Other companies will receive for the most part national treatment, which features a competitive corporate tax rate, (of 19.45% instead of the highest income rate of 25% through the way the income and withholding taxes are combined) but not an offshore rate. In the accession process (or acquis ), Cyprus has been under intense scrutiny for money laundering. Its antimoney laundering law of 1996 was amended in 1999 to satisfy enforcement concerns. As of 2002, both the IMF and the OECD's Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (the TATF) have certified Cyprus as satisfactory on this count.

Cyprus has not been removed, however, from the Flags of Convenience (FOC) black list of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, known as the Paris MOU, which is an agreement among 19 countries aimed at eliminating substandard shipping. Historically, Cyprus has operated the fourth- or fifth-largest maritime fleet through offering lax safety and inspection regimes on ships registered under its flag. From 1999 to 2001, there were signs of improvement, according to EU reports. The percent of Cyprusflagged vessels detained by Port State control dropped from 9.97% in 1999 to 8.85% in 2001, compared to an EU average of 3.14% in 2001. In all, 397 of 4,100 Cypriot ships were detained. To move up to the Paris MOU's "gray list," no more than 319 or 7.7% of Cypriot vessels should have been detained. Also as part of the accession process, Cyprus instituted a more liberalized investment regime, removing interest rate ceilings and capital controls.

The government first made changes in the investment code to encourage foreign investment in 1986, but many restrictions remained. In 1996, the investment code was liberalized to allow foreign participation of up to 49% in Cypriot companies. Certain services were allowed 100% foreign participation. Sector specific restrictions remain, however, in several important areas including electricity, tourism, air transport, and travel offices. The telecommunications sector, also, has not been privatized. To date the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) has remained small, averaging 1.3% of GDP 1997 to 2001. The trend, however, is toward an increase. FDI as a percent of GDP doubled during this period, from 9% of GDP in 1997 to 1.8% of GDP in 2001.

The inflow of FDI into Cyprus reached $1.2 billion in 2004, up from $1.0 billion in 2003. However, this data pertains solely to the Republic of Cyprus, as there are no official statistics available for North Cyprus (although it is known that most investments come from Turkey, and they mainly target the tourist resorts). Investments in the Republic of Cyprus primarily aimed at real estate and business (41.0%), financial intermediation (24.7%), trading (14.6%), and transport and communications (11.1%). The majority of these investments came from the EU (58.1%) and other European countries (31.1%).


The first development plan (196266), designed to broaden the base of the economy and to raise the standard of living, resulted in an average annual real growth rate of 5.4%. The second development plan (196771) called for an annual growth rate of 7% in the GDP; actual growth during this period was nearly 8% annually. The third development plan (197276) envisaged an annual economic growth rate of 7.2%, but a drought in 1973 and the war in 1974 badly disrupted development programs. Physical destruction, a massive refugee problem, and a collapse of production, services, and exports made it impossible for Cyprus to reach the targets.

Since 1975, multiyear emergency economic action plans inaugurated by the Republic of Cyprus have provided for increased employment, incentives to reactivate the economy, more capital investment, and measures to maintain economic stability. The 199498 Strategic Development Plan emphasized a free market, privatesector economic approach with a target GDP growth of 4% annually. The plan called for a domestic savings rate of 22.3% of GDP; an increase of labor productivity of 2.8% between 199496; an inflation rate of approximately 3%, and unemployment no greater than 2.8%. As of 1996, Cyprus had largely met these goals with the exception of less than target levels of savings and productivity.

While Cyprus used to receive substantial amounts of development aid, due in part to its own improving economy and a recession in the European donor countries, it now receives little direct financial assistance from other nations.

Since its military intervention in 1974, Turkey has provided substantial financial aid to the Turkish Cypriot area. In 1996, this assistance was estimated to be approximately one-third of the area's GDP, or approximately $175 million. From 200306, Turkey provided approximately $700 million in grants and loans to the Turkish region, which are usually forgiven.

In 2004, Cyprus joined the EU, and hopes were up that this would contribute to both the political and economic stability of the country. The country boasts an educated work force, good infrastructure, a sound legal system, and relatively low taxes. Tourism drives the economy, and any economic development strategy will likely be engineered around this industry. In North Cyprus, construction and education (numerous students from Turkey, and other parts of the world study at one of the area's five universities) have established themselves as the main engines of growth. However, as long as the dispute between the north and the south areas continues, development figures will not reach the island's potential.


A social insurance and social assistance system is in effect for all employed and self-employed persons. It provides unemployment and sickness benefits; old age, widows', and orphans' pensions; maternity benefits; missing persons' allowances; injury and disability benefits. There is a universal system for a family allowance and child benefits. The child benefit is available to all residents with four or more children.

Women generally have the same legal status as men. Laws require equal pay for equal work and this is enforced at the white collar level. Sexual harassment is prohibited by law, however incidents are usually not reported. Spousal abuse is a serious social problem and continued to receive attention. Women who are married to foreigners have the right to convey citizenship automatically to their children.

Although human rights are generally respected, police brutality continued to be a problem. There are also reports of the mistreatment of domestic servants, usually of East or South Asian origin. Freedom of movement between the Greek and Turkish zones is restricted.


As of 2002, the birth rate was estimated at 12.9 per 1,000 people. In 2004 there were an estimated 298 physicians and 485 nurses per 100,000 people. There are both public and private medical facilities, including about 50 rural health centers. The island has a low incidence of infectious diseases, but hydatid disease (echinococcosis) is endemic. Malaria has been eradicated and thalassaemia, which affected 15% of the population in 1960, has been eliminated. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 400 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 160. The fertility rate in 1999 was two children per mother. The infant mortality rate was estimated at 7.18 per 1,000 live births in 2005 and the average life expectancy was 77.65 years. In the same year, the general mortality rate was 7.4 per 1,000 inhabitants. In 1994, 83% of children were vaccinated against measles. Approximately 95% of the population had access to health care services and 100% had access to safe water.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 1,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.


A growing population resulted in a shortage of dwellings, especially in urban areas. This was further aggravated by the 1974 war, which resulted in the displacement of more than 200,000 people and the destruction of 36% of the housing stock. The government provided temporary accommodations for about 25,000 displaced people and embarked on a longterm plan to replace the lost housing units. Between 1974 and 1990, 50,227 families were housed in a total of 13,589 lowcost dwellings.

In 1982, the Cyprus Land Development Corporation was formed to address the housing needs of low- and middleincome families, including the replacement of old housing stock. By 1991, the corporation had disposed of 573 building plots and helped construct 391 housing units. Between 1975 and 1991, the private sector constructed 83,197 housing units.

According to a 2001 census, there were about 292,934 conventional dwellings across the country. Nearly 43% were single, detached houses; another 20% were apartment blocks. About 35,829 conventional dwellings were built in the period 19962001. Most dwellings have from four to seven rooms. The average household contained three people. About 68% of dwellings were owner-occupied. About 5.6% of dwellings are temporary housing sites for refugees. Village homes in Cyprus are generally constructed of stone, sun dried mud bricks, and other locally available materials; in the more prosperous rural centers, there are houses of burnt brick or concrete.


Since 1959, the Greek and Turkish communities have been responsible for their own school systems. In the Republic of Cyprus, education is compulsory for nine years, with children attending six years of primary school and six years of secondary. The secondary education is divided into two stages: Gymnasium and Lykeion. Each stage lasts three years. Students may choose vocational or technical schools for their secondary education as well. In 1995, a comprehensive Lyceum program was established for secondary education, which combines both general and technical or vocational education. In the Turkish region, preschool education is provided for children between the ages of four and six. Primary and secondary education is free and compulsory; primary education lasts for five years and secondary education lasts for three years.

In the Republic of Cyprus, in 2001, about 59% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 96% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 93% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 87% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 19:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 12:1.

The University of Cyprus (est. 1992) has five faculties: humanities and social sciences, pure and applied sciences, economics and management, letters, and engineering. There are a total of six universities in northern Cyprus, and one teacher training college. In 2003 in Greek Cyprus, about 32% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 96.8%.

As of 2003, public expenditure for the Republic of Cyprus on education was estimated at 6.3% of GDP.


Cyprus has numerous school, private, and public libraries. The National Library in Nicosia holds 105,000 volumes and serves as the central library for the Republic of Cyprus. There are also municipal libraries in Famagusta, Limassol, Ktima, Larnaca, and Paphos, and bookmobile services in the Nicosia environs. Among the most important specialized libraries are those of the Cyprus Museum (15,000 volumes), the Phaneromeni Library of the Eastern Orthodox Church (33,000), and the Cyprus Turkish National Library (56,000), all in Nicosia. The University of Cyprus holds 150,000 volumes in Nicosia.

The Department of Antiquities is responsible for a wide, continuing program of research at Neolithic and classical sites. On behalf of ecclesiastical authorities, it conserves the cathedrals, mosques, monasteries, and other monuments, and over a period of many years has cooperated with numerous scientific expeditions. The entire range of archaeological discoveries from prehistoric to medieval times is displayed in the Cyprus Museum at Nicosia. In addition to the Cyprus Historical Museum and Archives and the Folk Art Museum in Nicosia, there are important collections in museums at Paphos, Larnaca, and Limassol. In all, there are about 20 museums in Cyprus, the majority being archaeological and historical. There are over 1,000 monuments and historic sites nationwide.


The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CTA) operates the internal communications system. The telephone network is nearly wholly automatic and the CTA connects Cyprus with more than 67 other countries. In 2002, there were about 427,400 mainline phones in use in the Greek Republic of Cyprus and 86,228 in use for the northern Turkish Republic. An additional 417,900 cell phones were in use among the Greek Cypriots and 143,178 among the Turkish Cypriots.

The Cyprus Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) maintains regular service. Commercial spot announcements and a few sponsored programs are permitted on both radio and television. Radio programming in both AM and FM is transmitted by the CBC on two channels in Greek, Turkish, Arabic, and English. Private radio stations have been allowed since 1990, and there were 30 licenses issued by the end of 1992. The CBC has two channels, and licenses have been granted to four private stations (one of them cable) since April 1993. The main television transmitting station is located on Mt. Olympus. Since 1980, the television service has been linked via satellite with the Eurovision network for live transmission of major events in Europe. As of 1998, the Greek sector had 7 AM and 60 FM radio stations; the Turkish sector had 3 AM and 11 FM stations. In 1995, each area had four television stations. In 1997, the Greek Cypriots had about 310,000 radios and 248,000 television sets in use throughout their area. Nationwide, there were about 210,000 Internet subscribers in 2002.

Nicosia has traditionally been the publishing center for the island and the editorial headquarters of nearly all the daily newspapers and weeklies. There is no censorship in the south and newspapers are outspoken on political matters. The major Greek daily newspapers (with political affiliation and estimated 2002 circulations) include O Phileleftheros (independent liberal, 26,000), Althia (11,000), Haravghi (Communist, 9,000), I Simerini (conservative, 9,000), Apogevmatini (independent moderate, 8,000), and Agon (independent rightwing, 5,000). The leading Turkish newspapers (with political affiliation and estimated 2002 circulations) include Kibris (13,000) and Halkin Sesi (independent nationalist, 6,000). Cyprus Mail is a leading Englishlanguage paper with an independent-conservative affiliation and a 2002 circulation total of 4,000.

Freedom of speech and the press are mandated by law and are said to be in full support by the government. Private television and radio stations and university-run stations compete successfully with the governmentcontrolled stations.


The government encourages cooperative societies in many ways, including exemption from certain forms of taxation. The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the main commercial organization. There is also a Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce in Nicosia. The Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry is concerned primarily with international trade. The Employers and Industrialists Federation is based in Nicosia. The Pancyprian Federation of Labor serves as a general organization promoting the writes of employees. Professional and trade organizations cover a wide variety of careers, including those that also serve as forums for education and research, such as the Cyprus Medical Association. Some separate professional associations exist for Turkish Cypriot communities.

The Pancyprian Federation of Students and Young Scientists (POFNE) serves as an umbrella organization for student movements. Some political parties have youth organizations, such as the Cyprus Socialist Youth, the Cyprus Workers Federation Youth Section, and the Democratic Party Youth. The Cyprus Scouts Association and Girl Guides are active in the country and there are branches of the YWCA. The Cyprus Sports Organization represents about 33 national sport federations and 500 athletic clubs throughout the country. There is an active organization of the Special Olympics and a Paralympic Committee.

Volunteer service organizations, such as the Lions Clubs International, are present in the country. There is an active national chapter of Caritas.


Although Cyprus is located off the main routes of travel and has few luxury hotels, the island's salubrious climate, scenic beauties, extensive roads, and rich antiquarian sites have attracted numerous visitors. Water parks and cultural centers are also popular attractions. There were 2,303,246 tourists who arrived in Cyprus in 2003, of whom 95% came from Europe. In that same year there were 46,706 hotel rooms and 91,139 beds with an occupancy rate of 57%. The average length of stay was six nights. Tourism expenditure receipts totaled $2.2 billion.

All visitors must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket. Visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Nicosia at $289. In other areas, expenses averaged $226 per day.


Most widely known of Cypriots in the pre-Christian world was the philosopher Zeno (335?263? bc), who expounded his philosophy of Stoicism chiefly in the marketplace of Athens.

Makarios III (191377), archbishop and ethnarch from 1950 and a leader in the struggle for independence, was elected the first president of Cyprus in December 1959, and reelected in 1968 and 1973. His successor as president, Spyros Kyprianou (19322002), also was twice elected to the office, in 1978 and 1983. Tassos Nikolaou Papadopoulos (b.1934) was elected president in 2003. Rauf Denktash (Denktaş b. 1924), the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, was elected vice president of Cyprus in 1973, became president of the TCFS in 1975, and of the TRNC in 1983; he was reelected in 1985 and served until 2005. He was succeeded by Mehmet Ali Talat (b.1952).


Cyprus has no territories or colonies.


Bolger, Diane and Nancy Serwint (eds.). Engendering Aphrodite: Women and Society in Ancient Cyprus. Boston, Mass.: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2002.

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Situation in Cyprus: Briefing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Washington, D.C.: The Commission, 2002.

Ioannides, Christos P. Realpolitik in the Eastern Mediterranean: From Kissinger and the Cyprus Crisis to Carter and the Lifting of the Turkish Arms Embargo. New York: Pella, 2001.

Jennings, Ronald C. Christians and Muslims in Ottoman Cyprus and the Mediterranean World, 15711640. New York: New York University Press, 1993.

Karageorghis, Vassos. Early Cyprus: Crossroads of the Mediterranean. Los Angeles, Calif.: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002.

Necatigil, Zaim M. The Cyprus Question and the Turkish Position in International Law, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Seddon, David (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of the Middle East. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2004.

Solsten, Eric (ed.). Cyprus, a Country Study. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1993.

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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Cyprus
Region: Middle East
Population: 758,363
Language(s): Greek, Turkish, English
Literacy Rate: 94%
Number of Primary Schools: 376
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Foreign Students in National Universities: 1,675
Libraries: 117
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 64,761
  Secondary: 61,266
  Higher: 9,982
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 100%
  Secondary: 97%
  Higher: 23%
Teachers: Primary: 4,202
  Secondary: 4,934
  Higher: 1,061
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 15:1
  Secondary: 13:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 100%
  Secondary: 99%
  Higher: 25%

History & Background

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily and Sardinia, and is situated at the eastern end of the sea. The island has an area of 9,251 square kilometers (3,572 square miles), measuring 226 kilometers long and 98 kilometers wide. The 755,000 inhabitants create a population density of 82 persons per square kilometer. The Greek Cypriots (including Armenians, Maronites, and Latins) comprise more then 85 percent of the population, the Turkish Cypriots make up 12 percent, and foreign residents the remaining amount. These population figures do not reflect the more than 115,000 Turkish settlers residing in the northern Turkish-occupied part of the island.

The strategic position of the island has earned Cyprus the designation of "crossroads of the world." The prehistory and history of the island document this title. The earliest signs of life in Cyprus date back to the pre-neolithic period, 10,000 to 8500 B.C. During the Bronze Age (2500 to 1050 B.C.), copper was extensively exploited and a metal work industry developed on the island. During the Late Bronze Age (1650 to 1050 B.C.), commercial contacts with the Aegean world were established, and Myceneans (ancient Greeks) settled on the coasts of Cyprus. The Mediterranean indigenous people gradually assimilated, creating a peripheral center of Greek culture in Cyprus.

The years 1050 to 333 B.C. witnessed waves of immigrants from mainland Greece (Arcadia), invasions by the Phoenicians, and successive submission to the Assyrian, Egyptian, and Persian states. King Evagoras of Salamis, who ruled from 411 to 374 B.C., unified Cyprus and it became a leading political and cultural center of the Greek world. In 323 B.C., Cyprus came under the rule of the Viceroys of Ptolemy I of Egypt and his successors. The capital transferred from Salamis to Paphos.

In 45 A.D., the Apostles Paul and Barnabas arrived in Cyprus to spread the Christian doctrine and succeeded in converting the Proconsul, Sergius Paulus, to Christianity at Paphos. Cyprus thereby became the first country to be governed by a Christian.

Constantine the Great, became sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 324, and proclaimed his mother Helena as Augusta soon after. Legend reports that Helena established the Stavrovouni Monastery in Cyprus, where she stayed during a return journey from Jerusalem. The monastery occupies the easternmost summit of the Troodos mountain range, at a height of 2,260 feet.

The seventh to tenth centuries A.D. are chiefly notable for continuous Arab raids on the island that caused great destruction, especially to churches and ecclesiastic art. In 965 A.D., the Arabs were expelled from Asia Minor and neighboring coastal areas by Byzantine Emperor, Nikiforos Focas, ending the raids. Nicosia became the capital of Cyprus in the tenth century.

From 1192 until 1489, the time known as the Frankish (Lusignan) Period, Cyprus was ruled under the feudal system. While the Catholic Church officially replaced the orthodox, the latter managed to survive.

A period of rule by the Venetians began in 1489 that would continue until 1571. The Venetians used Cyprus as a fortified base against the Turks. Trade and culture languished under the heavy taxes imposed to pay for the fortifications. Even so, Turkey successfully attacked Cyprus, eventually gaining control of the island.

Under Turkish rule, which lasted for 300 years (1571 to 1878), the Greek Orthodox Church was re-established and the Latin Church expelled. Turkish rule ended in 1878, under the Cyprus Convention, when Turkey transferred the administration of Cyprus to Great Britain in exchange for assistance in the event of Russian hostility. In 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey relinquished all rights to Cyprus. In 1925, Cyprus was declared a Crown colony.

A national liberation struggle launched in 1955 against colonial rule was finally resolved in February 1959 when Cyprus became an independent republic under the Zurich-London Treaty, with a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice president. In 1960, following the treaty agreement, and with Greece and Turkey guaranteeing its independence, territorial integrity, and constitution, Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state and became the 99th member-state of the United Nations. It became a member in the same year of the Commonwealth and was the sixteenth member-state of the Council of Europe in 1961 (Panteli 1990).

Evidence of an emerging social demand for education is the fact that in 1960, when the British left Cyprus, 90 percent of the 6 to 12 year old population attended primary schools, although compulsory education had not been implemented (Persianis 1996a). This is in stark contrast to school attendance just two decades earlier. In 1938 and 1939, of the 77,000 children of elementary school age, only 46,926 (61 percent) were attending school. Of the 60,000 children of secondary school age, only 4,784 (8 percent) were attending school. Through the postwar years (1945-1950), "the Cypriot youngster, as in the England of Dickens' Oliver Twist had to find work and receive next to nothing or toil in the field for ten to fifteen hours a day to supplement the meager family income" (Panteli 1990).

In 1963 the president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, suggested amendments to the constitution, with which the Turkish Cypriot leaders disagreed. The Turkish leaders then engineered an intercommunal crisis, withdrew from the Cyprus government and House of Representatives, and set up Turkish military enclaves in Nicosia and other parts of the island, with the help of military personnel from Turkey. This event marks the separation and division of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, although in many villages and towns the people of Cyprus continued to live together in peace and friendship. However, the first riots between the two communities in 1963-1964 and later in 1967 created an atmosphere of fear and mutual distrust, which gradually poisoned the friendly relations of the past.

On 15 July 1974 the Greek military junta organized a coup against Archbishop Makarios, who escaped to England. The coup and the constitutional provisions for the guarantor powers, provided Turkey the opportunity to invade Cyprus. On 20 July 1974, alleging they were coming in peace to protect the Turkish Cypriots and restore the constitutional order, 40,000 Turkish troops landed on the island assisted by Turkish air and naval forces. This maneuver violated the Charter of the United Nations, the fundamental human rights of thousands of Greek Cypriots, and all principles governing international relations. Three days later the coup was overthrown and constitutional order was reestablished.

If Turkey wanted to maintain any claim to be acting as a guarantor power, it would have withdrawn its forces on 23 July. Instead, in August it mounted a second attack against Cyprus. As a result, the Turkish Army occupied the northern third of the island, including 204 of 626 Greek Cypriot villages and 51.5 percent of the island's coasts and shores (Katsonis & Huber 1998). Thousands of people were killed or disappeared, and 200,000 people became refugees in their own country. A truce arranged by the United Nations (UN) mandated that the island be partitioned. Currently the Greek Cypriots occupy the southern two-thirds of the island and the Turkish Cypriots, with the aid of Turkish military and budgetary support, occupy the northern third. A United Nations peacekeeping force maintains a buffer zone between the two sectors.

The area under Turkish occupation unilaterally declared independence in 1983, fanning emotions in the south about previously owned property, family burial sites, and the loss of famous historical sites (Bradshaw 1993). The continued division and occupation of Cyprus serves as a major factor in understanding educational policy. One of the major problems that education in Cyprus continues to face is the occupation by Turkish troops of a number of primary and secondary schools (Papanastasiou 1995). The political division, rather than political pluralism, impacts every aspect of the culture, including education.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Cyprus is an independent, sovereign republic of a presidential type. Under the 1960 Constitution, the executive power is entrusted to the president of the republic who is elected for a five-year term of office. A transitional body governed education until the Proclamation of Independence on 16 August 1960. Thereafter, the administration of Greek Cypriot education was undertaken by the Greek Communal Chamber consisting of 26 members elected from the Greek community and the administration of the Turkish minority by the Turkish Communal Chamber. The Armenian and Maronite populations were given the option to choose the Communal Chamber by which they wished to be governed; both chose the Greek Communal Chamber. Within the framework of the Constitution, the Greek Communal Chamber has legislative power over all religious matters; all educational, cultural, and teaching matters; all staff matters; and the composition and instance of courts dealing with civil disputes relating to personal status and to religious matters. The Greek Communal Chamber was dissolved on 31 March 1965, with legislative powers passing to the House of Representatives and the administrative power to the Ministry of Education.

Educational SystemOverview

Knowledge Traditions: Unique to Cyprus may be the influence of the ancient Greek civilization, where the knowledge of theory was considered superior to the knowledge of practical skills (Persianis 1996b). Cypriot Greeks have historically related the concept of the "educated Cypriot" to the knowledge traditions of Greece. Cypriots traveled to Constantinople, Alexandria, Salamanca, Venice, Rome, and Paris for higher education during the years following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 (Persianis in Koyzis 1997). The tradition accelerated with the creation of modern Greece in 1830, particularly following the founding of the University of Athens in 1837.

"Teachers in Cyprus before 1830 (during Turkish rule), were mainly priests, or others, with some reading and writing skills. After 1830, and the establishment of teacher training institutes in Greece, the first educated teachers started returning to Cyprus" (Persianis and Polyviou 1992). The first teacher training institution to be established in Cyprus was in 1893 (Maratheftis 1992), when Cyprus was under British rule. The Pancyprian Teacher Training School commenced as a branch of the Pancyprian Gymnasium in Nicosia. It consisted of four years of primary education, three years of postprimary and four years gymnasium. After 1893, the Pancyprian Teacher Training School was upgraded to six years primary education and six years gymnasium.

In 1903 the first female teacher training institution was established in Nicosia, and in 1910 a priest training institution was established in Larnaca. In 1915 gymnasium education for teachers was increased to seven years. In the 1930s all the teacher training institutions were abolished by the British after political disturbances, the governor taking full control over elementary education.

In 1937 the Morphou Teacher Training College was established as a two-year institution by the ruling British, offering teacher training in English both for Greeks and Turks, with graduates qualifying as primary teachers. This action of the colonial government was not popular with the church and other educationalists. In 1943 a similar institution opened for females, admitting only Greeks until 1948. In 1958 the Morphou Teacher Training College was transferred to a large area of land in Nicosia replacing the Morphou and Larnaca colleges.

In 1959, after the Zurich-London agreements for the independence of Cyprus, the Teacher Training College became the Pedagogical Academy, providing education for the training of primary school teachers, its programs being offered in Greek. Graduates of public high schools were admitted for a two-year teacher training program. The Pedagogical Academy followed the system offered in Greece. The program became of three year duration in 1965, while in 1975, a nursery department was established for the training of nursery school teachers (Anastasiou 1995).

Greece has remained the model for Cypriot knowledge traditions, education, and culture with a relatively steady number of Cypriot Greeks studying in Greece (35 to 40 percent of the students studying abroad as reported by Koyzis 1997). The majority of all secondary school teachers in the Greek secondary schools are graduates of Greek universities (Koyzis 1997).

Perhaps the greatest impact of the Greek higher education tradition was the favored area of study, philology. The term has been interpreted to mean an education combining classical Greek literature, philosophy, and history with a uniquely Greek version of educational humanismGreek Orthodoxy, classical Hellenism, and an emphasis on literary humane studies (Koyzis 1997; McClelland 1980). According to Koyzis (1997), over 60 percent of all secondary teachers are philologists, along with 70 percent of the personnel in the Ministry of Education. The philologist-humanist knowledge tradition is a dominant factor in the state's conception of what is worth knowing. The philologist-humanist ideal recognizes the university as an extension of the state with the institution serving to produce the "disciplined, cultured, and moral Christian-Greek" (Koyzis 1997).

The School of Philosophy at the University of Athens in Greece (where languages, literature, and history are taught as well as philosophy) has been the center for the preservation of the humanist tradition. It has maintained links with the secondary school teachers' union, whose members have been trained largely in this university school. There is also a wider consumer for humanist education. The School of Philosophy at Athens retains the highest prestige (Koyzis 1997).

Another knowledge tradition which has influenced Cypriot intellectual life and invariably the development of higher education has been English essentialism. A third knowledge tradition which influenced the development of higher education in Cyprus is North American educational utilitarianism (Koyzis 1997).

Contemporary Context: The main political goal of the governmentsurvival of Cyprus as a unified, independent, and sovereign countryhas contributed to the educational philosophy of "I do not forget" (Papanastasiou 1995; Katsonis & Huber 1998). Greek Cypriots do not forget the people, churches, schools, homes, and lands in the Turkish occupied territory. School materials, programs, and publications keep the invasion of 1974 and subsequent events in contemporary focus.

The Greek Cypriot community (which comprises about 85 percent of the population of about 1 million inhabitants) uses the Greek language as the language of instruction in schools, and the Turkish Cypriot community uses the Turkish language. Each community encourages the teaching and learning of foreign languages, especially English, but not each other's language. The minority population of other non-Greek, non-Turkish ethnic groups are normally trilingual, having a native command of their own ethnic language, a near-native command of Greek, and, in most cases, a mastery of English (Papapaviou 1999).

Since the 1974 invasion and the subsequent division of the island, the languages of instruction have remained divided with little interaction. Numerous overseas Cypriots, mainly from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have returned to their homelands. Immigrants to Cyprus, primarily for employment, have added their languages to the linguistic situation, mainly Arabic, Filipino, Rumanian, and Russian. The majority of children attend Greek-speaking monolingual state primary schools. These schools do not provide auxiliary classes in Greek as a second language, nor do they provide instruction in the children's native ethnic language (Papapaviou 1999). The linguistic situation of the early twenty-first century finds many bilingual children in monolingual public schools. Private instruction, relatively expensive, is available for those seeking an English-speaking educational experience.

The formal education system of Cyprus is highly centralized and controlled by the state. School curricula and textbooks are determined by governmental agencies, along with guidelines on how to implement the national curriculum. Schools at all levels are visited by the state inspectorate, which is responsible for evaluating schools. Private schools are owned and administered by individuals or committees, but are liable to supervision and inspection by the Ministry of Education.

Education is free at all levels and compulsory from the age of five years and six months to the age of 15. All public schools use the same curriculum and textbooks, though teachers are free to adapt the material to their local environment. The 205-day school year is based on a nationwide core curriculum. According to 1999 figures on education published by the Department of Statistics of Education, there were 163,800 full-time students at 1,208 educational institutions of the island with more than 80 percent enrolled in public institutions.

Curriculum Development: The centralized system of educational administration, a centre-periphery model (Schon 1971), impacts the management of curriculum improvement in Cyprus (Kyriakides 1999) along the following five dimensions:

  1. The design of the curriculum of 1981 and the new curriculum were almost completely controlled by the government inspectors and did not establish any mechanism for consulting teachers.... Inspectors control the design of the curriculum, the implementation through provision of guidelines and advice to teachers for problems with implementing the curriculum policy, and teacher evaluation.
  2. School Based Curriculum Development (SBCD) is weak in Cyprus and is also a consequence of high central control that does not allow for much differentiation among the schools. Cypriot teachers struggle with their problems and anxieties privately, spending most of their time apart from their colleagues. There is very rarely interaction concerned with professional issues among the staff of schools (Kyriakides 1994).
  3. The difficulties of the centre-periphery model of the curriculum change also has to do with the fact that the quality of teachers determines to some extent the implementation of curriculum policy. The need for a strong link between curriculum reform and teacher development is also reflected in theories of curriculum change (Fullan & Hargreaves 1992). This raises questions on links between teachers' professional development and curriculum reform in Cyprus. It is argued that there is no link between curriculum reform and teacher development, which is attributed to the process of curriculum change followed in Cyprus that implies a limited role for teachers (Kyriakides 1994). The underlying model of change management is based on contractual rather than professional accountability.
  4. The aims of the education service in Cyprus are set out in various government publications and policy documents. By analyzing these aims one can identify an attempt to link education to the historical, social, moral, cultural, economic, and political context of Cyprus (Kyriakides 1994; UNESCO 1997). However, the aims say little about the concept of partnership that is now given high priority in many countries. It can be argued that policy documents do not encourage the idea that schools should take account not only of policy decisions of government inspectors, but also of the expectations of parents, employers, and the community at large. Neither official policy documents nor any nonstatutory guidance suggest that the development of the curriculum at the local level should be seen in terms of the pupils' and parents' role (Kyriakides 1994).
  5. Systematic information about the conditions of schooling, educational processes, and educational outcomes for all grades and subjects appears to be lacking (Kyriakides 1999). In addition, innovation, evaluations, and curricular changes need to be designed for the specific conditions in Cyprus.

Examinations, Promotions, & Certifications: The Cypriot system requires no entrance examinations for primary and secondary schools. Almost all primary school students are promoted to the next grade. Only in the first grade is there a failure rate of about 1.5 percent of the students. Primary school students earn a leaving certificate at the end of the sixth year after evaluation through continuous assessment. All primary graduates proceed to secondary school without any examination. In secondary education, every student receives a school report three times a year at the end of each school term. At the end of grades 9 and 12, all students take common final exams prepared by the Ministry of Education.

Beginning in 1991, students in Grade 12 also take an externally prepared final exam. The following year, 1992, Grade 9 students were required to take compulsory common exams in four subjects.

Special Education: In 1995, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted an update of the initial "1988 Review of the Present Situation of Special Education." The division in the Ministry of Education in Cyprus provided information by means of questionnaire responses. The forms of special education available were reported as emotional and behavioral disturbance, mental retardation/severe learning difficulties, physical/motor disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment, language disorder, and learning disabilities (UNESCO 1995).

The aim of special education policy in Cyprus is to encourage and support the integration of children with special needs into the ordinary education system and give them an opportunity to grow and learn together with their peers. Special provision is made for physically handicapped children (e.g., deaf, blind) and the mentally retarded, who attend special schools.

Children who are profoundly handicapped, mainly characterized by physical disabilities and mental retardation, are cared for in residential institutions operated by the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Social Welfare, or voluntary agencies. The full range of facilities employed in meeting the needs of students in special education includes boarding special schools, day special schools, special classes in regular schools, resource rooms in regular schools, and the support of teaching in regular classes. The provision of these special education facilities is mainly the responsibility of the Director of Primary Education. The Inspector of Special Education has primary operational responsibility.

For secondary school students with special needs, the responsibility lies with the Department of Secondary Education and the Department of Technical Education within the Ministry of Education. Administrative decisions are made at the national level. In settings where special education is provided by voluntary bodies (estimated to be about 4 percent of the expenditure on special education), the Ministry of Education provides teaching staff to cover some of the needs of the institutions (UNESCO 1995).

Legislation specific to special educational needs is concerned principally with primary education. The basic law, Special Education Law 1979, describes the kind of special needs that should be met in special schools and special classes, the procedures for multiprofessional assessment and placement of these children, the roles of the psycho-pedagogical committees, the obligations of parents, and the roles of governing bodies of special schools. A further law in 1993 governs the integration of hearingimpaired children. More recent legislative consideration has been given to meeting students' needs in the least restrictive environment (UNESCO 1995).

Preprimary & Primary Education

Since Cyprus has been at the crossroads of world travel through the centuries, the country's educational system has been influenced by many different civilizations. During the Ottoman Period (1571-1878), children attended school as early as age four in sibyan classes of elementary schools. Classes were mixed-age and included both genders. The children were confided to the teacher in a special religious ceremony called Amin Alayi, and this trust required certain religious qualifications of the teachers, both male and female. In 1878, when the British took over administration of education in Cyprus, there were 65 Turkish elementary schools (Mertan 1995).

During the British Period (1878-1960), the Elementary Education Committees conducted meetings between Ottoman and British educators that continued until 1929. During this time, the education of children between the ages of four to six was an issue. In 1926, for instance, only four schools existed on the island to educate children in this nursery age group, one in Famagusta and three in Nicosia. Weir explained in 1952 that nursery schools were completely lacking in Cyprus. The few schools that had been in operation were closed due to economic issues. Both the need for teacher training and the subsequent availability of trained teachers were lacking.

State preprimary education is a particular priority since the Turkish invasion of 1974 in order to support refugee families, equalize educational opportunities across economic groups, and enable more mothers to secure gainful employment. Preprimary institutions include public, private, and community-based nursery schools, day care centers, and kindergartens. The nursery schools are certified and supervised by the Ministry of Education, the day care centers by the Department of Social Welfare and Services. A uniform curriculum is provided for the nursery school experience, promoting integrated development and preparation for citizenship. The Pancyprian School for Parents serves as a primary agency for parental education in Cyprus.

Since 1962, primary education has been free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 to 12. Schools operate in every community of at least 15 children. Area schools serve neighboring communities with fewer than 15 pupils. Parental choice is not an option, and children must attend the school in their area.

Cyprus is a signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the action plan developed at the Summit for Children organized by UNICEF in 1991. In a paper prepared for the 1997 Health and Social Welfare Conference, van Oudenhoven and Wazir (of International Child Development Initiatives, the Netherlands) provided an extensive overview of the Mediterranean experience regarding early childhood development and social integration, including the issue of social inclusion/exclusion in early childhood education. They describe critical factors to consider in early childhood preprimary educationmost significantly, the inherent, inalienable right of every child to receive care and education with attention to physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. In Cyprus, about 0.06 percent of the population is under the age of five with virtually none of the population living below the absolute poverty level. Equally positive is the life expectancy average age of 77, the highest in the Mediterranean region (with the same life expectancy reported for Israel and Malta). The under-five mortality rate (U5MR) of 11 percent, as an indicator of the crucial components that indicate early childhood development, places Cyprus in an enviable position in contrast to other countries of the Mediterranean regionIsrael was rated the only country with a better rate at 9 percent, while Turkey's rate was 50 percent and Morocco's, 75 percent (van Oudenhoven & Wazir 1997). Cyprus ranks comparatively healthy in the consideration of malnourished children as well, with 8 percent.

School enrollment and dropout rates can be considered as indicators of the psycho-social development of children. In Cyprus, school enrollment for all boys and girls in the late twentieth century stood at 99 percent, with virtually no dropout rate. That these rates are equal for boys and girls accounts for Cyprus having the highest female literacy rate in the region (91 percent), compared to only 31 percent in Morocco, 49 percent in Algeria, and 72 percent in Turkey.

Most of the primary schools in urban areas and larger communities are divided into two cycles: cycle A, catering to grades I through III, and cycle B, comprised of grades IV through VI. The pupil-teacher ratio at the national level is 19:1 with a ceiling set at 34 pupils for the largest classes.

Experiential, meaningful learning is promoted through an emphasis on environment, science and social subjects, language development, music, art, physical education, home economics, design and technology, and information technology. The acquisition of the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics is given an important place in all grades of primary schooling. Primary school graduates receive a leaving certificate at the end of the sixth year after evaluation through continuous assessment.

Northern Cyprus: The northern region of Cyprus under Turkish occupation provides preschool education in kindergartens for children between the ages of four and six. Primary education is provided at two stages: elementary school for the 7 to 12 age group, which lasts for five years, and secondary-junior school for the 13 to 15 age group, which lasts for three years. Both preschool and primary education is free and compulsory.

Secondary Education

Public general secondary education is divided into two cycles, the Gymnasium and the Lyceum, which provide a six-year course to children in the 11 to 17 age group. Secondary education has become compulsory up to the third year of gymnasium, and has been free for both cycles since 1985. The U.S. reader should be mindful that gymnasium has a different meaning in Europe. A student who attends a gymnasium will be studying at a level equivalent to the U.S. high school junior and senior (Bradshaw 1993).

The lower cycle comprises the first three years of secondary education, during which all pupils follow a common course of general education. The second cycle, which comprises the last three years of secondary education, is offered either in the Lyceum of Elective Subjects or in the technical/vocational schools. Pupils are assisted in making their choice by the vocational guidance services. At the Lyceum of Elective Subjects there are three categories of subjects: the subjects of the main core, which have to be attended by all pupils, specialization subjects, and supplementary subjects, which are elective. Although pupils are in principle free to choose any of the elective subjects, in practice there are five main combinations. These are combinations with emphasis on classical studies, sciences, economics, commercial subjects and subjects related to skills for office professions, or foreign languages.

In September 1995 the Department of Secondary Education introduced educational system reform on an experimental basis in three Lycea in Nicosia. This step was taken in connection with the change from the Lyceum of elective subjects to the unified Lyceum, in order to combine secondary general with secondary technical education. The goal is that the unification cost will not be unbearable for the public sector and will not prejudice technical education.

Northern Cyprus: In Northern Cyprus secondary education is designed for the 16 to 18 age group at high schools known as lycees and vocational schools. The technical and vocational schools are comprised of commercial lycees, technical training schools, agricultural vocational school, the school of nursing and midwifery, and the tourism and hotel management and catering school.

Vocational & Technical Education: Since independence from Britain in 1960, the establishment and organization of technical education in Cyprus has been one of the primary concerns of the Cyprus government (Bradshaw 1993). Seen as a contributing factor in the economic progress of the island, technical education was implemented to meet the needs of the newly independent country. During the first 30 years, 11 technical schools were established. The A Technical Schools in Nicosia and Limassol began under British administration in 1956. The Agriculture School opened in 1959 at Morphou. The Technical School at Xeros was begun in 1961. The B Technical School and Dianellos Technical School in Larnaca started in 1962, as did the Morphou and Kyrenia Commercial Schools. The Technical School in Polis and The Famagusta Technical School began in 1963. The Technical School in Paphos began in 1969. The next school, opened in 1976, was the B Technical School in Limmasol. Lazaros Technical School opened in 1980 in Larnaca, followed in 1981 by Makarios in Nicosia. The Hotel and Catering School at Paralimni opened in 1984, and, finally, the Hotel and Catering School at Limmasol opened in 1987. Before 1959 the British colonial government operated four bicommunal technical schools: apprentice schools in Nicosia, Limassol, and Lefka, and a junior preparatory school in Nicosia (Bradshaw 1993).

According to Bradshaw (1993), who worked with the Fulbright-Hayes Commission in Cyprus from January to July 1991, technical education program development has passed through a number of developmental stages. An overview of each of the six stages follows.

During the initial stage, which immediately followed independence in 1960 to 1961, the basic aims of technical education were the continuation of the traditional humanistic and cultural scope of education, and the training of suitably skilled manpower for the emerging Cyprus industries (Bradshaw 1993). This education was offered at two levels, or sectionsa four-year and a six-year program. During the initial years, general education was offered in both programstwo years of general education in the four-year program and three years of general education in the six-year program. Basic technical subjects were introduced in addition to the general education classes. During the second phase of the programs, emphasis was given to the technical subjects, while the percentage of time focused on general education was reduced (Bradshaw 1993).

The second developmental stage evolved in 1964, based on assessment of the implementation of the two types of programs of technical education for four years. More general education was assigned to the first two-year cycle in the four-year program, thus reducing the percentage of time for technical subjects.

The third developmental stage, initiated in 1967, was based on the prevailing trends in Europe and on the demands of the industries and the people of Cyprus. These pressures necessitated partial revision of the first cycle of the four-year program, increasing it to three years, thereby making the program a five-year program. The first three years became identical to the first three years of the six-year program, and identical to the gymnasia curricula (secondary schools). This development meant that students could choose the type of school they wanted to attend after completing the first cycle (Bradshaw 1993).

The political division of Cyprus in 1974 interrupted the fourth developmental stage that was introduced in 1972 and interfered with the evaluation of the reforms of 1972 and the assessment of the programs, as well as the functioning of the programs. The fourth stage was not implemented until 1976, and was based on the expansion of technical education; study of problems and functions of the technical schools; and the consideration of worldwide trends in education (i.e., equal opportunity). The following pattern was developed for implementation:

  1. Technical education was promoted as one unit, the second cycle having a three-year program (with the exception of hotel and catering curricula and the dressmaking curricula, which remained two-year programs).
  2. Broad, basic training in groups of related specializations during Class IV, followed by greater depth in the specialty for the following two years.
  3. The education and training offered to the students of classes IV, V, and VI were aimed at achieving a predetermined level of competence. (Bradshaw 1993)

After the division, the technical schools at Xeros (1961) and Famagusta were no longer available to Greek Cypriots because they were in the areas secured by the Turkish Army. "The loss of these two schools was especially severe... as they were large, well-equipped, modern facilities" (Bradshaw 1993). Following the division, the refugee students were distributed to the remaining technical schools. Overcapacity necessitated that all technical schools except those at Paphos and Polis operate both mornings and afternoons, which continued for four years, with Limassol continuing the two-shift basis until 1982. Enrollment continued to rise during this stage at a higher percentage than increases before the division of Cyprus.

Based in part on the determination that the unification of the vocational and technical sections had been made at the expense of the strengths of each, modifications were made and the fifth developmental stage was implemented as follows. After completing gymnasium, pupils could enroll in class IV in the technical and the vocational schools. Class IV was common to all students, but they were divided according to their interests into mechanical, electrical, or building and construction. During this year, the students were each provided with opportunities to gain extensive technical knowledge and training in their area of interest so they could discover their inclination and capabilities. At the end of class IV, students could choose either the vocational or technical section according to their test results in math, physics, chemistry, and technology. Special emphasis was given (technician level) to theory for the technical section, whereas the vocational program (craft level) had an emphasis on workshop training. The course duration was three years, the first common year followed by two years of technical, specialized education. The vocational students could leave school after one year of specialization. However, the vocational students who completed three years of specialization could sit for the technical section certificate exam.

Students who had completed two years could choose to attend afternoon or evening class to prepare for the certificate exam (Bradshaw 1993). The sixth developmental stage, determined by the Education Council at the Ministry of Education in 1976 and implemented in 1978, focused on allowing more flexibility in technical education and making that education available to all interested students. "The curriculum would allow those leaving school to continue their education and professional development, and to stay current in their specialization . . . [and] satisfy the needs of industry" (Bradshaw 1993).

The new structure provided for vocational and technical sections in all the Cyprus technical schools and required each course syllabus to be based on behavioral objectives. The technical section offered a three-year curriculum with an emphasis on mathematics, the sciences, and a technology of specialization. Graduates could be employed as technicians in industry or pursue further studies (for which they met the qualifications) in colleges and universities. The technical section had five branches, each with one or more specialization: mechanical engineering, with a specialization as a machinist-fitter or in automobile mechanics; electrical engineering, with specializations in electrical installations, electronics, and computers; building, with a specialization as a technical assistant; graphic arts, with a specialization in graphic design and interior decoration; and fashion design, with a specialization in garment design and construction (Bradshaw 1993).

The vocational section offered a two-year curriculum with an emphasis on acquiring skills by increasing the percentage of time spent in workshop practice. An optional sixth year offered on-the-job-training, with either one-third or twp-thirds industry/school attendance. Graduates could be employed as craftspersons in industry. In addition, the vocational student could move to the technical curriculum after passing prescribed examinations. By 1982, there were six vocational branches: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, building and construction, hotel and catering, dressmaking, and pottery (Bradshaw 1993).

Since gaining independence from Britain, Cyprus has stressed the college preparatory course in both the gymnasium and vocational/technical curriculum, with the latter making a transition toward a comprehensive education curriculum (Bradshaw 1993). Since 1976, fewer changes have been made in technical education. Additional coursework has been offered in foundry, agriculture machinery, joinery, carpentry, graphic design technology, fashion design, garment construction, drafting, goldsmithing and silversmithing, building science and technology, shoemaking, and vocational catering and waiting, with increased space for hotel catering and graphic arts curricula. The pottery and ceramics program was dropped due to low enrollment.

An issue regarding technical education should be noted. All males are required to spend two years in the national military service after completion of secondary school. Given how quickly technical education changes and advances, this is problematic for the students who achieve a technical education and then are forced to postpone work to complete their two years of military service.

Higher Education

Postsecondary education was established in Cyprus when two teacher training colleges were opened by the then British Colonial Office of Education, one for male students in 1937 and one for female students in 1946 (Koyzis 1989). In January 1958, both of these institutions were combined in the coeducational pedagogical Academy of Cyprus, and by 1959 the institution was turned over to the Greek community of Cyprus, which was preparing for the following year's independence from Britain. In 1960, an equivalent Turkish teacher's college also began. In 1958 the Pedagogical Academy had adopted the two-year curriculum used by pedagogical academies in Greece. A third year was added to the curriculum in the early 1960s. At that time, mandatory teaching of English was added to the curriculum.

By the 1992-1993 school year, the Republic of Cyprus was providing postsecondary education to 33 percent of all Cypriot students. These students comprised 58 percent of all secondary school graduates who continued beyond that level. Of the students enrolled in postsecondary education, 25 percent were studying abroad. There was a significant decline in the percentage of students studying abroad in the mid-1980s, primarily due to the founding of the public university in 1992 and an expansion of the private sector of higher education (Koyzis 1997).

While the Ministry of Education was established in 1965, a separate Department of Tertiary Education was not established until 1984, with the first law regulating tertiary education enacted in 1987. Thus, the history of higher education in Cyprus is fairly recent.

Despite being a young republic, Cyprus compares favorably with older nations in terms of enrollment ratios. In 1990, approximately 36 percent of students continued to tertiary education, a percentage that compares positively with the most developed countries of the world (Anastasiou 1995).

Higher education includes: private tertiary institutions, of which the major ones are Cyprus College (founded in 1961), Frederick Institute of Technology (1975), Intercollege (1980), and Philips College (1978); public tertiary institutions, of which the largest ones are The Higher Technical Institute (established in 1968) and the School of Nursing (1964); and the first public university, the state University of Cyprus (1992). "The University of Cyprus' official languages of instruction are Greek and Turkish as primary languages, and English as the secondary language. But due to the political situation on the island, Turkish is only used in Turkish Studies Program. Since 1992 Greek has become the de facto language of the University of Cyprus. However all programs require some English instruction as well"(Koyzis 1997). The University of Cyprus includes schools of humanities and social sciences, a school of pure and applied sciences, and the school of economics and administration. Other public sector institutions include a school of nursing and midwifery, the Hotel and Catering Institute, the Higher Technical Institute, the Forestry College, and two management institutes. Other institutions function as Cyprus campuses for U.S. institutions, such as the Intercollege's connection with the University of Indianapolis (Koyzis 1989).

A significant feature of higher education in Cyprus is the large private sector developed since the mid-1970s. The private sector provides higher education to Cypriots in English and models its curricula and courses of study on British and North American institutions. These private sector institutions rely exclusively on British or North American accreditation and degree validation, offering programs in business studies, computers and information sciences, hotel management, engineering and technology, secretarial studies, and social sciences (Koyzis 1989, 1997).

Like other developing countries, the demand for higher education has risen in Cyprus over the last three decades, with 60 percent of all secondary school graduates continuing their studies beyond that level (Department of Statistics and Research 1995, as reported by Menon 1997). Unlike other developing countries, Cyprus has not yet recorded high graduate unemployment rates, with fewer than three percent of recent higher education graduates reporting unemployment, according to the Planning Bureau (Menon 1997).

A development in tertiary education at the close of the twentieth century was the announcement by the Cyprus government that it would promote the development of private colleges into private universities. The International Committee for the Establishment of an Independent University of Cyprus (Coufoudakis 2000) proposed a plan for accomplishing the goal at the Intercollege institutions. Intercollege, the largest private institution in Cyprus, enrolled more than 2,500 students during the academic 1999-2000 year, of which 25 percent were international. For the 2000-2001 academic year, the number of students enrolled at Intercollege's three campuses reached 3,500 students, making it the largest tertiary educational institution in Cyprus.

School curricula have focused on theory as preparation for postcompulsory education, rather than on the practical aspects of life and employment. In Menon's 1997 study of the forces impacting secondary school students' motivation to pursue higher studies, strong parental encouragement for the continuation of studies beyond the secondary level ranked at the top of the list.

Over 10,000 Cypriots were studying abroad in the 1997-1998 academic year. Of those, 45.2 percent were studying in Greece, 27.3 percent in the United Kingdom, 17.8 percent in the United States, and 9.7 percent in other countries.

Northern Cyprus: In Northern Cyprus, university education is provided by Teachers Training College, Eastern Mediterranean University, Near East University, Girne American University, and International American University, with distance education opportunities from Turkey's Anadolu University.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

According to Law 12/1965, the highest authority for making and shaping educational policy is the Council of Ministers. The Ministry of Education is responsible for the administration of education, policy, curricula, personnel preparation, hiring and promotions, enforcement of laws and regulations, and resource allocation and budget. Preprimary, primary, and secondary education are under the authority of the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education is advised in its policies by the Educational Council.

The president appoints the Educational Service Commission, an independent five-member committee with a six-year term. The commission has authority over appointments, promotions, transfers, disciplinary measures, and dismissal of teacher and instructors.

Construction, maintenance, and the equipping of school buildings are the responsibility of local school committees under the supervision of the technical services of the Ministry of Education. Committees may be appointed by the Council of Ministers, or, in rural areas, may be selected by community members. The committees have regional functions concerning the educational budget, which they submit to the Ministry of Education of the upcoming school year; they also submit a detailed financial statement at the end of each year for a state audit.

The most recently available figures show that government expenditures on education at all levels have reached 217.5 million Cyprus pounds, which accounts for 13.8 percent of the state budget and 5.0 percent of the island's GDP. There were 163,800 full-time students at 1,208 educational institutions on the island, with more than 80 percent enrolled in public institutions. The total number of teaching staff reached 10,984.

Public education is mainly financed by the government through school committees. In addition, elected members of the central committee of the Parents' Association (PA) assist schools financially by raising money through various events to support particular needs and school programs. The national assembly of the PA is a powerful pressure group and policymakers take the PA into account at all times.

The process followed for the design and diffusion of curriculum change in Cyprus has been a centre-periphery model (Schon 1971), operating in a highly centralized system (Kyriakides 1999). Inspectors control the design of the curriculum, the implementation through the provision of guidelines and advice to teachers, and the evaluation by being responsible for teachers' appraisal. No mechanism exists for consulting teachers.

A lack of systematic research in the field of research in Cyprus has been noted (Kyriakides 1999). The research studies that are undertaken are mainly small-scale and uncoordinated (UNESCO 1997). An important implication from the lack of any research for the evaluation of curriculum change is that no innovation has been designed for the specific conditions of Cyprus (Kyriakides 1999). It is important for the Ministry of Education to establish a national educational research unit (UNESCO 1997) to conduct research into curriculum policy and to inform pedagogical debate.

Despite 35 years of existence, the Ministry of Education has yet to pursue a complete analysis of all of Cyprus's tertiary education needs, costs, and benefits (Biggs 1992). A strategic plan to encompass private and public tertiary education, the Cyprus University, students traveling abroad, students coming from abroad, and a serious analysis on how to proceed is very much needed (Orphanides 1995).

Nonformal Education

The post-World War II era witnessed the development of adult and continuing education in Cyprus. Persianis (1996) has identified the following six features of adult and continuing education in Cyprus: the great impact of political developments; the great dependency on foreign know-how, models, and institutions; the low socio-economic origin of its target groups; a different educational and cultural tradition from that of mainstream education; an increased emphasis on social advancement courses rather than on cultural and community advancement courses; and its use as both a spearhead for modernization and a shield for protecting the integrity of mainstream education from foreign dependency.

The political independence of 1960 created a need for adult education owing to new administrative posts in the expanded political structure, government emphasis on economic and social advancement, the requirement of higher qualifications for civil service, and minimum educational qualifications required for "ex-fighters... who had established the new state with their sacrifices" (Persianis 1996).

The case of the ex-fighters was a real revelation and a blessing to many capable people who had not had an opportunity in their youth to acquire high educational qualifications. In fact it officially established the way towards adult education. It showed that the acquisition of academic qualifications by people who had passed the normal school age was possible, and it established completely new educational routes. At the same time it pointed out the need for additional routes, and it created pressure on the government to provide the necessary means (Persianis 1996).

One additional educational route the government established provided for evening gymnasia (seven-year, part-time secondary schools) for working young people, as well as evening technical classes leading to external examinations and evening foreign language institutes.

The political division of 1974 had tremendous impact on the value of adult education as well, as wealthy, landed people became destitute refugees. Only academic qualifications seemed to afford hope of gainful work in divided Cyprus or abroad.

A third wave of adult and continuing education appeal has started since Cyprus applied to join the European Union in 1990. The four freedoms envisioned by the Maastrict Treaty of 1992 have stressed the importance of the qualitative improvement of Cyprus products and services and the efficiency of its labor force in order to cope with the globalization of competition. The existing evidence is that the country seems to depend more on its adult and continuing education rather than on its mainstream schooling in its efforts to meet the challenges of the European Union (Persianis 1996).

The second feature of adult and continuing education, dependency on foreign models, was a logical outgrowth of four centuries of Ottoman occupation and 84 years of British rule. Independence in 1960 was followed by the immediate need for quick development to traverse the technological and industrial divide. As high-tech equipment was imported, the need for high-tech training created a dependency on foreign trainers, examining boards, and accreditation institutions. A number of Cyprus private schools of higher education have established dependent relationships with primarily British and U.S. institutions of higher learning that are characterized in one or more of the following ways: as a kind of foreign college offering foreign courses; as the initial source of coursework leading to completion of degrees abroad; as sites subject to external examiners; and as the site for course offerings identical to those of their foreign affiliates.

The third feature of adult education is that it targets people from the lower socioeconomic strata. An exception to this is "in the case of the foreign language institutes (now called State Further Education Institutes). The majority of their students are higher secondary schools students who need coaching either for the University of Cyprus and the Universities of Greece entrance examinations or for the external examinations (mainly GCE)" (Persianis 1996).

The fourth feature distinguishes the cultural tradition of adult education from the knowledge tradition of the mainstream educational system. The majority of the courses, mainly those offered by the Industrial Training Authority, constitute a different educational and cultural entity from the traditional one. The courses are mostly technological, managerial, and professionally oriented, and they are short and accelerated, built on different epistemological assumptions from those that are dominant in the formal education courses. The educators in the adult courses are usually professionals with a long history of hands-on experience, but without formal teaching qualifications. Some of them are foreigners (for 96 out of the 1,519 programs the educators were foreigners; 89 programs were held abroad).

The modes of teaching and learning in the adult education courses differ tremendously from those of formal teaching. This is considered an advantage both because it is regarded as more appropriate for adult learning and also because it alleviates the cultural embarrassment of adults having to become students at an advanced age.

Parallel to these courses, however, are the courses offered by the Ministry of Education (i.e., evening gymnasium, in-service training courses for teachers at the Pedagogical Institute), which follow the traditional mode of teaching and learning. So, in fact, with regard to this characteristic, there is a division of courses on the lines of the individual ministry offering the courses (Persianis 1996).

The fifth feature distinguishing adult education from mainstream general education is that, with the exception of the adult education centers and the state further education institutes (which offer cultural and advancement courses), all other institutes of adult and continuing education offer professional advancement courses (i.e., courses leading to qualifications necessary for appointment or promotion). For instance, in 1993, approximately 883 adults attended cultural courses, while 20,008 adults attended social advancement courses (Persianis 1996).

The final, and most important, feature of adult and continuing education has been its role as the source for meeting the needs of modernization, thus protecting the education system's tradition of Greek educational humanism. The goals of nonformal education are to help early school graduates to supplement their basic education, secondary school graduates to enter the world of work, and working people to acquire professional knowledge. The government covers the expenditure for public nonformal institutions.

Other public and private institutions offer courses as well, but may charge fees. It is estimated that 9.5 percent of people above the age of 18 attend nonformal education provided through various agencies and institutions, including evening gymnasia, part-time institutes, adult education centers, the Industrial Training Authority, and the Cyprus Productivity Center (Papanastasiou 1995).

Distance Learning: Cyprus was first introduced to cyberspace in 1990 (Miltiadou 1996). The Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) recognized the significant academic uses of computers for a small country like Cyprus, and in the late 1990s, it was the first government department to connect with the European Academic and Research Network (EARN). The Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association (TERENA) was formed in 1994 by the merger of RARE (Réseaux Associés pour la Recherche Européenne) and EARN, "to promote and participate in the development of a high quality international information and telecommunications infrastructure for the benefit of research and education."

In October 1996 the Ministry of Education and Culture was invited to attend the Web for Schools (WfS)conference in Dublin, Ireland. The WfS program, funded by the European Union, is designed to produce a self-sustaining group of secondary school teachers who have the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary to collaborate in order to use the World Wide Web to produce learning materials.

The Cyprus Fullbright Commission has created a web page that provides information about its grants to Cypriot and U.S. residents, educational advice concerning studies in the United States, and information on special bicommunal projects between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-Cypriot side. Hypertext links provide U.S. education resources and other interesting links to students and teachers in Cyprus (Miltiadou 1996).

Teaching Profession

Preservice Teacher Training: Admission standards to the elementary education major at the University of Cyprus have been compared to those at U.S. institutions and were determined to be higher (Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou 1997). In order to be admitted to the Department of Education at the University of Cyprus, students have to compete with approximately 2,000 other candidates in the fiercely competitive University Entrance Examinations. Among those 2,000 candidates, only 150 are admitted to the elementary education program every year.

Since these examinations are highly competitive, the students that eventually get these positions are the best candidates. These students rank among the top 10 percent of the candidates that want to enter the elementary education major (Papanastasiou 1989).

At least one study of the factors influencing students' decisions to major in elementary education suggested that the external, extrinsic factors were the most compelling: high salaries, variety of benefits, guaranteed employment after graduation, job security, multiple job possibilities, and long vacations (Papanastasiou & Papanastasiou 1997). Intrinsic factors were reported to be the most compelling for a U.S. sample of elementary education majors who focused on the love of working with and teaching children. Certainly the national context for these disparate groups would need to be considered in applying the findings.

Cypriot preprimary and primary student teachers are trained through courses equivalent to a four-year bachelor's degree in education. However, neither the Pedagogical Academy of Cyprus nor the Department of Education at the University of Cyprus requires any compulsory course on curriculum development (Kyriakides 1999). The lack of emphasis on pedagogy is echoed at the secondary level, as well. To become a secondary teacher, the candidate must obtain a university degree related to the specific subject to be taught. Initial teacher training is not required.

Initial teacher training has an optional element on special needs, and teachers in regular schools can attend various in-service training courses about different aspects of special needs. Teachers specializing in special education may need to travel abroad for extended training in special education but have in-service training opportunities within Cyprus (UNESCO 1995).

In-Service Teacher Training: The in-service teacher training (INSET) of primary and secondary school teachers is the task of the Pedagogical Institute. There is no school-based INSET, though the argument for such has been provided for some time. Optional courses provided by the Pedagogical Institute are the main kind offered by INSET. The seminars are primarily held in the afternoon and may be difficult for teachers to attend. Moreover, the decision to attend these courses seems to be purely individual, rather than as part of an educational plan or building team outcome. This seems to support the interpretation that there is a lack of coherent educational planning in each school (Kyriakides 1999).

All secondary teachers must undergo in-service training during the first year of their probationary period. This compulsory training is provided by the Pedagogical Institute. Reduced teaching hours accommodate the weekly training. While the 1997 UNESCO report, "Appraisal Study on the Cyprus Education System," reported that INSET offered a balance between pedagogical considerations and subject teaching, Kyriakides's 1999 review of the model contested this claim because curriculum change and curriculum reform were not included. In addition, topics like school effectiveness and school improvement were not offered. Kyriakides called for professional development that linked teachers to the process of curriculum change.

In November 1999 the Ministry of Education and Culture, committed to the upgrading of educational provisions in public schools in Cyprus, organized an international workshop called The Teaching of Modern Languages to Mixed Ability Classes. The workshop, organized in collaboration with the European Center of Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (in Graz, Austria), with the assistance of the British Council, Goethe Institute, and other organizations, was held in No- vember 1999 in Nicosia. It was attended by 25 delegates from European countries with 15 local participants, mainly foreign language teachers at the secondary level. The aims of the workshop were to provide participants with input regarding the nature of mixed ability teaching and the key elements involved; examine the complex interaction of pupils, teachers, and materials in instruction so as to promote effective learning and teaching strategies; explore ways of assessing learners' performance in mixed ability classes; and encourage the exchange of relevant ideas and successful practices among foreign language teachers (Christodoulou 1999).

The Minister of Education and Culture, Ouranios Loannides, addressed the 30th session of the UNESCO General Conference (October to November 1999) in Paris. Cyprus has been a member of this organization since 1961 and has participated actively in its programs in the fields of education, science, and culture. In his address, the minister referred to Major Areas of the Proposed Program for the period 1999-2001. Concerning Major Program I, which deals with education for all throughout life, Loannides pointed out that illiteracy on the island has been eradicated, with attendance in primary and secondary education at 100 percent while approximately 60 percent of school graduates continue their studies beyond secondary level. Measures have been adopted for enhancing adult education, such as evening schools, institutes for further education, and an open university. Concerning Major Program II, which deals with the sciences in the service of development, the minister reported that a new type of school will be introduced where time allocated to science education is increased and more emphasis is placed on experimental and practical work (Christodoulou 1999).


Cyprus entered the twenty-first century as a divided nation state. Nearly three decades of ethnic conflict are symbolized in its divided capitol city, Nicosia. The United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in Cyprus are a daily reminder to a generation that has suffered the pain of the Cyprus conflict. The effect of this ethnic conflict on students and the educational process is hard to understand or measure. The necessity for further research into the psychological effects of ethnic and political conflicts on children in general, and in Cyprus in particular, has been emphasized (Charalambous 2001; Erduran 1996; Ladd and Cairns 1996). The situation of the children of some 200,000 refugees is particularly vulnerable.

Though Cyprus cannot be characterized as a multilingual society, it has many small ethnic communities living permanently on the island, less permanent groups who live on the island for economic reasons but do not have their own language schools, and repatriated Cypriots who rely on state schools for their children's education. The monolingual Greek Cypriot educational system needs to be considered in the evaluation of the academic success of these students, particularly those who are bilingual and multilingual.

The division of Cyprus has impacted the languages of instruction. The political decision to offer foreign languages but not the language of the other major ethnic group on the island provides a stumbling block for dialogue between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. The increase in mixed-ethnic marriages and the addition of other ethnic groups and respective ethnic languages heightens the need for additional study and consideration of the official languages of instruction and the offering of foreign languages in Cypriot schools.

Representatives from the educational system could be sending teachers and sharing ideas with developing countries. As Bradshaw noted (1993), the educational system in Cyprus has distinguished itself in the following areas: highly qualified and sought after graduates of both gymnasium and technical/vocational programs, with top students continuing to study abroad after completion of secondary programs; well-established, ongoing curriculum development; and foremost skills in the translation of technical manuscripts, textbooks, and materials into the modern Greek language.

Based on the Bradshaw's (1993) experiences in Cyprus, the following suggestions were made to reduce tension between the two Cypriot communities and to enhance the quality of technical education: use a neutral language for instruction, perhaps English; free the technical school curriculum from religious education and allocate time for religious education for each student while having it taught within the religious communities of the family's choice by qualified religion teachers; free the technical school curriculum from ethnic history with provisions for historical background to be delivered outside the technical school curriculum and facilities; and develop a counseling program specifically designed to identify individual student weaknesses, prepare individual educational plans to address these deficiencies, and place students in classes where each has the opportunity to maximize his or her educational experience.

Regarding Bradshaw's first recommendation, Coufoudakis (2001) cautioned that Bradshaw's recommendations do not recognize either the educational traditions of the island or the political realities as they exist. Similar recommendations have been made for other divided ethnic societies, and were even made for countries like Germany during the Cold War. How could a bicommunal country like Cyprus abandon its traditional languages and opt for English? Recommendations of this type reflect a lack of understanding of the cultural foundations of societies (personal communication, March 15, 2001).

Curriculum change should be based on a two-way relationship of pressure and support and continuous negotiation between the center and the periphery which will amount to both top-down and bottom-up influences (Fullan 1993; Turnbull 1985). Both educational theory and teachers' perceptions should be taken into account by policymakers when they attempt to design and/or evaluate the national curriculum. The new model of curriculum change should also advocate the need for both national and local curricula. The new role of teachers will encourage both professional autonomy and self-motivated development that have been seen as significant sources of curriculum change (Kyriakides 1999). Finally, a close relationship between initial and in-service training with curriculum policy does not exist in Cyprus, but is required (Kyriakides 1999).

Koyzis (1997) has highlighted several poignant questions that require ongoing consideration as Cyprus evolves its educational policy: "What is the nature of Cypriot society? Should this be perceived as an extension of Greek society? Or rather is it unique and pluralistic enough to be able to be considered as a separate entity?" In addition to these questions should be added the challenge highlighted by Anastasiou (1995): the needs and future of tertiary education in Cyprus so that a planned development of Cyprus can occur.

The creation around the world of nation-states as political entities has relied greatly on the institutional socialization of the masses; state-controlled education has provided the major means of accomplishing the goal. Through homogenization, or the perception of sameness, a uniform account of history, culture, and national identity can be promoted. The division in Cyprus has made such homogenization difficult, as participants in and observers of the process explain that the focus has been on the differences rather than the similarities that have bound the communities of Cyprus together (Charalambous 2001; Gellner 1983; Hobsbawm 1990; Spyrou 2000).

"Teaching students in separate Greek and Turkish schools was perhaps one of the greatest errors in the recent history of the island" (Loizos 1974; Spyrou 2000). Furthermore, "the continuing division of the island is a testament to the thorough success of these curricula" (Charalambous 2001). Yet another scholar adds that, "if present difficulties are to be overcomeand the key to their solution probably lies far from Cyprus, as far away as Washington and Moscowit will once again play its historic role as a bridge between east and west" (Browning 1990). Discourse regarding education in Cyprus needs to be founded on the awareness of curriculum as "a political document 'that reflects the struggles of opposing groups to have their interests, values, histories, and politics dominate the school curriculum' fully applies in the case of Cyprus" (Koutselini-Ioannidou 1997).

The challenge for educators in the twenty-first century is to provide an education system that facilitates overcoming these difficultiesto promote tolerance, understanding, and respect as educators prepare future generations of citizens to lead meaningful lives in a globally interconnected, interdependent universe.


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Tonya Huber

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Republic of Cyprus

Major Cities: Nicosia, Limasso

Other Cities:
Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Paphos, Salamis


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated September 1994. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


Cyprus has been divided since July 1974, when Turkey intervened militarily following a coup d'etat instigated by the military junta in Greece. The two Cypriot communities have lived separate existences since the outbreak of intercommunal trouble in 1963. Nearly all members of the Turkish Cypriot community live in the northern section of the island, while almost all Greek Cypriots are located in the south which is under the control of the Government of Cyprus. The 108-mile east-to-west "green line" between the two communities constitutes a buffer zone under the control of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP). There is essentially no movement of goods, persons, or services between the two parts of the island.

Since the 1960's, the United States has supported efforts under U.N. auspices for a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem. Several sets of negotiations and initiations have been proposed. Because of changes in Cyprus developments, travelers going to Nicosia may want to update the more pertinent parts of this report by contacting either the State Department's Office of Southern European Affairs (EUR/SE), or the Embassy.



Nicosia, estimated combined population 195,000, has been the capital of Cyprus since the 7th century A.D., and is the political and administrative center of the island. It is also located in the geographic center of the island on a broad plain, at the site of one of the "city-kingdoms" of antiquity, Ledra, which today lends its name to the town's main shopping area.

Nicosia has spread far outside its ancient but still intact city walls. Modern flats and offices and attractive villas characterize the newer parts of the town.


Local food shops are well stocked with domestic products and imports from Great Britain, Western Europe, and some from the United States. Imported items are more expensive than comparable items in the United States.

Beef, veal, pork, mutton, lamb, and chicken are always available. Domestic meats are sold freshly butchered. Since meat is not graded, careful selection of cuts is necessary. Fresh fish is surprisingly limited in supply; mullet, sea bass, swordfish and squid are the principal varieties on the market.

Frozen fish, shrimp and cod, as well as canned seafood such as oil or water-packed tuna, salmon and mussels are sold. Trout farms in the Troodos Mountains produce fresh and smoked fish, which is sold in stores in the city. There are numerous fish taverns and restaurants which offer both domestic and imported fish. Imported butter and margarine are stocked, as are fresh, powdered, evaporated, and condensed milk, and fresh cream. Pasteurized fresh milk is readily obtainable. Domestic olive oil is of good quality and not expensive. Cyprus cheeses, in most cases from goat's milk, are popular with Americans. The selection of imported cheeses is limited and often unpredictable in supply. English and Irish Cheddar and English Stilton are good and inexpensive. Imported French cheeses are expensive.

Fruits are varied, delicious, and reasonably priced in season. Cyprus grows an abundant winter-long supply of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, and, to a lesser extent, avocados and apples. During the long summer, a variety of fresh fruit is available, such as watermelons, cantaloupes, cherries, apricots, plums, figs, pears, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples, pomegranates, and grapes. Good stocks of spinach, lettuce, cabbage, green beans, broad beans, chard, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, celery, and green peppers are usually available.

Eggplant and artichokes in season are abundant and inexpensive. Asparagus is available in season but is expensive. Onions, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and potatoes are almost always available. Various fresh herbs and prepared spices are also sold. American made spices such as Durkee and McCormick are available but a bit expensive.


General: Cypriots, either officially or socially, dress well. Most Cypriot women prefer to be fashionably dressed. Cypriot men follow British custom in business dress and casual attire.

Women's Clothing: A normal year-round wardrobe, with perhaps fewer winter and more summer clothes, will do. Women wear either spring coats, blazers, and topcoats or light winter coats throughout the winter. Although some Cypriot women wear fur coats, there are no reliable fur storage facilities here. Lightweight dresses are needed in summer; daytime dresses with the slightest shoulder cover are acceptable. Imports from Europe are usually up-to-date but expensive.

Bathing suits and beach accessories can be purchased locally. Shoes produced locally are plentiful but can be more expensive than those made in the states. Shoes are also imported from Europe. Quality ranges from fine to poor; styles are current. Good quality leather goods are made here.

Men's Clothing: Men wear cotton or wool suits all year round. Sweaters or jackets are useful in the winter. Suits made of washable cotton or cotton-synthetic mixtures are the most practical for summer. Short sleeved shirts are also worn in the summer months. In summer, shorts are worn at home, for sports, and on informal social occasions. Men's custom-made business suits of fine British worsteds, are moderately expensive. Factory-made suits are cheaper, but are not always well-tailored. A variety of shirts, neckties, socks and underwear is available at fairly reasonable prices. There are good quality shoes available, but they are expensive. Men needing wider or narrower than average sizes may have difficulty being fitted.

Children's Clothing: Fine cotton or woolen fabrics cost more here than in the U.S. Children need warm indoor clothing and night-wear because houses and tile floors may be chilly. Clothing, shoes, and accessories for infants are much more expensive than in the United States, but all necessary items are obtainable here. However, local cribs, playpens and car seats do not meet U.S. safety standards.

Supplies and Services

Supplies: Among the better known cosmetics sold on the island are Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, Revlon, Helena Rubenstein, Lancome and Lancaster. American brands sold here are not made in the United States and are not always of the same quality. Cosmetics are more expensive here than in the United States.

Retail markets carry a good selection of very reasonably priced local wines and liquors. Imported liquors are expensive.

Local pharmacies, open day and night, carry complete stocks of medical supplies and drugs, including children's pharmaceuticals. These items are normally British brand name pharmaceuticals.

Basic Services: Good quality shoe repair and dry cleaning services are available and moderately priced. Although laundries do acceptable work, they are expensive. You will find a good choice of barber and beauty shops.

Religious Activities

The principal Christian religion of Cyprus is Greek Orthodox. The Turkish Cypriot community is predominately Sunni Moslem. The following churches conduct services in English and are attended by the American and other communities:

  • Nicosia Community Church (Interdenominational Protestant)
  • St. Paul's Anglican Church
  • Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church
  • Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • Interdenominational Congregation (Russian Cultural Center Building)
  • The Church of Jesus Christ (L.D.S.)
  • Even though the Jewish community numbers about 200, a synagogue has not been established. In Nicosia, services celebrating Jewish high holidays are held at the Israeli Embassy.

There are other church services, both Protestant and Catholic, on the U.N. base.


The Montessori Centre: The Montessori Centre, opened in September l993, is a preschool for ages 2through 6. The school utilizes Dr. Maria Montessori's philosophies, methods and materials. The two teachers received their Montessori training in London. Winter and summer uniforms are encouraged. The school charges CP 60 per month and operates from September through July. The school is located at 20 Dorieon St. Ayias Andreas, Nicosia. Tel. 454038

The Romanos Nursery School:

The Romanos Nursery School is a private English speaking nursery school in Nicosia. They accept children ages 2 through 6. The school has good quality instructional supplies and a nice area for playing. The older children are taught numbers, letters and are prepared for reading. The school is located at 15 Romanos St. Tel. 454878

Wee Care Nursery School: The Wee Care Nursery School was founded by an American in l983. Affiliated with the American Academy school in Nicosia, Wee Care offers a full preschool curriculum with Christian religious values and beliefs. The school is located at 17 Delphon St., Nicosia. Tel. 462863.

Highgate Primary School: The Highgate Primary School is an English school, offering programs for children two to eleven. The school has special programs for gifted learners and children with learning disabilities. Winter and summer uniforms are required. Some grades have a waiting list. The school is located at 17 Heroes Ave., Ayios Andreas, Nicosia. Tel. 462027/499145.

American International School In Cyprus: The American International School in Cyprus was established by International Schools Services in September l987. An American based curriculum is offered to students in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, with a boarding unit for students in grades nine through twelve. In 1992, the school was purchased by the owner of American schools in Cairo and Kuwait.

The facilities of the school include a modern library, computer and science laboratories, art, ceramics and photography rooms, a swimming pool, tennis and volleyball courts, and recreation, dining, audiovisual areas, and boarding facilities.

  • Calendar: The 180 day school year commences in late August, ends in mid-June, and is divided into two semesters. The school is closed during a two to three week winter holiday and a one week spring break in March.
  • Academic Program: The academic program of AISC is organized into three divisions, the elementary school (pre-kindergarten through grade 4), the middle school (grades 5-8), and the high school (grades 9-12).
  • Elementary School: The curriculum at the elementary level is integrated through a single homeroom teacher for reading, English, math, science, and social studies. Additional instruction is provided by specialists in physical education, music, art, computers, and foreign language. The style of instruction is hands-on, exploratory, and participatory.
  • Middle School: The curriculum at the middle school level is delivered through a semi-departmentalized structure. The English and social studies classes are integrated and usually are taught by the same teacher. In addition to English/social studies, all middle school students are enrolled in mathematics, science, and physical education. Each student is also enrolled in either a foreign language, one of the special classes in ESL or the learning center.
  • High School: A selection of required and elective courses are designed to prepare students for a wide range of options upon graduation. AISC requires 22 units of credit for either a college prep or general high school diploma.
  • Faculty: All teachers are experienced in American and international education. Many teachers are recruited from the United States to fill selected vacancies and hold advanced degrees. All faculty are active, participating members of the school community and sponsor after school and weekend activities.
  • Library: The school library contains over 10,000 volumes and periodicals. Word processing, CD ROM electronic references, and a reference library room are available for student use before, during and after school hours.
  • International Baccalaureate: The International Baccalaureate program, initiated in 1993, is a two year pre-university course, designed to facilitate the mobility of students and to promote international understanding. The comprehensive course of study for the Diploma is designed to provide students with a balanced education. Students holding the IB Diploma can be accepted by universities and other institutions of higher education in more than 65 countries.
  • ESL (English as a Second Language): The objective of the ESL program is to provide intensive English instruction in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, allowing non-English speaking students to attend the school and to quickly become a part of everyday learning and activities.
  • Activities: A variety of after school activities is available for students in grades 1-12. Students choose from such activities as volleyball, bowling, swimming, soccer, basketball, cross country, track and field, tennis, fine arts festival, student council, yearbook, Boy Scouts, weight training, charity fashion show, academic games, chess club, talent show, geography club, drama, ice skating, arts and crafts, gymnastics, horseback riding, newspaper, choir, and band.
  • Computers: All students, grades 1-12, use computers. The newest technology allows the students to use computers as an everyday tool.

The school's library uses CD ROM information access.

AISC is a member of the Middle States Accreditation Association, EMAC (Eastern Mediterranean Activities Conference), the Near East South Asia (NESA) Council of Overseas Schools, and the National Honor Society of Secondary Schools. It is also affiliated with the International Baccalaureate organization.

Senior Seminar is a required course for all seniors. A Senior Research Project is required for graduation.

The following must be completed before admission to the school is granted:

  • Complete and return an application form
  • Furnish records/transcript from previous school
  • Present themselves for a formal interview with the headmaster
  • Sit for placement exams, if requested
  • Boarding students must complete a separate application form, which includes recommendations from previous teachers

If there are any other questions, you may address them to:

Headmaster, AISC
PO Box 3947
Nicosia, Cyprus

The English School: The English School was founded in l900. The school is similar to a "selective grammar school" in England in its academic and out-of-class programs. It is coeducational with students aged 11-18, all pupils being admitted by selective and competitive examination.

The school year is from mid September to late June, with 2-week holidays at Christmas and Greek Orthodox Easter. The mailing address is:

The English School
P.O. Box 3575
Nicosia, Cyprus

The Falcon School: The Falcon School is an educational foundation offering a continuous education for girls and boys aged 4½-18. It has facilities for studying languages, the Sciences, the Arts, music and a wide range of sports. The language of instruction is English.

The school year begins in Early September and ends in late June. An entrance test and an interview is required prior to admission. The mailing address is:

The Falcon School
P.O. Box 3640
Nicosia, Cyprus

The Junior School: The Junior School was established in l944. Children are admitted to the school between the ages of 4 and 12. The curriculum and teaching methods are the same as would be found in the United Kingdom. There is a British Headmaster and the teachers are trained and qualified in the United Kingdom.

The school year begins in September and ends in June. School uniforms are required. The mailing address is:

The Junior School
P.O. Box 3903
Nicosia, Cyprus


Cyprus offers a variety of opportunities for participant and spectator sports. Beaches can easily be reached from Nicosia by private car. Bus transportation to the beaches is available, and "service taxis" may be shared at a nominal cost. Taxi service between Nicosia and other cities on the island is regularly available. Sports equipment and clothing of all kinds is available but expensive.

Swimming: The proximity of the sea and the very hot summers drive most people in Cyprus to the water. The south coast is less than an hour away from Nicosia and has good beaches. It is also possible to join sports clubs or health clubs at some hotels in Nicosia which includes use of their swimming pools.

Scuba Diving: Scuba tanks and equipment can be rented and filled locally, but if you have your own, bring them. Cost of locally made equipment is comparable to that in the United States.

Water Skiing: Water skiing is becoming more popular in Cyprus. It is best at Larnaca (45 minutes from Nicosia), but the sea is sometimes very choppy. Water skis are sold in Cyprus but at prices higher than in the United States.

Horseback Riding: The Lapatsa sports complex, a 15-20 minute drive south of Nicosia, offers horseback riding lessons and trail riding. A hard hat and riding boots are required.

Windsurfing: One of the most challenging and interesting sports in Cyprus is windsurfing. There are numerous beaches around the island with suitable conditions. Windsurfing is a good family sport. It is easily learned and requires few facilities. Equipment is available locally, but at prices higher than the United States.

Skiing: Snow skiing in Cyprus has developed in recent years. Simple skiing is done from the beginning of January to the end of March on the slopes of Mount Olympus, a one and one-half hour drive from Nicosia. Several short trails, one of which is groomed, are available for cross-country skiing.

The Cyprus Ski Club, located at Mount Olympus, offers the following facilities:

  • Permanent and temporary memberships
  • Four electrically driven "T"-bar ski lifts
  • A cross-country skiing track
  • A ski shop with ski equipment
  • Ski instruction by qualified instructors

Golf: A new golf course opened in 1993, near the town of Paphos about 2 hours from Nicosia, but is extremely expensive. Golf may be played at the British bases if you join the golf course.

Tennis: Tennis is popular and facilities are good. Periodic tournaments are held at local clubs.

Hunting: Hunting is limited to hares and partridges. The hunting season established by the government varies from year to year. During the season, hunting is permitted only on Wednesdays and Sundays. The number of licensed Cypriot hunters is quite large in proportion to the amount of game available.

Fishing: Although fish are extremely scarce in the coastal waters, fishing with spear and snorkel can be most interesting. At some distance from the coast, there is good deep sea fishing; boats can be rented. Shoreline fishing would not satisfy the serious angler. There is no river or stream fishing, but shoreline fishing in some reservoirs has been reported to be good.

Spectator sports include: Horseracing: The Nicosia horseracing season is nearly year round. Associate membership is open to Americans for a modest fee. The track has photo finish and an automatic tote board.

Basketball: There are several American basketball players on teams here in Cyprus. Local as well as visiting teams are popular.

Soccer: There are four divisions of soccer teams playing all over the island of Cyprus. Soccer is the most popular sport among Cypriots.

Gymnasiums: Several well-equipped gyms, offering both weightlifting and aerobics programs, are present and have reasonable prices.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Picnics, sight-seeing, and camping are popular pastimes in Cyprus. A wide variety of old castles, monasteries, and ancient ruins are available to be explored.

Kyrenia lies 16 miles north of Nicosia. A 7th century Byzantine castle, which also served the Venetians in the 15th century, overlooks the picturesque harbor. There are three castles on the Kyrenia Mountain Range which provide a beautiful view of the northern coast of Cyprus.

Famagusta, once one of the main port cities of Cyprus, is about 40 miles east of Nicosia on Famagusta Bay. Its center is in a well-preserved Venetian walled city. Legend has it that the citadel which overlooks the Bay of Famagusta was the setting of Shakespeare's "Othello."

To the north of Famagusta is the biblical port of Salamis where St. Paul entered Cyprus on his evangelical tour. Most of this ancient port is now submerged and the site offers a challenge to the snorkeler who might be interested in underwater archaeology.

Larnaca is an active seaport located on Larnaca Bay about 30 miles southeast of Nicosia. Its salt lake is a winter haven for large flocks of flamingos. There is a monastery, churches and museums located in and around Larnaca.

Limassol lies approximately 50 miles southwest of Nicosia on Akrotiri Bay. Seven miles west of Limassol is the tower of Kolossi built in the 15th Century by the Knights of St. John Hospitaler. The ruins of Curium, an Achaean religious and political center of the 2nd century B.C., include remains of the Temple of Apollo and a beautiful stadium. It houses some Roman administrative and bathing facilities, fine mosaics and other ruins, including a fairly well-preserved Roman theater, sometimes put to contemporary use.

Paphos, off whose shores legend says Aphrodite arose from the sea foam, lies on the west coast. The scenic route to Paphos from Nicosia along the south shore comprises the grand tour of many of the archaeological high spots in Cyprus. The "Fontana Amorosa" (Love's Spring), in the north part of Paphos, was a source of poetic inspiration during the classical age. It was said that whoever drank from it would fall in love.

The cool, pine-forested Troodos Mountains, a 90-minute drive from Nicosia, offer relief from the heat in the summer and skiing in the winter. In the Troodos Mountains in the Paphos district, lies Kykko Monastery. It contains the cherished icon of the Virgin Mary painted by St. Luke. Not far from the monastery is a beautiful valley of 30,000 cedars.

Archaeological Sites : The numerous archaeological sites on Cyprus are nearly all open to the public. All digs are under the jurisdiction and supervision of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, and expeditions from other nations are often at work there. Some sites charge a nominal entrance fee; at others, you may wander at will, picnic on or near the site, and enjoy a freedom unknown at archaeological sites in other countries. Guidebooks available in Cyprus and brochures published by the Cyprus Museum give details of all the antiquities.


Most cinemas in Nicosia are air-conditioned. They generally show first-run U.S. or British films. Admission is reasonably priced.

The Nicosia Municipal Theater has operas, concerts, plays and ballets.

Cyprus has a permanent, Government-sponsored national theater whose repertory consists of international and Greek plays, the vast majority performed in Greek. There are also private theatrical companies with a similar repertory. No opera or professional symphony orchestra exists, but occasionally foreign concert artists, symphony orchestras, or popular music ensembles visit the island.

Night club entertainment exists in limited scope with a number of popular discotheques.

In addition to the restaurants offering standard and European cooking and atmosphere, less expensive and simpler tavernas serve Cypriot dishes, as well as those typical of the Near East. Most Americans like Cypriot food.

Most types of photographic film are sold locally, although it is rather expensive. Facilities for developing and printing black-and-white and color film are adequate for all but color slides. Camera and photographic equipment sold in local shops is reasonably priced. The amateur photographer will find interesting subject matter in the varied landscape and local color of the island. During seven or eight months of the year, light conditions are excellent.

Social Activities

The American Women's Club is an active body open to all women in Cyprus. Its purpose is to promote friendship among American, Cypriot, and other foreign women.

It sponsors monthly programs of interest to the membership and organizes parties and fund-raising activities for charity. Activities include informal discussion groups, craft demonstrations, cooking classes, and tours to archaeological sites. This group is active in welcoming new arrivals, providing information on local shopping, sight-seeing, schools, and any additional information helpful to settling in.


Limassol, with a population of 155,000, is on Akrotiri Bay, about 50 miles southwest of Nicosia. In this seaport city, the marriage of Richard the Lion-Hearted and his hard-won Berengaria of Navarre was celebrated with her coronation and dancing in the streets. Seven miles west of Limassol is the tower of Kolossi, built in the 15th century by the Knights of St. John Hospitale. The ruins of Curium, an Achaean religious and political center of the second century B.C., are a few miles west of Kolossi. This site includes remains of the Temple of Apollo and a stadium. Curium, with its superb Greco-Roman theater, is thought to have been founded by the Greeks; in the early centuries A.D., it housed some Roman administrative and bathing facilities, found in recent excavations. Some fine mosaics and other ruins, including a fairly well-preserved Roman theater sometimes put to contemporary use, have been unearthed.

Limassol is famed for its traditions and celebrationsan annual wine festival, the pre-Lenten carnivaland is rapidly developing as a tourist center. Hotels and apartment structures are being built close to the new harbor, and restaurants, tavernas, and nightclubs are opening up here in ever-increasing numbers.

The Logos School of English Education is a coeducational institution in Limassol for grades kindergarten through 12. Founded in 1973, the school employs a combined U.S. and U.K. curriculum. There are also facilities for boarding and a planned seven-day program for boarders. The mailing address is P.O. Box 1075, Limassol, Cyprus.


FAMAGUSTA , once one of the main port cities of Cyprus, with a population of about 28,000, is 40 miles east of Nicosia on Famagusta Bay. Its center is in a well-preserved Venetian walled city. Legend has it that the citadel which overlooks the bay was the setting for Shakespeare's Othello. The beautiful sand beaches and good hotels all along the shore give Famagusta (in Greek, Ammochostos) its name, which means "sand-hidden." New Famagusta (Varasha) is now deserted, in the middle of a Turkish military zone.

Further north from Famagusta and Salamis in the Kyrenia Range is Kantara Castle, 2,068 feet above sea level. "Kantara" means bridge in Arabic. The castle was named either by the Arab invaders or by Maronites from Lebanon who allegedly settled in that part of the island. Some say it was so named because its setting looks like an arch. This beautiful spot commands excellent views of the sea on both sides and long stretches of plain all around it. Both the summer resort, two miles from the castle, and the young forest in the district are called Kantara after the castle.

KYRENIA , a city of 14,000 inhabitants, is 15 miles north of Nicosia. A seventh-century Byzantine castle, which also served the Venetians in the 15th century, overlooks the picturesque harbor. The city is dominated by the Kyrenia Range and the Castle of St. Hilarion, built in 1228 on a mountain peak 2,200 feet above sea level and said to have been a source of inspiration for Walt Disney's Snow White.

LARNACA is an active seaport with a population of approximately 69,000, situated on Larnaca Bay, about 30 miles southeast of Nicosia. Its salt lake is a winter haven for large flocks of flamingos. Belief here is that Lazarus came to Lanarca after his resurrection, and was later consecrated as the district's first bishop. The nearby Tekke of Umm Haram, a beautiful mosque built on the spot where the Prophet Mohammed's stepmother is said to have died, is a holy place to all Muslims. A new international airport near the city, and the reconstructed harbor, with its deep-water berths, have increased the popularity of Larnaca as a resort. Hotels and apartment buildings are continually under construction here. The American Academy on Gregory Afxentiou Avenue, in operation since 1908, serves an international student body and follows a U.S., U.K., and Greek Cypriot curriculum.

Twenty-five miles east of Larnaca is Ayia Napa, a small town with some of the best beaches in Cyprus. The town centers around a fine old monastery. Nearby are several coves with white sand beaches. The area is well developed for tourism. Good hotels abound and there are many apartments hotels and vacation apartments that can be rented short term. Aquatic sports facilities are good.

PAPHOS , from whose shores Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is said to have risen from the sea foam, lies on the west littoral. It has about 40,000 inhabitants. The scenic route to Paphos from Nicosia, along the south shore, comprises the grand tour of many of the principal archaeological spots in Cyprus. The Fontana Amorosa (Love's Spring), also known as the Baths of Aphrodite, in the north part of Paphos, is about half a mile from the sea. The spring was a source of poetic inspiration during the classical age, and it was claimed that whoever drank from it would fall in love. At Paphos, Christianity was introduced to Cyprus with the conversion by St. Paul of the Roman governor, Sergius Paulus. The pillar on which Paul was tied to receive the 39 lashes still stands in Paphos. In the Troodos Mountains in the Paphos district, Kykko Monastery contains the cherished icon of the Virgin Mary painted by St. Luke. Warm hospitality is always extended to visitors. Not far from the monastery is a beautiful valley of 30,000 cedars.

The Anglo American International School, for pre-kindergarten through grade 13, is located in Paphos. A coeducational day school with boarding facilities, Anglo American was founded in 1980 and is accredited by the Cypriot Ministry of Education. The school offers a U.S. and U.K. curriculum. The mailing address is 22-26 Hellas Avenue, Paphos, Cyprus.

Just north of Famagusta, also on the bay, is the biblical port of SALAMIS , where St. Paul entered Cyprus on his evangelical tour. Most of this ancient port is now submerged, and the site, a fine swimming location, offers a challenge to the snorkeler who might be interested in underwater archaeology. The Greco-Roman ruins here include excellently preserved Corinthian pillars and some fine, although headless, caryatids and statues.


Geography and Climate

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia, with an area of 3,572 square miles. It is in the eastern Mediterranean basin, 44 miles south of Turkey, 64 miles west of Syria, and 150 miles north of the Nile Delta. The island has a maximum length of 150 miles from northeast to southwest and a maximum width of 60 miles from north to south. Two mountain ranges dominate the landscape. The narrow and largely barren Kyrenia Range in the north (maximum elevation 3,360 feet) rises almost directly up from the northern coastline and follows it from east to west for some 80 miles. The forest covered Troodos Range rises in the southwestern sector of the island, culminating in Mount Olympus at an altitude of 6,400 feet. Between the two ranges, extending from Morphou Bay in the west to Famagusta Bay in the east, lies the Mesaoria ("between the mountains")a broad, fertile, coastal plain which produces most of the island's cereal grains and other crops. Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is on the Mesaoria. Throughout the long summer the plain is arid and parched, but in the winter and spring it is carpeted with a lush growth of young wheat and barley.

The climate of Cyprus may be compared to that of South Central Texas. Cyprus has hot, dry, dusty summers and fairly cool, damp winters. Nicosia's maximum mean temperature is approximately 80°F, while the minimum mean temperature is 50°F. From mid-June to mid-September, the temperature sometimes exceeds 100°F. After sundown, it usually falls to 60°F to 70°F. The summer heat is tolerable because humidity is usually low and high temperatures are often tempered by westerly winds. Nicosia's summer weather is generally more comfortable than in the seaside towns, where humidity is higher though temperatures are lower. Because rain falls almost exclusively from December through March, water may be rationed in Nicosia in the summer. Winters are usually cool and damp. On the whole, the climate can be characterized as Mediterranean, healthy, and quite enjoyable.


Cyprus has had no official census since 1973. Before 1974, its population was estimated at 630,000 persons, of whom almost 80 percent were ethnic Greek and 18 percent ethnic Turk. The remainder were mainly Armenians and Maronites, with a few Latins. The population estimate for July 2001 is 763,000. The foreign population in Cyprus includes some 1,200 U.N. troops, a resident British presence of over 13,000 (including retired persons and troops in the Sovereign Base Areas), and some 1,000 American citizens.

The population is divided physically and culturally into two quite different societiesGreek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. Each maintains its distinct identity based on customs, religion, language, and ethnic allegiance. Historically, this population was intermingled among six larger towns and over 600 small villages. One of the results of intercommunal violence during the 1960's was the enclavement of most Turkish Cypriots and, after the 1974 war, the physical separation of the two communities by the present cease-fire line.

Communal Institutions

The 1960 Constitution created a presidential system, with a Greek Cypriot President and Turkish Cypriot Vice President elected by their respective communities. As part of a number of safeguards designed to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot minority, the Vice President was given veto rights over defense, foreign affairs, and security matters. The Turkish Cypriots were also assured a representation of 3O percent in the civil service, and in the unicameral legislature which was to consist of 35 Greek Cypriot and 15 Turkish Cypriot members. The same ratio obtained in the 10-member Council of Ministers, three of whose members were Turkish Cypriots, and one of whom had to hold the Defense, Interior, or Foreign Affairs portfolio. The constitutional system broke down with the outbreak of intercommunal fighting in late 1963, which led to the establishment of Turkish Cypriot enclaves.

In the summer of 1974, a coup d'etat backed by the military junta in Athens led to Turkey intervening militarily and the occupation of some 37 percent of the island's territory by the Turkish Army. In November, 1983, the Turkish Cypriot Administration declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". The "TRNC" is recognized only by Turkey.

Under the auspices of the U.N. Secretary General, intercommunal negotiations have been conducted at various stages since 1968, with the goal of trying to resolve differences between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. The latest round of talks led to a draft "Set of Ideas." There is also a focus on developing ways of building confidence between the two communities. The basic issues in the talks center around security, the nature and structure of the federal constitution, territory, refugees, and settlers.

The Government of Cyprus has a Presidential system with a unicameral legislature, the House of Representatives. The President, Glafkos Ioannou Klirides, elected for a five-year term, was last elected in February 1998. The House was last elected in May 2001. The Greek Cypriot political scene is dominated by four main parliamentary parties. The oldest established Greek Cypriot party is the Communist party (AKEL), which currently has 20 of the 56 elected members of the legislature. The center-right Democratic Rally Party (DISY) holds 19 seats, the centrist Democratic Party (DIKO) holds 9 seats, and the Socialist party (EDEK) has 4 seats. The current President was a founding member of DISY party. The Democratic Party supported his candidacy in the final round of the elections.

There are also four main Turkish Cypriot political parties. The Democratic Party (center-right) and the Republican Turkish Party (left-wing) formed a coalition following the December 12, 1993 election. Together the two parties have 19 seats in the 50-seat "assembly." The National Unity Party (right-wing), has 24 seats, and the Communal Liberation Party (center-left) has 7 seats. The "TRNC President," Rauf Denktas, was last elected in April 2000. Although the "constitution" nominally gives him little power, he is generally considered the most important and powerful political figure in northern Cyprus.

Arts, Science, and Education

Prehistoric pottery and sculpture have been excavated throughout Cyprus. The making of pottery and other folk arts are still practiced on the island. Embroidery is one of the most developed of these arts.

The revival of Cypriot painting began toward the end of the British rule. Many artists still show the effects of classical European training, although others reflect the Byzantine tradition. Younger artists show a definite leaning to American "hard edge" and other modern schools.

Cypriots generally attend universities in Greece, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the United States. There are many local colleges targeting foreign students and the new University of Cyprus opened its doors in Fall 1993.

Commerce and Industry

The island's division into two economic areas disrupted the country's economic unity and overall productive capacity. While the economy in the area controlled by the Government of Cyprus (GOC) has developed and grown, the economy in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled north has been much weaker. A lack of technical expertise, foreign exchange reserves, and international financing have been inhibiting factors in this part of the island.

Care of the refugee population took first priority in the years immediately after 1974. Satisfactory housing facilities were provided to displaced persons under the GOC low-cost housing and self-help schemes, partially financed by the U.S. Government through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). U.S. grant assistance for refugee programs between 1974 and 1992 totalled over 200 million dollars. Another 65 million dollars has been provided through the Cyprus-America Scholarship Program, which was established in 1981.

In 2000, about 3.6 percent of the economically active population were unemployed and economic growth was identified at 2.2 percent. A political settlement of the Cyprus problem would likely greatly enhance the viability of the island and begin to bridge the disparity of economic opportunity between the two major communities. In 2000, estimated per-capita GDP was $16,000 in the Greek Cypriot community and $5,300 in the Turkish Cypriot community.

Clothing, citrus fruit, potatoes, vegetables, footwear, and vine products make up the bulk of exports. Main imports include food and feed grains, transport and industrial machinery, electronic equipment, and petroleum products. "Invisible" foreign exchange earnings, especially from tourism, remain strong and the Cyprus pound has been relatively stable. Although economic problems are by no means completely solved, economic prosperity is evident in all sectors of the Greek Cypriot economy. In 1988, Cyprus began a 15-year transition to a Customs Union with the European Union (EU).



Bus and taxi service are the only forms of local public transportation. Buses service is not developed in many localities and can be inconvenient and crowded. In the major towns of Cyprus, excellent taxi service is always available at moderate prices.

Scheduled taxi transportation between cities, on a shared-occupancy basis, is offered at a reasonable fixed charge per passenger. Automobiles, with or without chauffeurs, can be rented reasonably by the day, week, or month.


Cyprus Airways, Olympic Airways, British Airways and many other national airlines operate flights in and out of Larnaca International Airport to Athens, Tel. Aviv, Cairo, Frankfurt, and London, as well as to most other major European cities. Ships carrying cargo and passengers to Cyprus call at Larnaca and Limassol. Auto ferries are available between Piraeus (Athens port) and Limassol.


Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone service is very reliable. Dial calls can be made to all the cities and villages. Cyprus has telephone, telegraph, and telex communications with all parts of the globe, as well as telephone and telegraph service with ships at sea. The International Subscriber Dialing (ISD) system was installed in 1976 and services the United States, Greece, and 104 other countries. Telephone calls to Europe, the United States, and other countries served are clear and uninterrupted. A satellite station has been installed in the south and is operational. The Turkish Cypriot telephone system is entirely separate from the CYTA (Cyprus Telecommunications Authority) network. Telephone calls to the north can only be made to a very few stations still linked to CYTA lines.

Radio and TV

Radio and TV reception is good. BBC broadcasts daily in the regular medium wave (AM) band. A short-wave radio is recommended for picking up other foreign and VOA broadcasts. The British Forces Broadcasting Service offers news, popular music, and some BBC programs. Cyprus Radio broadcasts in Greek, Turkish, and English. It offers news in English and some BBC programs from London.

Television service covers the entire island, and transmissions are in color. News and current events programs are broadcast in Greek, Turkish, and English. The news in English is limited to a 5 minute tele-cast once every evening. Many TV features are U.S. or British movies or series with Greek subtitles.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Nicosia's one English-language daily (except Monday) is the 12-15 page Cyprus Mail. The International Herald Tribune reaches Nicosia readers a day after publication. Subscriptions to the European edition of the Stars and Stripes are also available. Many local bookshops carry foreign periodicals, technical journals, and novels in English. The Cyprus Weekly newspaper appears every Friday in English. There is also a weekly English-language newspaper published in the Turkish Cypriot community, Cyprus Today.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Nicosia has specialists in obstetrics; surgery; ear, nose and throat; urology; orthopedics; and internal medicine. Nicosia has a number of small, private clinics in which Americans have been hospitalized or delivered babies. Cases requiring unusual diagnostic facilities may be evacuated to London or the United States. Medicine and laboratory services can usually be obtained locally. If you require special medication, however, bring a supply.

Optical care is generally quite good in Cyprus. Most lens prescriptions can be filled here. If your prescription is unusually complicated, bring spare glasses. Both hard and soft contact lenses are available at lower than U.S. prices.

Several good dentists, trained in Europe and America, practice in Nicosia. They use modern equipment and are highly recommended by Americans who have been treated by them. Fees are reasonable.

Community Health

Community and public sanitation standards, although lower than in the United States, are much higher than in many countries in the area. They may be compared favorably to those in most countries of southern Europe. Sanitary inspection laws are not always stringently enforced, however. Except at the top restaurants and markets, standards of sanitation can be suspect.

Window screening is generally uncommon. Flies and mosquitoes are common pests and can sometimes interfere with outdoor activities. Garbage is collected twice weekly.

Local health authorities consider the island one of the more healthful areas of the world because of the infrequency of serious diseases. Although the ordinary diseases usually found in most countries bordering the Mediterranean do occur here, Cyprus has no unusual health problems. Some cases of typhoid are reported occasionally.

The Cyprus Government conducts energetic campaigns to encourage immunization of young persons. Pollen and dust during the hot, dry summers can be a source of discomfort to those suffering from hay fever, asthma, allergy to dust or pollen, or from any chronic condition of the upper respiratory system. Rabies is nonexistent on the island. However, hydatid disease or echinococcosis, attributed to a tapeworm harbored by dogs, occurs among local inhabitants. There are no known cases of Americans having been infected while in Cyprus.

Preventive Measures

Children should have the DPT and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) inoculations.

Several local dairies pasteurize milk, making it safe to drink without further treatment.

Nicosia's water is treated and considered potable, but is sometimes rationed. Most homes have storage tanks on the roofs, which are a potential source of airborne disease contamination. For this reason, most kitchen sinks have a third water tap connected directly to the city main. This water tap should be used for all drinking, ice making, and vegetable rinsing. Bottled mountain spring water is available in supermarkets at reasonable prices, or large quantities can be delivered to one's home. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly, especially when they are eaten raw.


The Cyprus Government carefully controls the exportation of antiquities. Before such items can be removed from the island, an export authorization must be obtained from the office of the Department of Antiquities at the Cyprus Museum.

No U.S. citizen needs a visa to enter Cyprus.

Regulations concerning the entry of dogs and cats include, as a general rule, a 6-month quarantine period. Exceptions to this requirement in the form of early release to home quarantine, are possible, but expensive. Dogs should be inoculated against rabies prior to arrival on Cyprus.

The unit of currency on the island is the Cyprus pound which is divided into 100 cents. Currency notes are issued in denominations of Cyp. Pds. 20, 10, 5, and 1. Coins are minted in the value of Cyp. Pds50, .20, .10, .05, .02, and .01. Adequate British and Cypriot banks are on the island. The Cyprus Pound trades at around $1.60 (January 2001) and is well backed by foreign exchange. In the north, although the Cyprus Pound and U.S. dollar are accepted in most places, the Turkish lira (TL) has been the de-facto medium of exchange since 1975. Commercial banking is well developed.

The metric system is now in common use in Cyprus, though more traditional forms of measurement are still encountered.


Greek Community Holidays

Jan.1New Year's Day

Jan 6Epiphany Day

Mar/Apr.Green Monday* (Beginning of Greek Orthodox Lent)

Mar. 25Greek Independence Day

Apr.1Eoka Day

Apr/MayGood Friday*

Apr/MayHoly Saturday*


Apr/MayEaster Monday*

May 1 Labor Day

June/July Holy Spirit Day*

Aug. 15Assumption Day

Oct. 1Cyprus Independence Day

Oct. 28Ohi Day

Dec. 24 Christmas Eve

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 Boxing Day

Turkish Cypriot Community

Jan. 1New Year's Day

Ramazan Bayram*

Apr. 23Opening of the Grand National Assembly

Kurban Bairam*

May 1Labor Day

May 19Turkish Youth Day

July 20Peace and Freedom Day

July 31Birthday of the Prophet

Aug. 30Victory Day

Oct. 29Turkish Republic Day

Nov. 15Republic Day of Northern Cyprus


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Arnold, Percy, Cyprus Challenge, London, 1956.

Attalides, Michael, Cyprus, Nationalism and International Politics.

Balfour, Patrick, The Orphaned Realm, London, 1951.

Ball, George, Chapter on Cyprus from George Ball's Memoirs.

Berlitz Travel Guide: Cyprus. New York: Macmillan, latest edition

Borowiec, Andrew, The Mediterranean Feud, New York, 1983.

Clerides, Glafkos, My Deposition, London, 1988.

Crawshaw, Nancy, The Cyprus Revolt.

Denktash, Rauf, Cyprus Triangle,London, 1982.

Durrell, Lawrence, Bitter Lemons,New York, 1957.

Foley, Charles, Island in Revolt, Legacy of Strike.

Foley, Charles, The Memoirs of Cyprus (four volumes).

Hart, Parker T. Two NATO Allies at the Threshold of War: Cyprus, a Firsthand Account of Crisis Management, 1965-1968. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990.

Kyriakides, Stanley, Cyprus: Constitutionalism and Crisis in Government.

Luke, Sir Harry, Cyprus: A Portrait and Appreciation.

Necatigil, Zaim M. The Cyprus Question and the Turkish Position in International Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Polyviou, P., Cyprus: Conflict and Negotiation, 1960-1980.

Polyviou, P., Cyprus in Search of a Constitution.

Polyviou, P., Cyprus, The Tragedy and the Challenge.

Reddaway, John, Burdened with Cyprus.

Salem, Norma, ed. Cyprus: A Regional Conflict and Its Resolution. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

Thubron, Colin. Journey into Cyprus. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1990.

Wilson, Rodney. Cyprus and the International Economy. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.

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Republic of Cyprus

Kypriaki Dimokratia



The Republic of Cyprus is the internationally recognized government on the island. In 1983, a separate Turkish administration declared the northern territory an independent state and calls itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Unless otherwise indicated, the "Republic of Cyprus" or "the government of Cyprus" mentioned in this entry refers to the internationally recognized government administered by the Greek Cypriots. For practical purposes, the terms "Greek zone" and "Turkish zone" are used to describe the 2 parts of the island.

The third largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus is located in the East Mediterranean Basin 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Turkey. The island has an area of 9,251 square kilometers (3,571 square miles) and a coastline of 648 kilometers (402 miles). Comparatively the island is only about half the size of the state of Connecticut. The capital, Nicosia, is located in the central part of the island. It is a militarily-divided capital, with the Greek Cypriots controlling the southern portion of the city (called Nicosia) and the Turkish Cypriots controlling the northern portion of the city (called Lefkosia).


The population of the entire Republic of Cyprus in 2000 was 758,363. The predicted growth rate for the population is 0.6 percent, according to 2000 estimates. The country is relatively young, with the age group between 0 and 14 making up about 23 percent of the total population. The life expectancy is 72 years for women and 70 for men in the Turkish zone, but 80 and 75, respectively, in the Greek zone.

The population of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, according to the revisions of the 1996 census, was 200,587. Of this number, 164,460 were Turkish Cypriot citizens, 30,702 Turkish citizens, and 5,425 people with citizenship in other countries. The natural rate of population growth in the Turkish zone is 0.9 percent.

The Greek Cypriots make up slightly more than three-fourths of the island's population, with 99.5 percent of them living in the Greek zone and the remaining 0.5 percent in the Turkish zone. Turkish Cypriots make up nearly all of the remaining population, with 98.7 percent of them living in the Turkish zone and 1.3 percent in the Greek zone. Other ethnic minorities make up less than 5 percent of the island's total population, and they live mainly in the Greek zone. Turkish nationals can enter the Turkish zone without passport formalities. However, entry is restricted from the Turkish to the Greek zones.

Three languages are spoken on the island: Greek, Turkish, and English. Greek is the dominant language in the south; Turkish predominates in the north. A majority of the population can also speak English. More than 90 percent of the population is literate.

The religious structure of the island is divided, like its people. Members of Greek Orthodox churches comprise 78 percent of the island's total population and live mainly in the Republic of Cyprus. The Turks in the TRNC are mainly Muslims. Other religious groups like Maronites and Armenian Apostolics together account for less than 5 percent of the total population.


The division of Cyprus into 2 areas, controlled by Greek and Turkish authorities respectively, shapes the economic affairs and structure of the island. The economy of the Republic of Cyprus experienced rapid growth in the 1970s after the island's division into 2 zones. The government financed investment to replace housing for the Greek Cypriots who moved to the Greek zone after the division. That explains why the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates were over 6 percent annually in the 1980s. However, the GDP growth rate fell back to an average of 4.3 percent between 1994 and 1999.

Both the Greek and Turkish zones face severe water shortages. The island has no natural reservoir and experiences seasonal inequalities in rainfall. Although there is an aquifer (underground water supply) on the island, it is subject to seawater intrusion, which increases salt content, especially in the Turkish zone. Both administrations have sought ways to overcome the issue; several desalination (salt removal) plants are planned for construction in the near future.


The economy of the Greek zone is prosperous but can easily be affected by external shocks, since it is heavily dependent on the tourism industry. For instance, in the 1990s the region's economy attained inconsistent growth rates due to swings in tourist arrivals, caused by political instability on the island and changes in economic conditions in Western Europe. Being a candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), economic policies in the Greek zone are focused on meeting the criteria for admission. On the other hand, the attractiveness of the island has led to a concentration of investment and labor in the tourism sector, thus reducing the Greek zone's competitiveness in manufacturing and other sectors.

Inflation rates in the Greek zone have been moderate. The average was 4.8 percent between 1982 and 1990, and had dropped to 1.6 percent by 1999 as a result of economic slowdown. The government uses a wage determination system called COLA (cost-of-living-allowance), which automatically adjusts wages and salaries for inflation . The country's unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent in 1999, below the levels of many EU countries. Immigration helps the Cypriot economy maintain its economic growth rate even in times of economic slowdown. Unskilled immigrant labor usually takes agricultural and domestic jobs.


The economy of the Turkish zone (US$820 million) is much smaller compared to that of the Greek zone (US$9 billion). The northern region has about one-fifth the population and only one-third of the per capita GDP of the south. The GDP growth rates in the north averaged around 4.7 percent in the 1980s, slowing down to an average of 2.8 percent in the 1990-98 period. In 1991 real GDP actually fell by 4.3 percent, and then by 4.1 percent in 1994 as a result of the economic crisis in Turkey. The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" is recognized only by Turkey, which means the rest of the world still considers the southern Greek administration as the sole administrator of the whole island. This has created problems for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' government and its economy. Foreign firms and investors cannot do business in the Turkish zone, as they cannot transfer funds or goods from a country that is not recognized as an independent state. As a result, the economy of the Turkish zone remains heavily dependent on agriculture and government service, which together employ about half of the workforce. The economy also has a small tourism sector, with legalized gambling, serving especially tourists from Turkey, where all forms of gambling have recently been banned. The economy of the Turkish zone is more vulnerable to outside shocks not only because of its small size and its legitimacy (diplomatic recognition), but also because it uses Turkish lira as the legal tender, which has devaluated (decreased in value) greatly over the past decade. To compensate for the economy's weakness, Turkey provides direct and indirect aid to tourism, education, and industries located in the Turkish part of the island.


Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in August 1960. Three years later, clashes between the Greek and Turkish communities on the island began, and the island started to disintegrate politically. A junta-based (a small military ruling group) coup attempt backed by Greece in July 1974 led to a Turkish intervention that divided the island in two, creating the de facto (existing if not officially recognized) Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Greek Cypriots took full control of the internationally recognized government of Cyprus while the Turkish Cypriot administration declared independence for its zone in November 1983. "The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), however, has been recognized only by Turkey. The period from 1983 until 2001 has been characterized mainly by international efforts, under the leadership of the United Nations and the United States, to resolve the conflict between the 2 sides and to create a new type of government. The Greek Cypriot position on the issue has been towards a new federal system (with stronger power for the national government) while the Turkish Cypriots prefer a confederate system (with more power-sharing between Greeks and Turks).

The island has different constitutions and sets of governing bodies for each side. The Greek Cypriots are still using the constitution that took effect in 1960 following independence, while the Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies in 1975 following the 1974 break-up. The TNRC adopted a new constitution passed by a referendum (popular vote) in May 1985. Talks to find a peaceful resolution between the 2 Cypriot zones resumed in 1999.

Glafcos Clerides has served as the president of the Republic of Cyprus since February 1993. He serves as both the head of state and the head of government. According to the 1960 constitution, the post of the vice president is reserved for a Turkish Cypriot, but the office has not been filled since the 1974 separation.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also elects a president by a popular vote, although he is only recognized as a head of state by Turkey. Rauf R. Denktash has served as president of the TRNC since February 1975. Dervis Eroglu has been the TRNC's de facto prime minister since August 1996, heading the Turkish zone's Council of Ministers (cabinet).

As there are 2 different heads of state and 2 separate sets of governing bodies on the island, political parties for the 2 zones are different. In the Greek Cypriot political system, the following parties have dominated: Democratic Party (DIKO), Democratic Rally (DISY), Ecologists, New Horizons, Restorative Party of the Working People (AKEL or Communist Party), United Democratic Union of Cyprus (EDEK), United Democrats Movement (EDI, formerly Free Democrats Movement or KED). In the Turkish Cypriot area the main parties have been: Communal Liberation Party (TKP), Democratic Party (DP), National Birth Party (UDP), National Unity Party (UBP), Our Party (BP), Patriotic Unity Movement (YBH), Republican Turkish Party (CTP).

Taxes and foreign economic aid provide the main sources of income for both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot governments. In both zones, the government plays an important role in the island's economy. The Turkish zone relies heavily on financial aid from Turkey. Until recently, the Republic of Cyprus government has controlled key sectors of the economy by means of semi-governmental organizations such as those that oversee the telecommunications and power industries. The Republic of Cyprus government has been moving toward a more liberal role in the economy. The country's candidacy for EU membership supports efforts to loosen government control over the economy. For instance, the liberalization of air transportation in Europe has forced Cyprus Airways, the island's government-owned airline, to become more efficient. The traditional regulations that restricted retailers' hours of operations and limited special sales to certain times of the year have been recently liberalized so that the island's economy can be more competitive and productive.


Cyprus has an efficient power and communications infrastructure according to European standards. The state-run enterprises handle most of the island's needs in

Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations b Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Cyprus 488,162 (1998) 138,000 (1999) AM 10; FM 71; shortwave 2 366,450 8 (1995) 300,300 6 80,000
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Turkey 19.5 M (1999) 12.1 M (1999) AM 16; FM 72; shortwave 6 11.3 M 635 (1995) 20.9 M 22 2 M
Lebanon) 700,000 (1999) 580,000 (1999) AM 20; FM 22; shortwave 4 2.85 M 15 (1995) 1.18 M 22 227,500
Note: Totals are combined for Greek and Turkish Cypriot areas.
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

the way of power generation, harbors, airports, and telecommunications. The island does not have a railroad system; instead the country is covered by highways, of which 10,663 kilometers (approximately 6,626 miles) are within the Greek Cypriot zone and 2,350 kilometers (approximately 1,460 miles) within the Turkish zone. Most of these highways are double-lane highways. There is a limited bus system that connects the cities with the inland, and a convenient taxi service. The island also has 12 airports with paved runways (15 total), which benefits the growing tourist industry. Its main harbors are Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, and Vasilikos. Despite its small size, Cyprus maintains the sixth largest ship registry in the world with about 2,700 ships and 27 million gross registered tons. Power generation in the Greek Cypriot zone was 2.675 billion kilowatt hours in 1998, all derived from fossil fuels. Power details on the Turkish zone were unavailable.

The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority handles the communications services in the Greek Cypriot zone, while another state-run enterprise provides this service in the Turkish zone. The Greek zone has 405,000 main telephone lines and 68,000 mobile lines in use; the Turkish zone has 70,845 and 70,000, respectively. Direct international dialing is also available on the island, and postal and courier services are also efficient. There are 4 main TV broadcasting stations in both the Greek and Turkish zones. As of 1999, the island had 5 Internet service providers.



The Greek Cypriots are among the most prosperous people in the Mediterranean region, and the Greek zone has enjoyed a high level of economic development, especially from the tourism industry. The inflation rate was 2.3 percent in 1998 and declined to 1.6 percent in 1999. The unemployment rate remains around 3.6 percent. The Greek zone has an open, free-market, service-based economy with some light manufacturing. Agriculture and natural resources make up only about 6 percent of its economy, according to 1998 figures. The industrial and construction sectors, on the other hand, accounted for nearly 25 percent of economic activity in that year, with most of the production for domestic need. The remainder of the economy is based on tourism and other services. Included in this category are restaurants and hotels, with 21.6 percent of the GDP; and banking, insurance, real estate, and business sectors with 17.5 percent. Transport, communication, government services, and social and personal services make up the remainder.

The island receives approximately US$3 billion from service-related exports led by tourism. Compared to only US$1.2 billion from merchandise exports, this is a fairly high proportion in the total economy. The service sector, including tourism, employs about 62 percent of the labor force . Consequently, the economy's growth rate is quite vulnerable to swings in tourist arrivals that are in turn affected by economic and political conditions in Cyprus, Western Europe, and the Middle East. According to the U.S. State Department's Country Background Notes on Cyprus, the real GDP growth was 9.7 percent in 1992, 1.7 percent in 1993, 6.0 percent in 1994, 6.0 percent in 1995, 1.9 percent in 1996, and 2.3 percent in 1997. Such a volatile pattern shows the effect of tourist arrivals on the overall economy.

Agriculture, on the other hand, employs only 12 percent of the population. Potatoes and citrus are the principal export crops. The island is not self-sufficient in agricultural products and must import other agricultural products for survival. More than 50 percent of Cyprus's trade is with the European Union. Cyprus signed an Association Agreement with the European Union in 1972, which established a Customs Union between the 2 zones. It applied for full EU membership in 1990 and since then the Cyprus pound has been pegged to the euro. The economic agenda in the Republic of Cyprus is geared towards joining the EU.

Trade is vital both to the Greek and Turkish Cypriot economies as the island is not self-sufficient. That explains why both zones have had structural trade deficits , which continue to grow. The Republic of Cyprus has a very important ship registry, and currently more than 2,700 ships are registered in Cyprus. As an open registry, it can include foreign ships and vessels. By 2001, more than 43 countries, including the United States, have registered ships with Cyprus. To encourage ship registrations, the Republic of Cyprus has enacted laws that provide incentives to Cypriot ships, including tax exemptions.


The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus does almost all of its trade with Turkey and uses Turkish lira, the currency used in the republic of Turkey, as its legal tender. Assistance from Turkey is the mainstay of this zone's economy, thus making it very vulnerable to shocks coming from Turkey. For instance, the TRNC experiences the same rate of inflation that exists in mainland Turkey. As the value of Turkish lira falls against other currencies such as the dollar or the euro, so does the purchasing power of Turkish Cypriots against imported goods from the United States or Europe. In 1998, the Turkish zone experienced an inflation rate of 66 percent, which was the same as in Turkey. The unemployment rate in the Turkish zone reached 6.4 percent in 1997, almost double the rate in the Greek zone. According to an economic protocol signed in January 1997, Turkey has undertaken the provision of loans to the TRNC totaling $250 million for public finance, tourism, banking, and privatization .



Agriculture accounted for 6 percent of the GDP in 1997, and it employed about 12 percent of the labor force. Agricultural products accounted for 21 percent of total domestic imports in 1997. In 1998 revenue from agricultural products was US$531 million. Citrus fruits and potatoes are the main export commodities, followed by grapes, barley, and vegetables. In 1996 the area under field crops was 93,000 hectares. Vineyards covered 15 percent of this acreage, while permanent orchards accounted for 11 percent, and olive vineyards and nut trees an additional 6.2 percent. Agricultural production is dependent on the island's temperate Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool winters. In terms of value, 56 percent of the 1996 gross harvest was consumed in Cyprus. Although domestic markets are important for agriculture, processing of agricultural products for other uses is becoming more important. Per capita consumption levels of fruits and citrus are exceptionally high in Cyprus, with 55 kg per person for citrus and 146 kg for other fruits.

In Cyprus, farm processing is important, with production of halloumi cheese, raisins, and wine being the most important. Such processed farm products have higher export values than unprocessed food products and are easier to sell abroad, especially since closer integration with the European Union has made more of Cyprus's farm products available to consumers in Europe.

Fishing is an expanding sub-sector of agriculture. Fish farms have been installed on the south coast, and local and tourist fish markets provide a continuous demand. In recent years, the catch from inshore and trawler fisheries has increased, while marine aquaculture (sea fishing) has stagnated. The Cyprus government reported that the Cyprus Fisheries produced more than 3 tons of fish in 1997.

Agriculture in the Greek zone has an uncertain future, because the sector is declining in importance against other sectors like tourism. It is also affected by rainfall fluctuations and by the water-shortage problem on the island as a whole.


The northern Turkish zone relies more heavily on agriculture than the southern Greek zone. Although only one-third of the island's area is under Turkish control, its agricultural sector accounts for 46 percent of Cyprus's total crop production and 47 percent of its livestock population. Agriculture employs more than 25 percent of the Turkish zone labor force. Its agriculture sector experienced a severe blow in 1995 when the region lost nearly 10 percent of its forests in a major fire. The sector has also been hurt by regulatory difficulties surrounding the export of agricultural products. The European Court of Justice has ruled that agricultural products must have phytosanitary (certifying that plants are disease-free) certificates from the legally recognized authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. As a result, many agricultural products from the Turkish zone must first be exported to Turkey before getting into European markets. Another disadvantage is that the Turkish Cypriots have to accept payments for their exports in Turkish liras instead of hard currency such as the dollar or the euro.



Information about mining in the separate zones is not available. Mining has long played an important role in Cyprus's economy. For several thousand years, the island has been an important source of copper ores. It also produces pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, salt, marble, clay, and earth pigment. In the 1950s, minerals accounted for almost 60 percent of all exports and employed more than 6,000 people. After independence in 1960, however, the share of mineral exports had fallen to 34 percent. The 1974 Turkish intervention further disrupted the mining sector. In 1981 its share in total exports fell below 5 percent and by the end of the 1980s to less than 1 percent. The contribution of the sector to the GDP also declined, to 0.5 percent in 1985 and 0.4 percent in 1987 and 1988. Most of the deposits on the southern part of the island are nearly gone today. The asbestos mines were closed in 1988, thus further reducing the share of the mining sector in the economy. By the 1990s, the main mining products were pyrites and copper. The mining of sand and other construction minerals fluctuates with demand. By the late 1990s, 250 quarries were operating in the Republic of Cyprus. Though the mining industry had declined since the Turkish invasion, the Hellenic Copper Mine's 1996 establishment of a mine at Skouriotissa was encouraging.


According to the U.S. State Department's Background Notes on Cyprus, manufactured goods accounted for approximately 69 percent of the Greek zone's domestic exports in 1997. Before the partition of the island, most of the manufacturing goods were produced in what is now the Turkish zone by small, owner-operated plants. Most of the production was for the domestic market. After 1974, the industries were re-oriented for export, and large factories were built in the southern Greek-controlled zone. Output grew rapidly there through the 1980s. The manufacturing sector's contribution to the economy of the Greek zone declined from 17.3 percent in 1983 to 10.9 percent in 1999. During the same period, the total employment in the manufacturing sector has also declined, from 21 percent of the overall labor force to around 13 percent. The heavy industries include petroleum refining and cement while the light industries include clothing, footwear, and machinery and transport equipment. High tariffs put on imports to protect domestic manufacturing industries were lifted under the membership agreement with the European Union. This fact, plus the rise of tourism and the service economy, has hurt the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in the Greek zone. In 2000, the Republic of Cyprus was actively trying to attract high-technology businesses to the country.

In the Turkish zone, industry in 1998 accounted for about 11.8 percent of the GDP and 55.4 percent of the total employment in its region, according to the World Factbook 2000. Manufacturing is almost entirely based on light industry, with textiles and clothing being the most important products. The only example of heavy industry is a cement factory at Boghaz. In the late 1980s, clothing accounted for over 30 percent of all exports in the Turkish region, exceeded only by citrus exports. In 1989, for the first time, manufacturing surpassed agriculture's contribution to the GDP and has grown since then. However, compared to the situation in the Greek zone, the Turkish-zone manufacturing sector is small.



Tourism is very important to the functioning of the Cypriot economy both in the south and the north. Revenue from tourism contributed approximately US$1.7 billion to the economy of the Greek zone in 1998. The reduced airfares resulting from the liberalization of the airline industry in Europe helped make Cyprus a major tourist destination during the 1970s. The tourist industry on the island was hurt during that decade because of the ongoing disputes between the Turkish and Greek populations, but since the 1980s, it has grown dramatically, especially in the Greek zone. By 2001, Cyprus, especially the southern side, had become a popular holiday spot for many Europeans. Offering natural beaches, warm climate, and unspoiled nature, the island attracts many vacationers from nearby countries. The Greek zone is also more easily accessible via its international airports and cruise-ship ports.

Tourism in the Turkish zone is hampered by legitimacy problems. Since the TRNC is not recognized as an independent and sovereign state by any other nation except Turkey, it does not have consular offices (official offices to represent a country's commercial interests abroad) in other countries where visitors or tourism agencies can easily arrange travel. There are few international flights to the Turkish zone. The TRNC's official airline, Cyprus Turkish Airlines (KHTY), circumvents such problems by making brief stops on the Turkish mainland prior to its final destination in Turkish Cyprus. Tourists from Turkey make up more than 80 percent of all tourists coming to the Turkish zone. Despite these limitations, tourism continues to be the driving force behind the TRNC's economy. In 1999, earnings from tourism were estimated at around US$405 million, equivalent to 43 percent of the region's GDP. Since gambling is permitted, the TRNC serves as an important holiday destination for tourists coming from Turkey, where casinos are banned. The Turkish zone is also a popular shopping destination for mainland Turks who take advantage of the region's lower taxes.

Both the Greek and Turkish zones have a good tourism infrastructure with sufficient, quality lodging and other facilities. As of 1998, the Greek zone had a capacity of 86,151 beds, according to the Cyprus Statistical Service. In 1999, 2.4 million foreign tourists arrived in the southern zone. U.S. State Department surveys forecast even higher revenues from tourism in coming years, though the political dispute between the 2 sides on the island remains a potential barrier.


According to the U.S. State Department's Country Commercial Guide on Cyprus, finance, insurance, real estate, and business services recorded gains recently (from 16.6 percent of GDP in 1992 to 19.8 percent in 1998).

The banking system in Cyprus consists of the Central Bank of Cyprus and 9 local commercial banks, as well as several specialized financial institutions, leasing companies, and co-operatives. There is also an established foreign banking community, which includes 30 international banking units. Commercial banking arrangements and practices follow the British system. In 1996, the Central Bank of Cyprus achieved substantial progress in its campaign to liberalize and reform Cyprus's financial sector. Monetary policy is now conducted through the use of market-based instruments. Repurchase transactions between the Central Bank and financial institutions are the main tool of liquidity management, and the use of the minimum liquidity requirement has been abandoned. The new procedures are fully in line with EU practices.

In the Greek zone, a law that came into effect on 1 January 2001 abolished the 9 percent ceiling on interest rates that had existed since 1944, enabling depositors to receive higher returns on their savings. In addition, previous restrictions on Cypriots' ability to own foreign currency and make overseas investments are being loosened as part of a 3-stage plan to harmonize the country's financial industry with EU standards. The Greek zone is now an open country for foreign investment, whereas prior to 1997 there were restrictions on the participation of foreigners in Cypriot firms. In preparation for EU membership, all foreign-investment restrictions for EU investors have been abolished since January 2000. Foreigners can own up to 100 percent of companies in the manufacturing and services sectors and up to 49 percent of businesses in the agriculture, media, press, and travel sectors. Cyprus also has a stock exchange, where foreigners are permitted to own up to 49 percent of publicly traded companies. Foreign investment makes the economy stronger by bringing new capital and technologies to existing industries, helping to modernize them, and creating jobs.

Businesses in the Turkish zone cannot attract foreign investment because of the legitimacy problem mentioned earlier.



In 1998 the Greek zone recorded a balance of payments deficit of US$342.8 million compared to a deficit of US$229.9 million in 1997. The trade deficit reached a record of US$2.5 billion in 1998, due in part to a decline in tourism revenues in 1996 and 1997. Also, the volume of imports did not decrease as much as the decline in the country's export revenues, helping to make the deficit even higher.

Middle Eastern countries receive 20 percent of exports from Cyprus. Cyprus re-exports cigarettes from the United States to 2 major markets for tobacco products: Russia and Bulgaria. The economic crisis in these countries has hurt consumer purchasing power, thus lowering Cyprus's revenues from these exports.

The amount of total imports increased in 1998 to a total of US$3.5 billion. Most of these imports were intermediate goods and capital goods . While Cyprus faced difficulty in selling its products or re-selling U.S. products abroad, it bought more from abroad, making its trade deficit higher. Cyprus must import fuels, most raw materials, heavy machinery, and transportation equipment. More than 50 percent of the country's trade is with the European Union, especially with England.

Cyprus has recently attempted to liberalize its trade policies by eliminating import quotas and licenses. It has also lowered tariffs on most products as a result of its obligations to the EU for the Customs Union Agreement. The country's entry into the Customs Union with the EU has also made trade conditions more competitive (restrictive) for U.S. exporters doing business in Cyprus.

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Cyprus
Exports Imports
1975 .150 .308
1980 .532 1.202
1985 .476 1.247
1990 .957 2.568
1995 1.229 3.694
1998 1.061 3.685
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

However, according to the U.S. State Department's analysis, the United States has a competitive edge over its European allies in the sales of computer-assisted design systems, medical equipment, environmental products, and new capital equipment for production of textiles, clothing, and footwear. Compared to those of European origin, U.S. software products are in higher demand in Cyprus. U.S. pressure resulted in new copyright (1994) and patent (1998) laws that helped protect U.S. software products, thus increasing the sales of those products.


The TNRC does most of its trade with Turkey (around 47 percent in 1998), followed by England (slightly more than 25 percent) and other EU countries (15 percent). The Turkish zone's trading account continues to be in deficit, but is offset by earnings from tourism and development programs, which come largely from Turkey, and also from income by United Nations personnel stationed in the zone.



The Cyprus pound is printed and circulated through the Central Bank of Cyprus, which aims to keep it stable in relation to the euro. Cyprus does most of its trade with the European Union. As a result, the Cyprus pound has been linked to the European Monetary Union system of currencies (EMU). As of 1 January 1999, the Cyprus pound has been linked to the euro.


Following the 1974 separation, the Turkish Cypriot zone adopted the Turkish lira as the legal tender, but the Cyprus pound was used until 1983. The Cyprus pound is now considered a foreign currency in this region and is subject to foreign exchange regulations. Still, the Cyprus pound is used by businesses, along with the British pound and the U.S. dollar in the Turkish zone to assess export and import prices or in trading. There is also a central bank in the Turkish zone, but its functions and powers are limited. Since the Turkish lira is the legal tender and is printed in mainland Turkey, the central bank can neither print money nor decide on monetary

Exchange rates: Cyprus
Cypriot pounds per US$1 Turkish liras per US$
Jan 2001 0.6146 N/A
2000 0.6208 625,219
1999 0.5423 418,783
1998 0.5170 260,724
1997 0.5135 151,865
1996 0.4663 81,405
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

policy. It receives daily exchange rates from Turkey and passes them on to commercial banks operating in the northern zone, but it has no control over the interest rates. Since it has such strong links to Turkey, the economy in the TNRC is affected by the same high inflation as in mainland Turkey, where the consumer-price inflation rate was 99.1 percent in 1997 and 69.7 percent in 1998. The economy of the Turkish zone also suffered in 1994 when Turkey experienced a severe economic crisis and devalued its currency. To compensate for these problems, Turkey has long provided direct and indirect aid to nearly every sector. Today, financial support from mainland Turkey accounts for about one-third of the zone's total GDP.


The people of the Greek zone are among the most affluent in the world. According to the World Bank's Development Report, Cyprus is ranked 16th in terms of per capita income adjusted for purchasing power. In 1988 per capita income was US$15,500, according to the CIA World Factbook .

The Republic of Cyprus reported that 97 percent of the houses in Cyprus are in good or average condition and that 69 percent of those houses have facilities like electricity and plumbing. No information is available regarding the percentage of the population below the poverty line. A May 2000 editorial in the Sunday Mail, a Greek Cypriot newspaper, estimated that 70,000 people in the Greek zone (about 10 percent of the population) live below the poverty line and receive welfare from the government. When the Turkish invasion of 1974 displaced about 25,000 people, the Republic of Cyprus responded with policies to provide housing to low and middle-income people. By 1995, the government reported that 14,000 housing units had been constructed, including schools, shopping centers, and playgrounds, and that 12,000 people had taken advantage of subsidies available to build their own homes.

In the Turkish zone, the per capita income decreased to around US$5,000. The Republic of Cyprus estimated

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Cyprus 3,619 6,334 7,818 10,405 12,857
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Turkey 1,898 1,959 2,197 2,589 3,167
Lebanon N/A N/A N/A 1,721 2,999
Note: Totals are combined for Greek and Turkish Cypriot areas.
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

that nearly one-third of the Turkish Cypriots have emigrated since 1974. Turkish nationals began moving to Cyprus in 1974 and by 1995 outnumbered Turkish Cypriots. In addition to the Turkish nationals, the TRNC maintains 35,000 Turkish military personnel who guard the area.



The Republic of Cyprus had a 3.3 percent unemployment rate in 1999 and a workforce of about 314,000 people. Workers are protected by laws regulating their health and safety on the job. In addition to legislation, trade unions also play an important role in workers' lives. The initial attempt to form trade unions in Cyprus took place in 1915, when the country was under British rule, but the first of them, the Nicosia Footwear Union, was not recognized until 1932, a year after it was established. After labor unrest in 1944, Cyprus adopted a cost-of-living allowance (COLA) for its workers. The 8-hour workday was accepted only after independence.


The Turkish zone labor force was estimated at 80,200 people in 1998, and the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent. Almost one-third of the labor force in the Turkish zone is unionized. Minimum wages are untaxed and are fixed annually by law according to inflation indexing, the so-called "cost of living allowance" (COLA) standard.


1500-1450 B.C. First traces of settlement on Cyprus. Some evidence suggests that the settlers were related to the peoples of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey).

1450-1000 B.C. Beginning of the Egyptian domination of the island.

1200-1000 B.C. Establishment of the city-states of Salamis, Soli, Marion, Paphos, Kurium, and Kyrenna; arrival of Greek colonists.

850-750 B.C. Phoenicians settle in several areas and share political control with the Greeks.

750-612 B.C. Period of Assyrian rule. The Assyrian king Sargon II conquers the 7 independent kingdoms on the island.

568-525 B.C. Period of Egyptian rule.

525-333 B.C. Period of Persian rule.

333-58 B.C. Period of Hellenistic rule by the heirs of the Alexander the Great.

58 B.C.-395 A.D. Period of Roman Empire rule.

395-1191. Period of Byzantine Empire rule.

1191-1192. Briefly ruled by Richard the Lionheart of England.

1192-1489. Period of Lusignan rule. Tensions between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church increase. The Cypriots remain loyal to their Orthodox heritage and by the middle of the 14th century the Latin clergy become less determined to convert the islanders.

1489-1570. Island is dominated by the Italian city-state of Venice.

1571-1878. Period of Ottoman Empire rule. The Ottomans grant land to Turkish soldiers and peasants who then become the nucleus of the island's Turkish community.

1878-1914. Cyprus is administered by Great Britain according to an agreement with the Ottoman Empire.

1914. Cyprus is annexed by Great Britain at the start of World War I.

1925. Cyprus becomes a British Crown colony.

1960. Foundation of the Independent Republic of Cyprus.

1963. Inter-communal strife in Cyprus between Greek and Turkish sectors leads to establishment of United Nations peacekeeping mission.

1974. Greek army officers stage coup d'état and overthrow President Makarios with the aim of uniting the island with Greece. Turkey intervenes and lands its forces on the northern part of the island, where they have remained ever since. The island is divided into a Turkish Cypriot northern zone and a Greek Cypriot southern zone.

1983. Turkish Cypriots proclaim the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Rauf Denktash is elected the president.

1987. The Republic of Cyprus signs a new association agreement with the European Union establishing a full customs union by 2002.

1996. Greece lifts its veto on Turkey's customs union with the European Union in exchange for a date for the commencement of negotiations to allow for Cyprus's membership.

1998. EU accession talks begin.


Cyprus entered the 21st century as a separated island of 2 nations and 2 religions. The division between the two will be the main focus of debate and discussion in the international arena in the years to come. The division between the 2 economies also affects the level of development of the nation. The Greek zone (Republic of Cyprus) enjoys the benefits of international recognition and has attained high levels of development and per capita income, but the Turkish zone (TRNC) has suffered economically and politically from the international embargo .

Cyprus's application for full EU membership is also a critical step that will have further consequences for the island's political economy and development. It is unclear whether the Turkish Cypriots will abandon their claims for a confederation in favor of the Greek Cypriot proposal of a federated state. Although TRNC president Denktash has called for further integration with mainland Turkey, which would mean the annexation of the island's Turkish zone into the homeland, the likelihood of this scenario is still unclear. EU officials project that Cyprus will be a full member of the European Union by 2010.

As the Republic of Cyprus prepares for full EU membership, it will continue to harmonize its economy and institutional framework with EU standards. As indicated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in its 1997 policy review, financial openness is one of the cornerstones of policy reform for Cyprus. The WTO also notes the growing importance of the nation's services sector. This sector accounts for roughly 70 percent of the country's foreign exchange receipts as well as its GDP. Although the economy of the Greek zone is a prosperous one, the fact that the country suffers from a structural deficit and that it must rely on imports is not likely to change, even after a possible EU membership.


Cyprus has no territories or colonies.


Agribusiness Online. "World Agricultural Trade Import and Export of Agricultural Products including Fish." <>. Accessed February 2001.

Central Bank of Cyprus. "Cyprus in Brief; Banking and Finance." <>. Accessed February 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. <>. Accessed March 2001.

. Country Profile: Cyprus and Malta. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

. Country Report: Cyprus and Malta. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, December, 2000.

Federal Research Division/Library of Congress. "Cyprus, A Country Study." <>. Accessed February 2001.

"'In Your Face,' Wealth, 'Below the Line,' Poverty." The Sunday Mail (Nicosia, Cyprus), 14 May 2000.

The Republic of Cyprus. "The Official Web Site of the Republic of Cyprus." <>. Accessed February 2001.

Smith, Bamijoko S., editor. "International Development Options. USA." Global Development Studies. Winter-Spring 1999.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. <http://>. Accessed January 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY2001 Country Commercial Guide:2001. <>. Accessed February 2001.

World Trade Organization. "WTO: Trade Policy Reviews; Cyprus, June 1997." <>. Accessed February 2001.

Emre Ozsoz


Republic of Cyprus:


Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus:



Greek zone:

Cypriot pound (CP). One Cypriot pound equals 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents and 1 pound. Paper notes include a 50 cent note, and 1, 5, 10, and 20 pound notes.

Turkish zone:

Turkish lira (TL). One Turkish lira equals 100 kurus. This zone uses the same currency as used in Turkey. The smallest unit in circulation in the TRNC is TL50,000. The kuru is no longer in circulation due to high rates of inflation and the devaluation of the currency. Paper money comes in bills of 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 500,000, 1 million, 5 million, and 10 million lira. There are coins of 5,000, 10,000, 25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 lira.


Both Greek and Turkish zones:

Citrus, potatoes, and textiles.

Additional exports from the Greek zone:

Grapes, wine, cement and shoes.


Greek zone:

Consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, food and feed grains, machinery.

Turkish zone:

Food, minerals, chemicals, machinery.


Greek zone:

US$9 billion (1998 est.).

Turkish zone:

US$820 million (1998 est.).


Exports: Greek zone, US$1 billion (1999); Turkish zone, US$63.9 million (1998). Imports: Greek zone, US$3.309 billion (1999); Turkish zone, US$421 million (1998).

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Cyprus (sī´prəs), Gr. Kypros, Turk. Kıbrıs, officially Republic of Cyprus, republic (2005 est. pop. 780,000), 3,578 sq mi (9,267 sq km), an island in the E Mediterranean Sea, c.40 mi (60 km) S of Turkey and c.60 mi (100 km) W of Syria. The capital and largest city is Nicosia. In addition to the capital, other important cities are Famagusta, Larnaca, and Limassol. The island is divided into a northern, Turkish Cypriot sector and a southern, Greek Cypriot sector. A thin buffer zone occupied by the United Nations Forces in Cyprus separates the two sectors. In addition, Great Britain retains sovereignty over two military bases, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, located on the SW and SE coasts respectively.

Land and People

Two mountain ranges traverse the island from east to west; the highest point is Mt. Olympus (6,406 ft/1,953 m), in the southwest. Between the ranges lies a wide plain, the chief agricultural region. Since the 1970s, diminished rainfall and increased population and economic growth have reduced local water supplies. Over three quarters of the population is Greek, generally residing in the southern sector of the country, and belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. Less than 20% of the people are Turkish Muslims, mainly living in the northern region. Religious minorities include the Maronites and Armenian Orthodox. In addition to Greek and Turkish, English is also widely spoken.


Agricultural products include citrus, vegetables, cereal grains, potatoes, olives, and cotton; in addition, the Greek sector grows deciduous fruits and wine grapes, and the Turkish side, where agriculture is more important, grows tobacco and table grapes. Poultry, hogs, sheep, goats, and some cattle are raised. Fishing is an important industry in the Turkish sector, and the Greek side has a strong manufacturing economy that produces building materials, textiles, chemicals, and metal, wood, paper, stone, and clay products. There is also food and beverage processing, ship repair, and petroleum refining. Mineral resources include copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, and salt. Tourism is important for both areas; financial services are also important in the Greek sector. The Greek sector is considerably more prosperous than the Turkish side, which is heavily dependent on aid from Turkey. Exports include citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, clothing, and cigarettes from the Greek side and citrus, dairy products, potatoes, and textiles from the Turkish side. Both sides import consumer goods, fuel, machinery, transportation equipment, and foodstuffs. The main trading partners are Greece, Great Britain, France, and Germany.


Cyprus is governed under the constitution of 1960. The president of Cyprus, who is both the head of state and the head of government, is popularly elected for a five-year term. The unicameral House of Representatives has 80 seats; 56 are assigned to Greek Cypriots and 24 to Turkish Cypriots, but only the Greek seats are filled. Members are elected by popular vote to five-year terms. Administratively, Cyprus is divided into six districts.

The self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is governed under a constitution adopted in 1985, but the TRNC is recognized only by Turkey. The TRNC has its own elected president, prime minister, and cabinet. The TRNC's unicameral Assembly of the Republic has 50 members, who are elected by popular vote to five-year terms.


Excavations have proved the existence of a Neolithic culture on Cyprus in the period from 6000 BC to 3000 BC Contact with the Middle East and, after 1500 BC, with Greece greatly influenced Cypriot civilization. Phoenicians settled on the island c.800 BC Cyprus subsequently fell under Assyrian, Egyptian, and Persian rule. Alexander the Great conquered it in 333 BC, after which the island again became an Egyptian dependency until its annexation by Rome in 58 BC Ancient Cyprus was a center of the cult of Aphrodite.

After AD 395, Cyprus was ruled by the Byzantines until 1191, when Richard I of England conquered it. In 1192, Richard bestowed the island on Guy of Lusignan. In 1489, Cyprus was annexed by Venice. The Turks conquered it in 1571. At the Congress of Berlin (1878) the Ottoman Empire placed Cyprus under British administration, and in 1914, Britain annexed it outright.

Under British rule the movement among the Greek Cypriot population for union (enosis) with Greece was a constant source of tension. In 1955 a Greek Cypriot organization (EOKA), led by Col. George Grivas, launched a campaign of widespread terrorism. Tension and terror mounted, especially after British authorities deported (1956) Makarios III, the spokesman for the Greek Cypriot nationalists. The conflict was aggravated by Turkish support of Turkish Cypriot demands for partition of the island. Negotiations (1955) among Britain, Greece, and Turkey on the status of Cyprus broke down completely. Finally in 1959, a settlement was reached, providing for Cypriot independence in 1960 and for the terms of the constitution. Treaties precluded both enosis and partition. Makarios was elected president in 1959 and reelected in 1968 and 1973.

In 1961, Cyprus joined the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations. Large-scale fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots erupted several times in the 1960s, and a UN peacekeeping force was sent in 1965. In Mar., 1970, there was an attempt on Makarios's life by radical Greek Cypriots. The government was also fearful of a possible coup led by Grivas, who favored enosis. Turkish Cypriots demanded official recognition of their organization (which exercised de facto political control in the 30 Turkish enclaves) and the stationing of Turkish troops on the island to offset the influence of the Cypriot national guard, which was dominated by officers from Greece. Greek Cypriots interpreted the proposal as amounting to partition. Acts of violence against the government increased and were met in 1973 by an effort to suppress the guerrillas by the national police force (which had been created by Makarios to counter the national guard). Grivas died in Jan., 1974, and although EOKA was split between hard-liners and moderates, it continued to be dominated by Greek officers.

On July 15, 1974, following a large-scale national police assault on EOKA, the Makarios government was overthrown by the national guard. Nikos Sampson, a Greek Cypriot newspaper publisher, acceded to the presidency and Makarios fled the country. Both Greece and Turkey mobilized their armed forces. Citing its obligation to protect the Turkish Cypriot community, Turkey invaded (July 20) N Cyprus, occupied over 30% of the island, and displaced about 200,000 Greek Cypriots. The invasion precipitated the fall of the military regime in Athens and also resulted in the resignation of Sampson. He was replaced by Glafkos Clerides, the conservative Greek Cypriot president of the house of representatives.

A UN-sponsored cease-fire was arranged on July 22, and Turkey was permitted to retain military forces in the areas it had captured. Makarios was returned to office in Dec., 1974. In 1975 the island was partitioned into Greek and Turkish territories separated by a UN-occupied buffer zone. Makarios remained president until his death in 1977 and was succeeded by Spyros Kyprianou (1977–88). In 1983, Turkish Cypriots declared themselves independent from the Cypriot state; the resulting Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, with Rauf Denktash as president, was recognized only by Turkey. Negotiations to end the division of the country continued intermittently and inconclusively in the subsequent decades.

George Vassiliou, a leftist, defeated Clerides in the presidential elections of 1988, but Clerides was elected president in 1993 and again in 1998. By the late 1990s it was estimated that over half the population of Turkish Cyprus consisted of recent settlers from Turkey. In 1998, Cyprus began membership talks with the European Union (EU), a move that was bitterly opposed by Turkish Cypriots, and Turkey insisted on a political settlement for the island prior to its joining the EU. Denktash was elected to his fourth term as president in 2000, but Clerides lost his bid for a third consecutive term in 2003, losing to Tassos Papadopoulos of the Democratic party.

In Apr., 2003, long-standing Turkish Cypriot restrictions on cross-border travel were eased, and the Greek south ended a ban on trade with the north. The United Nations sponsored renewed negotiations to reunify the island, and an accord establishing a federation was reached in 2004, but failed to win approval in a referendum in April. Although Turkish Cypriot voters approved the accord, the Greek population rejected it. Turkish approval of the accord, however, did result in many nations, including S Cyprus, ending or reducing the economic embargo the north had been under since the Turkish invasion.

Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, but the north was excluded due to the failure of the referendum in the south. The Turkish Cypriot government subsequently fell, but elections (Feb., 2005) returned the government to power. In April, Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat was elected to succeed Denktash as Turkish Cypriot president. Cyprus adopted the euro in Jan., 2008. In Feb., 2008, Demetris Christofias, the AKEL (Communist) party candidate, was elected president of Cyprus after a runoff; Papadopoulos was eliminated in the first round. Subsequently, Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed to restart reunification talks, which began in Sept., 2008. Slow progress, however, led to popular dissatisfaction in the north, and in 2010 the nationalist candidate, Derviş Eroğlu, defeated Talat to win the Turkish Cypriot presidency. In subsequent years, reunification talks sometimes experienced prolonged interruptions.

In June, 2012, the government of Cyprus announced plans to seek loans from the eurozone bailout funds because of the country's exposure to the Greek economy, but a rescue plan, involving some €10 billion in aid, was not agreed on until Mar., 2013. Under that plan large depositors at Cyprus's two largest banks had significant losses, and the government imposed controls on currency transfers that were not lifted until 2015. The Feb., 2013, presidential election in Cyprus was won by Nikos Anastasiades of the conservative Democratic Rally. The European Court of Human Rights in May, 2014, ordered Turkey to pay Cyprus €90 million as compensation for the effects of the Turkish invasion in 1974; the case had been brought by Cyprus in 1994 and had been decided in the country's favor in 2001. Turkey, however, said it would not make the payment. Mustafa Akıncı defeated Eroğlu to win the Turkish Cypriot presidency in Apr., 2015; Akıncı had promised to work toward reunification with greater urgency.


See G. F. Hill, History of Cyprus (4 vol., 1940–52); V. Karageorghis, Ancient Cyprus (1982); J. S. Joseph, Cyprus: Ethnic Conflict and International Concern (1985); I. Robertson, Cyprus (1987).

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the largest island in the eastern mediterranean.

The Cyprus Republic was established as a sovereign independent state in 1960. It is a presidential republic in which the president is elected by popular vote to a five-year term and the legislature consists of the unicameral House of Representatives. Covering 3,700 square miles (9,251 sq km), Cyprus lies south of the Turkish mainland and east of Syria. Prior to 1960, Britain ruled Cyprus, after having annexed it from the Ottoman Empire in 1878.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern part of the island. Turkey's troops control this territory, which makes up about a third of the island. The Turkish occupation of 1974 caused 200,000 Greek Cypriots to move southward and 50,000 Turkish Cypriots to relocate to the occupied territories. In 1983, a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established, but has not been recognized by any country besides Turkey.

Population and Major Cities

The last census to survey the entire island, in 1973, recorded a population of 631,788, of whom about 80 percent were Greek-speaking Orthodox, 18 percent Turkish-speaking Muslims, and the remaining 2 percent Maronites and Armenians. A 1986 census found the population in nonoccupied Cyprus to be 677,200, whereas that in the north was estimated to be about 160,000 (not including about 65,000 people from mainland Turkey who had settled in northern Cyprus). An official estimate for the population of the entire island in 1991 came to 708,000.

The capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, was divided by a "green line" that separated the northern occupied part from the rest of the city and effectively closed the city's international airport. The other major cities are Larnaca (where the international airport was relocated), Limassol, and Paphos; in occupied Cyprus, the largest towns are Kerynia, virtually deserted since the invasion in 1974, and Famagusta. With the exception of Nicosia, all the major towns are seaports. Two mountain ranges on the island run east to west, one in the north and the higher Troödos range in the south.


After Cyprus gained independence in 1960, its economy changed dramatically. Within the next three decades, the formerly agrarian character of the island was transformed as domestic manufacturing and international trade were developed vigorously, in the process raising the per capita income from $350 in 1960 to $7,500 in 1986. The development of tourism was also a significant factor in this period.

The millet system, which operated in Cyprus during the period of Ottoman rule (15701878), allowed the Greek Orthodox church of Cyprus to play an important role in the affairs of the majority Greek-speaking population of the island. The leader of the church, Archbishop Kyprianos, and a group of notables who supported the Greek war of independence (1821) were executed by the authorities. The Tanzimat reforms of 1839 and especially the Hatt-i Hümayun reforms introduced in Cyprus in 1856 improved living conditions for the Greek Orthodox inhabitants and enhanced their commercial and educational opportunities.

British Rule

Cyprus was awarded to Britain at the Berlin Congress (1878), and Britain took over its administration. The island, however, remained formally part of the Ottoman Empire until 1914, when it was annexed by Britain as a consequence of the Ottoman Empire's siding with the Central Powers in World War I. British rule brought a greater degree of self-government for the population and a Western-based judicial system but also much higher taxation, imposed to finance the compensation Britain had undertaken to pay the Ottomans after 1878.

The disaffection of the local Greek Orthodox population with British rule served to encourage sentiment in favor of union with Greece. During an uprising in support of enosis (union with Greece) in Nicosia (1931), the British Government House was burned down. The authorities retaliated by suspending the island's legislative council. The proenosis movement grew again in the late 1940s after the referendumorganized by the all-party Ethnar-chic Council under the new Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios IIIthat decided overwhelmingly in favor of union with Greece.

The Greek Cypriots took their case to the United Nations (UN) and Archbishop Makarios traveled to the United States to publicize the movement, but the UN assembly declined to take up the issue and more anti-British demonstrations occurred on Cyprus. On 1 April 1955 attacks on British installations signaled a new phase in the island's anticolonial struggle. The campaign was led by the Ethniki Organosis Kipriakou Agonos (EOKA; National Organization of Cypriot Fighters), a Greek Cypriot guerrilla organization headed by Georgios Theodoros Grivas, a colonel of the Greek army who used the nom de guerre Dighenis. In retaliation, Britain exiled Archbishop Makarios and his close collaborators to the Seychelles (1956). While diplomatic initiatives began to resolve the Cyprus crisis at the UN and in London (1957), the minority group of Turkish Cypriots on the island, fearing the consequences of enosis, declared themselves to be for either a federation or partition.

Independence and Internal Conflict

Diplomatic negotiations between the British, Greek, and Turkish governments led to the Zurich Agreement between Greece and Turkey and the London Agreement between Britain, Greece, Turkey, and the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaderships. The series

of arrangements brought about the establishment of an independent state, the Cyprus Republic, whose sovereignty was to be guaranteed by Britain, Greece, and Turkey. Small garrisons of Greek and Turkish forces were to be stationed on Cyprus, and the rights of the Turkish Cypriot minority were enshrined in the constitution, which provided for the office of a Turkish Cypriot vice president of the republic with extensive veto powers. In December 1959, Makarios was elected president and Fazil Kuçuk vice president. Elections for the legislative assembly were held in 1960, and in August of the same year the last British governor, Sir Hugh Foote, announced the end of British rule on the island (Britain retained two military bases under its sovereignty), thereby paving the way for the formal proclamation of the Cyprus Republic.

After a breakdown in Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot relations led to intercommunal fighting in 1963, the areas populated by Turkish Cypriots were separated administratively by a so-called green line. When the situation continued to be tense in 1964, the Greek Cypriots began fearing a military invasion from mainland Turkey. Through a series of negotiations held under the aegis of the UN, diplomats sought a more practical resolution of the intercommunal conflict. Their proposals ranged from a reaffirmation of the original constitutional structure to either union with Greece or division of the island, but none of these measures was acceptable to both sides. The arrival of a UN peacekeeping force (1964), however, helped to reestablish peace. By remaining committed to preserving the Cyprus Republic, Makarios incurred the opposition of the Greek Cypriot nationalists and their leader, Colonel Grivas. Aided by the Greek dictatorship established in 1967, Grivas, working through an organization named EOKA-B, led a renewed struggle for enosis from 1971 till his death in 1974.

Growing conflict between Makarios and the Greek dictatorship culminated in the latter's support of Makarios's overthrow and the imposition of a dictatorship headed by Greek Cypriot nationalist Nikos Sampson (July 1974). Makarios survived an assassination attempt and left the island. Claiming to be exercising its rights as a guarantor of the sovereignty of Cyprus, Turkey launched a military invasion and eventually placed the northern third of the island under its control. The Greek dictatorship and the Sampson regime collapsed, and Glafkos Clerides was made acting president, pending the return of Makarios in December 1974.

After 1974, the two sides undertook numerous negotiations and held many meetings under the auspices of the UN, whose General Assembly called for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupying forces and the return of all the refugees to their homes. Several plans designed to resolve the crisis were submitted and although the Greek Cypriots agreed to a number of successive concessions, no overall arrangement has been acceptable to both sides.

Makarios died in 1977. His successor, Spyros Kyprianou, was president until 1988. As the candidate of the Democratic Party, he then lost the presidential elections to George Vasileiou, who was supported by, among others, the large Communist Party (AKEL). Vasileiou's tenure ended in 1993, when Glafkos Clerides won the presidential elections. In the meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had declared the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983. He was elected president of TRNC in 1985 and reelected in 1990.

see also berlin, congress and treaty of; denktash, rauf; grivas, georgios theodoros; millet system; tanzimat.


Attalides, Michael A. Cyprus, Nationalism and International Politics. New York: St. Martin's, 1979.

Ioannides, Christos P., ed. Cyprus: Domestic Dynamics, External Constraints. New Rochelle, NY: Melissa Media, 1992.

Necatigil, Zaim M. The Cyprus Question and the Turkish Position in International Law, 2d edition. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Alexander Kitroeff

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Cyprus
Region (Map name): Middle East
Population: 762,887
Language(s): Greek, Turkish, English
Literacy rate: 94.0%
Area: 9,240 sq km
Number of Daily Newspapers: 8
Total Circulation: 46,000
Circulation per 1,000: 94
Number of Nondaily
Newspapers: 10
Total Circulation: 43,000
Circulation per 1,000: 88
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 7.6 (Cypriot Pound millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 9.40
Number of Television Stations: 8
Number of Television Sets: 300,300
Television Sets per 1,000: 393.6
Number of Radio Stations: 90
Number of Radio Receivers: 366,450
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 480.3
Number of Individuals with Computers: 150,000
Computers per 1,000: 196.6
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 120,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 157.3

Background & General Characteristics

The dual media systems on the island of Cyprus, situated south of Turkey, reflect the contentious ethnic divisions between its Greek and Turk constituencies. The press situation is active and politically driven, in a nation with a high rate of literacy. Political divisiveness fosters an immediate, practical interest in competing ideologies and in organs reflecting those views. Much press activity is colored by the political agendas of the sponsors. By mid-2002, no political settlement to effect national unity had been reached.

The independent Republic of Cyprus (Dimokratia Kyprou Greek; Kibris Cumhuriyeti Turkish) was established in 1960 and joined the Commonwealth in 1961. Effective partition came in 1974, when a Greek-led initiative triggered intervention by Turkey. By 1983, the independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Kuzey Kibris Tÿrk Cumhuriyeti, TRNC) was established. Though formal recognition has come only from Turkey, the United Nations and the United States have acknowledged official spokesmen of the Turkish Cypriots.

Since 1974, the Greek majority has controlled the southern sector, with more than half the land mass, and over three-quarters of the population, and a preponderance of the wealth. Some 200,000 Greek Cypriots found refuge in the south after 1974, evacuating their former homes in the north. The Turkish minority commands the rest of the island. The centrally located capital, Nicosia (renamed Lefkosia by Greeks in 1995), sits astride the east-west dividing line, and in 1996 had a population of some 211,000 Greeks and 40,000 Turks in its two respective sectors.

Greek-dominated cities in southern Cyprus include Limassol (population in 2000: 162,000), Larnaca (73,000), and Paphos (39,000). The major urban center in the northern sector, aside from the Turkish part of Nicosia, is Gazi Magusa (Famagusta), population 27,742. For the year 2000, UN population estimates were 793,000 for the Republic of Cyprus and 177,120 for the TRNC. In the late 1990s, nearly seventy percent of Cypriots were urban. Greek and Turkish are official languages in the south, while Turkish predominates in the north. English is widely spoken everywhere. Compulsory education and suffrage are the pattern in Cyprus. The proliferation of politically focused print media in both sectors reflects this, as does an adult literacy rate of about ninety-five percent (in 2000).

Greek Sector Press and News Agencies

Figures for 1994 show eight daily newspapers published in Nicosia in Greek (English translations of titles and circulation figures listed as daily averages are to be found in parentheses): Phileleftheros (Liberal; 21,886), an independent paper; Apogevmatini (Afternoon; 7,291), independent;Simerini (Today; 7,290), right-wing; Haravghi (Dawn; 6,927), the organ of the (Communist) Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL); Alitha (Truth; 4897), right-wing; Agon (Struggle; 4,069), right-wing; Elef therotypia (Free Press), moderate; and Machi (Battle), right-wing. In 1996, nine daily newspapers had a total circulation of 84,000, and 31 other papers had a combined circulation of 185,000, indicating a very high readership rate per capita. News agencies with offices in Nicosia include numerous foreign bureaus and the Greek-sector Cyprus News Agency (Kypriakon Praktoreion EidiseonKPE).

Turkish Sector Press and News Agencies

The 1985 constitution of the TRNC guaranteed freedom of the press, with exceptions intended to guard public order, national security, public morals, and the workings of the courts. As of the early 1990s, the following daily Turkish newspapers were published in Nicosia: Kalkin Sesi (Voice of the People); Birlik (Unity), a right-wing publication of the National Unity Party (UBP); Avrupa (Europe), an independent organ; Yeni Demokrat (New Democrat), an organ of the Democratic Party (DP), with a conciliatory stance; Yeni Dÿzen (New Order), an organ of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which is Marxist; Ortam (Situation), an organ of the Communal Liberation (Socialist Salvation) Party (TKP), a leftist group; and Yeni Çag (New Era), an organ of the New Cyprus Party (YKP). Kibris (Cyprus, previously the weekly Special News Bulletin) had by the 1990s become the official monthly publication, circulating 4,500 copies in early 1998. Additionally, a number of mainland Turkish papers have circulated in the northern sector, principally Sabah (Morning), Milliyet (Nationality); Hÿrriyet (Liberty) and Yeni Yÿzyil (New Century). The news agencies in the Turkish sector are Turkish News Cyprus (Tÿrk Ajansi KibrisTAK) and the Northern Cyprus News Agency (Kuzey Kibris Haber Ajansi).

Broadcast Media

Greek Sector Broadcast Media

Before the 1974 division, the quasi-governmental Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (Radiofonikon Idryma KyprouRIK) and the state-owned Radyo Bayrak and Radyo Bayrak Televizyon controlled national broadcasting. A law of June 1990 allowed commercial radio and TV to operate. In 1995, there were four TV stations (with 225 low-power repeaters). Into the late 1990s and the new millennium, RIK provided radio service in the Greek sector, with three additional island-wide stations and twenty-four other local stations. Broadcasts are mainly in Greek but also in Turkish, English, and Armenian. RIK has also provided television service from a transmitting station at Mount Olympus. In the late 1990s, the Greek channel ET-1 was being rebroadcast on Cyprus, with the BBC East Mediterranean Relay and the British Forces Broadcasting Service, Cyprus, also providing radio service. In 1998, Greek Cypriots had one short-wave, seven AM, and 60 FM radio stations. In 1997, they owned about 310,000 radios and 248,000 television sets. Broadcasts in one sector are usually accessible in the other.

Turkish Sector Broadcast Media

Legislation passed in June 1990 permits the operation of commercial radio and TV stations. In the 1990s, Radyo Bayrak (RB) and Radyo Bayrak Televizyon (RBT) provided radio and TV service to the Turkish sector, where residents owned about 268,000 radios and 82,000 TV sets in 1994. Two independent radio stations, First FM and Kibris FM, were broadcasting, as were two private television channels, one private pay-per-view TV channel, two foreign broadcasting stations, and numerous local radio stations. In 1995, four TV stations (with five repeaters) operated. In 1998, one short-wave, three AM, and eleven FM radio stations were on the air in the Turkish sector.

Electronic News Media

Figures for the year 2000 showed six Internet providers and about 80,000 Internet users on the island. In August 2002, the Cyprus News Agency maintained a web page that was available in Greek at, and program summaries in English of some broadcasts of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation were available on the Internet at Additionally, The Cyprus Weekly, The Cyprus Mail, and The Cyprus Communications Centre (a daily Internet newspaper in Turkish) all had web sites. Live radio broadcasts from Cyprus were available (for a fee) at, and a complete listing of Greek radio stations was available at

Significant Dates

  • 1985: Constitutional freedom of the press (with specified restrictions) is guaranteed in the Turkish sector.
  • 1990: A law allows commericial radio and TV in the Greek sector.


Banks, Arthur S. and Thomas C. Mueller, eds. Political Handbook of the World. Birminghamton, NY: CSA Publications, 1999.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). CIA World Fact-book 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 9 May 2002. Available from

Turner, Barry, ed. The Statesman's Yearbook: The Politics, Cultures, and Economies of the World. 136th edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York: World Almanac Books, 2002.

Roy Neil Graves

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Official name: Republic of Cyprus

Area: 9,250 square kilometers (3,571 square miles)

Highest point on mainland : Mount Olympus (1,951 meters/6,401 feet)

Lowest point on land : Sea level

Hemispheres : Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 2 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 227 kilometers (141 miles) from east-northeast to west-southwest; 97 kilometers (60 miles) from south-southeast to north-northwest

Land boundaries : None

Coastline: 648 kilometers (403 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)


The largest Mediterranean island after Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus is located in the extreme northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It is 71 kilometers (44 miles) south of Turkey, 105 kilometers (65 miles) west of Syria, and 370 kilometers (230 miles) north of Egypt. Its average width is between 56 kilometers and 72 kilometers (35 miles and 45 miles). The long, narrow Karpas peninsula in the east, combined with the broader shape of the rest of the island, has led people to compare the island's shape to that of a skillet or frying pan.


Cyprus claims no territories or dependencies.


The climate is Mediterranean, with sharply defined seasons. There are hot, dry summers between June and September; rainy winters from November to March; and short, changeable spring and autumn seasons in between. Annual rainfall averages around 50 centimeters (20 inches). Precipitation is highest in the area of Nicosia and lowest on Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains.

Season Months Average temperature: °Celsius (°Fahrenheit
Summer June to September 21°C (70°F) to 37°C (98°F)
Winter November to March 5°C (41°F) to 15°C (59°F)


Two mountain ranges and the central plain between them, called the Mesaoria, dominate the topography of Cyprus. The Troodos Mountains cover most of the southern and western parts of the country, accounting for roughly half its total areaincluding the southwestern Nicosia District, all of the Paphos and Limassol districts except their coastal plains, and the western Larnaca District. The narrow Kyrenia Range, extending along the northern coastline, occupies a far smaller area, with lower elevations.

Since 1974, Cyprus has been divided into autonomous northern and southern sectors, separated by what is known as the Green Line. The Turkish sector north of the line, whose self-proclaimed government is recognized only by Turkey, comprises 37 percent of the island. The Greek sector, whose government is recognized internationally, takes up 59 percent. The remainder belongs to a buffer zone controlled by the United Nations.


Cyprus is located at the far northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

Cyprus has no notable coastal or undersea features.

Sea Inlets and Straits

Cyprus has a number of bays, including Famagusta Bay and Larnaca Bay in the east, the Akrotiri and Episkopi bays to the south, and the Khrysokhou and Morphou bays to the northwest.

Islands and Archipelagos

At the northeasternmost tip of Cyprus are the small islands of Cape Andreas known as the Klidhes.

Coastal Features

Cyprus's coastline is rocky and heavily indented, with a number of bays and capes. Capes include Apostolos Andreas to the northeast, Elea and Greco to the east (enclosing Famagusta Bay), Gata to the south, Lara to the west, and Arnauti and Kormakiti to the northwest. The coast is fringed with sandy beaches.


Cyprus has few permanent lakes. Two large saltwater lagoons near Larnaca and Limassol on the southern coast dry up every summer and are filled by the winter rains.


A network of rivers flows in all directions down the Troodos Mountains. Even the largest of these, the Pedieos, is a winter river that becomes a dry course in the summer. So do Cyprus's other major rivers, including the Kouris, the Serakhis, and the Yialias, which, like the Pedieos, flows eastward to Famagusta Bay.


There are no desert areas on Cyprus.


The name of the Mesaoria Plain, which means "Between the Mountains," describes its location between the island's northern and southern mountain ranges. It stretches from Morphou Bay in the west to Famagusta Bay in the east. This flat, low expanse is the country's agricultural heartland and home to the capital city of Nicosia. Coastal lowlands, varying in width, surround the island.


The jagged slopes of the narrow Kyrenia Range stretch along the country's northern border for some 161 kilometers (100 miles), giving way to foothills as they extend into the Karpas Peninsula in the east. This mountain range is also known as the Pentadaktylos range, because its most famous peak has a five-fingered shape. Its highest peaks, including St. Hilarion and Buffavento, are barely half as high as Mount Olympus, the country's highest point, located in the Troodos mountains to the south. The rugged Troodos mountain range is the single most conspicuous feature of Cyprus's landscape. Secondary ranges and spurs veer off at many angles. Mount Olympus is centrally located in the heart of these mountains, which extend across the southwestern portion of Cyprus from the Akamas Peninsula at the island's northwestern tip. To the southwest, the mountains descend in a series of stepped foothills to the coastal plain.


There are no notable caves or canyons in Cyprus.


There are no notable plateaus in Cyprus.


There are no man-made features affecting the geography of Cyprus.


Cyprus has been an independent nation only since 1960 when it gained its independence from the British Crown. It is the youngest state in the Mediterranean region.



Bulmer, Robert. Essential Cyprus. Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1998.

Hellander, Paul D. Cyprus. London: Lonely Planet, 2000.

Thubron, Colin. Journey into Cyprus. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990.

Web Sites

Kypros-Net Home Page. Cyprus/root.html (accessed March 10, 2003).

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus home page. (accessed June 26, 2003).

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9250 sq km (3571 sq mi)



capital (population):

Nicosia (195,300)


Multiparty republic

ethnic groups:

Greek Cypriot 81%, Turkish Cypriot 19%


Greek and Turkish (both official)


Christianity (Greek Orthodox), Islam


Cyprus pound = 100 cents

Island republic in the ne Mediterranean Sea; the capital is Nicosia.

Land and climate

Cyprus has scenic mountain ranges, the Kyrenia and the Troodos, the latter rising to 1951m (6401ft) at Mount Olympus. The island contains fertile lowlands, used extensively for agriculture. It has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Pine forests grow on the mountain slopes.

History and Politics

Greeks settled on Cyprus c.3200 years ago. From ad 330, the island was part of the Byzantine Empire. In the 1570s, it became part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish rule continued until 1878, when Turkey leased Cyprus to Britain. In 1925, Britain proclaimed it a colony. In the 1950s, Greek Cypriots, who made up 80% of the population, began a campaign for enosis (union) with Greece. Their leader was the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios. A guerrilla force (EOKA) attacked the British, who exiled Makarios. In 1960, Cyprus became an independent country with Makarios as president. The constitution provided for power-sharing between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The arrangement proved unworkable, and fighting broke out between the two communities. In 1964, the UN sent in a peacekeeping force. In 1974, Greek-led Cypriot forces overthrew Makarios. This led Turkey to invade n Cyprus, occupying c.40% of the island. Many Greek Cypriots fled from the Turkish-occupied area, which Turkey proclaimed to be a self-governing region in 1979. In 1983, Turkish Cypriots declared the n the independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; the only country to recognize this status is Turkey. The UN regards Cyprus as a single nation under the Greek Cypriot government in the s. It is estimated that more than 30,000 Turkish troops are deployed in n Cyprus. Despite UN-brokered peace negotiations (1997), there are frequent border clashes between the two communities. In 1998, Cyprus began accession talks with the European Union.


Cyprus got its name from kypros (Gk. copper), but little copper remains; the chief minerals today are asbestos and chromium. Industry employs 37% of the workforce; manufactures include cement, footwear, tiles, and wine. Crops include barley, citrus fruits, grapes, olives, potatoes, and wheat. The most valuable industry is tourism. The economy of the Turkish North (1999 GDP per capita, US$5300) lags behind the Greek South (2000 GDP per capita, US$16,000).

Political map

Physical map

Websites; http://org/PIO/cyprus/index.htm;

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Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean with Turkey and Syria its nearest neighbours. The major agricultural area, the Mesaörian plain, separates the Kyrenia range in the north and the Troodos mountains in the south. The economy of the island is based upon agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. From ad 647, following occupation by both Roman and Byzantine empires, Cyprus was Arab for 500 years, then an independent Frankish kingdom for about 300 years, before falling briefly into Egyptian hands until 1489, when it was occupied by the Venetians. In 1571 it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. In 1878 administration of the island was taken over by Britain as a forward naval base to support Turkey against Russia, but on the outbreak of war with Turkey in 1914 it was annexed. Pressure for independence or union with Greece (‘Enosis’) developed after the Second World War and in the 1950s EOKA began a guerrilla campaign. Independence was declared in 1960 with Greek Cypriot Archbishop Makarios as president and a Turkish Cypriot, Dr Küçük, as his deputy. Immediate difficulties arose between Greeks and Turks and a UN peace-keeping force arrived in 1964. In 1974 an EOKA coup to replace Makarios prompted a Turkish invasion and the occupation of northern Cyprus. Despite occasional negotiations, the two communities remain implacably apart.

June Cochrane

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Culture Name


Alternative Names

Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot


Identification. Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean that was divided into a Greek southern side and a Turkish northern side after a coup instigated by the dictatorship ruling Greece in 1974 and a subsequent Turkish military offensive. Interethnic violence had earlier caused the partial separation of the two communities. With a Greek majority of around 77 percent of the population at the time of independence in 1960, many people regard Cyprus as part of the wider Greek culture. Although the island became part of the Byzantine Empire in the fourth century, it was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1571 to 1878 and had an 18.3 percent Turkish minority in 1960. Greek Cypriots are Christian Orthodox, while Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslim.

Location and Geography. The island is close to Turkey, Syria, and Egypt. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots prefer to think of themselves as living close to Europe rather than Africa and the Middle East. The island appears barren and yellow in the long summertime and greener in the winter, with carob and olive trees along with pine forests on the mountains. The centrally located capital, Nicosia (called Lefkosia by Greek Cypriots and Lefkosha by Turkish Cypriots), is divided and functions as the capital of each side.

Demography. In 1960, the island emerged as an independent state after almost a century of British colonial rule. At that time, the demographics were as follows: Greek Cypriots, 77 percent (441,656); Turkish Cypriots, 18.3 percent (104,942); ArmeniansGregorians, 0.6 percent (3,378); and Roman Catholics and Maronites, 0.5 percent (2,752); with a total population of 573,566. Since the 1974 division, the population statistics have been disputed. Many Turkish Cypriots left because of declining economic conditions on their side of the island, while many Turkish settlers moved in because they viewed northern Cyprus as being better off than Turkey. Greek Cypriot official sources provided the following breakdown for the island as a whole in 1977: 735,900 total, of whom 623,200 are Greek (84.7 percent), 90,600 are Turkish (12.3 percent), and 22,100 (3 percent) are foreigners. Those sources claim that there are now 85,000 Turkish settlers on the Turkish Cypriot side and that around 45,000 Turkish Cypriots have emigrated.

Linguistic Affiliation. Greek Cypriots are taught at schools and employ in writing and orally, on formal and public occasions, standard modern Greek (SMG), while Turkish Cypriots employ standard modern Turkish (SMT). For informal oral exchanges, each community employs what could be called the Cypriot dialect. Cyprus has a high degree of literacy, and much of the population can communicate in English, especially the younger generation.

Until the 1970s, Turkish Cypriots could communicate adequately in Greek and a significant number of elderly Greek Cypriots could understand some Turkish. However, political conflict gradually led to increasing linguistic barriers. As animosity increased, the act of speaking the enemy's language was considered unpatriotic. Now, after twenty-six years of complete separation, very few Greek Cypriots can understand Turkish and no young Turkish Cypriots speak or understand Greek.

For informal oral exchanges, each community employs a different idiom, known within each side as "the Cyprus dialect." Those dialects are sometimes regarded as intimate, local, and authentic idioms visavis the two standard varieties, while in other contexts they may be seen as low, vulgar, or peasant idioms.

Symbolism. When Cyprus emerged as a state in 1960, it acquired a flag but not a national anthem. The flag shows a map of the island in orange yellow against a white background, symbolizing the color of copper, for which the island was renowned in ancient times. Under this lies a wreath of olive leaves. The symbolism of the flag thus draws on nature rather than culture or religion. The official symbol of the 1960 state, the Republic of Cyprus, is a dove flying with an olive branch in its beak in a shield inscribed with the date 1960, all within a wreath of olive leaves, symbolizing the desire for peace. Until 1963, when interethnic conflict broke out, a neutral piece of music was played on official state occasions; after 1963, the two communities fully adopted the national anthems of Greece and Turkey.

The flag of the Republic of Cyprus was rarely used before 1974. Greek Cypriots, who after 1960 were striving for union with Greece (enosis ), used the Greek flag, while Turkish Cypriots hoping for the division of the island (taksim ) used the flag of Turkey. The flag of the republic was used more commonly after the 1974 separation of the island, but only by Greek Cypriots. It was employed as a state symbol of the Republic of Cyprus, which in practice meant the Greek side. Turkish Cypriots declared their own state in 1983 under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which has been recognized only by Turkey. In striving to prevent international political recognition of the Turkish Cypriot polity, Greek Cypriots started to employ the official flag of the republic. In practice, however, Greek Cypriots often fly both the Greek flag and that of the republic, while Turkish Cypriots fly both their own flag and that of Turkey.

The largest left-wing parties on both sides, which are antinationalist and progressive, often jointly support the "Cypriot identity thesis," in which people are considered first and foremost Cypriots. The largest rightwing Greek and Turkish parties, which are nationalist and conservative, emphasize ethnic and cultural affiliations with the two other states.

The national days of Greece and Turkey are commemorated, along with dates from the history of Cyprus. Such commemorations often stir feelings of animosity. The most important commemorations for Greek Cypriots are the start of the anticolonial struggle (1 April 1955), the independence of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 (1 October), and the two days of mourning for the events of July 1974: the Greek attempted coup of 15 July 1974, and the subsequent Turkish military offensive on 20 July 1974, known among Greek Cypriots as the "Anniversaries of the Treacherous Coup and the Barbaric Turkish Invasion." Turkish Cypriots commemorate the establishment of the Turkish Cypriot nationalist resistance organization in 1958 (1 August 1958). During December, a week is devoted to the period spanning 1963 to 1967, mourning those who died in the interethnic fighting that erupted around Christmas 1963. This is called the "Week of Remembrance of the Martyrs and the Struggle." The Turkish armed offensive of 20 July 1974 is celebrated as the anniversary of the "Happy Peace Operation." Turkish Cypriots also commemorate 15 November 1983 as "Independence Day," when they declared themselves as a state.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. The processes of nation building, which transformed Christian and Muslim peasants in Cyprus from colonial subjects to Greeks and Turks, followed those of nation building in Greece and Turkey. Only in the twentieth century was there a widespread emergence of Greek and Turkish national consciousness in Cyprus. During the colonial period, both communities employed teachers from the two states, or their own teachers were educated in Greece or Turkey. Both actively encouraged those states to support them, as Greek Cypriots were striving for enosis and Turkish Cypriots initially wanted the island to remain under British rule or be returned to Turkey. As both groups identified with their mainland "brothers," their respective cultures were transformed in ways that drew them apart from each other. This process began with the identification of each group with the history of the "motherland" rather than the history of Cyprus per se.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the peasants of Cyprus shared a number of cultural traits, but as ethnic boundaries became stronger, those syncretic cultural traits gradually disappeared. Muslims might visit Christian churches to pray and offer votive offerings to Christian saints. There were people who came to be known as CottonLinens (Linopambakoi ), who practiced both religions at the same time. Even more widespread commonalities existed with regard to folk religion and medicine. People would visit a local healer or spiritual leader of either creed to solve all daily problems, be cured of illnesses, and avoid becoming bewitched. Those common elements gradually were abolished as Orthodox Christianity and Sunni Islam became established. Similar processes took place with regards to language as the mostly oral mixed varieties were replaced by the written official national languages of Greece and Turkey.

Greek Cypriot folklorists attempted to legitimize the struggle for enosis by emphasizing links to contemporary or ancient Greeks, while Turkish Cypriot folklore studies emphasized the commonalties of Turkish Cypriots with the people of Turkey. These attempts at proving a group's purity and authenticity often were accompanied by attempts to prove the impurity and mixed culture (and blood) of the other community in order to deny those people an identity and even existence as political actors who could voice demands. Those conflicts were exacerbated by British colonialism, which tried to disprove the presence of Greeks and Turks in Cyprus in order to counter their anticolonial political strivings, advocating instead the existence of a Cypriot nation with a slave mentality that required benevolent British guidance.

National Identity. In 1960, the new state was composed of people who considered themselves Greeks and Turks rather than Cypriots; these people did not support the state. Interethnic conflict erupted in 1963 and continued until 1967, when Turkish Cypriots found themselves on the losing side. When an extreme rightwing military junta emerged in Greece in 1967, its policies in Cyprus led to resentment and made Greek Cypriots wary of joining Greece. As interethnic strife begun to abate, Greek Cypriots tried to reverse the separatist situation. Turkish Cypriots had moved into enclaves under their own administration, and Greek Cypriots tried to reintegrate them in social and political life. In the late 1960s, the two sides negotiated their differences in a relatively peaceful environment. Turkish Cypriots emerged from their enclaves and began, at least in economic terms, to reintegrate with Greek Cypriots. During this period, some Greek Cypriots started to regard themselves as Cypriots, in control of an independent state whose sovereignty they tried to safeguard both from Greek interference and from the threat posed by Turkish enclaves. A group of rightwing Greek Cypriots, with the encouragement of the junta and against the wishes of the vast majority of Greek Cypriots, launched a coup in 1974. The aim was to depose Archbishop Makarios, the president of the republic, and join Greece. Turkey reacted with a military offensive that caused enormous suffering among Greek Cypriots, 170,000 of whom were displaced from the 37 percent of the island that came under the control of Turkey. Population exchanges led to the creation of two ethnically homogeneous sides, although negotiations for a solution still take place.

Ethnic Relations. Greek Cypriots who want a unified state claim that people peacefully coexisted in mixed communities in the past. Turkish Cypriots argue that the two groups always lived in partial separation and conflict.

After 1974, reunification emerged as the major Greek Cypriot political objective. This change in political aspirations led to major revisions. First, the "peaceful coexistence thesis" was established as a historical argument that proposed that if the past was characterized by coexistence, so would a united future. A policy of rapprochement toward Turkish Cypriots necessitated measures of goodwill toward Turkish Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots no longer were regarded as enemies but as compatriots, and all animosity was directed toward Turkey. Gradually, the term "brother," once used only for Greeks (living in Greece) has begun to refer to Turkish Cypriots. Greek Cypriots officially started to talk of "one people" who should live in one state, while Turkish Cypriots officially spoke of "two peoples" or "two nations" which should live separately. However, Greek Cypriot society became more culturally integrated with Greece through education and the reception of Greek television channels. The Turkish Cypriot authorities actively encouraged even stronger measures of integration with Turkey, both economically and culturally.

The strongest proponents of a distinct Cypriot identity come from the largest leftwing party, AKEL. Supporters of that party were in the past victimized for being communist and treated as unpatriotic traitors by rightwingers speaking in the name of Greek nationalism. They had many contacts with Turkish Cypriots through leftwing organizations, such as joint trade unions.

On the Turkish Cypriot side, Turkey generally is considered as having liberated Turkish Cypriots, but after 1974 various groups came to identify themselves ethnically and culturally as Cypriots rather than Turks. Politically, these groups are more in favor of a unified state than are the right wing Turkish Cypriot parties. As a result of the enormous influx of Turkish people into the island, they feel threatened by cultural assimilation by Turkey. Turkish workers also provide an unwelcome source of cheap labor that competes with Turkish Cypriot workers and their trade unions. For this reason, they began to stress that jobs and resources should belong to the "Cypriots" rather than the outsiders (Turks). As a result of these developments, a new school of folklore studies emerged after 1974 on the Turkish Cypriot side that stresses cultural commonalties with Greek Cypriots. Turks are sometimes called karasakal ("black bearded") by Turkish Cypriots, a term with connotations of backwardness and religious fanaticism.

People on both sides are mostly secular, especially on the Turkish Cypriot side, since Turkish national identity emerged as a secular antireligious ideology. Greek nationalism eventually acquired strong religious overtones in the form of the HellenicChristians ideals, but the influence of religion is also on the decline on the Greek Cypriot side.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The most striking examples of monumental architecture during the British colonial period were schools built by Greek Cypriots emphasizing a Greek classical facade. After 1960 school buildings utilized a "modern" and functional style. The most imposing examples of contemporary monumental architecture are the glass and marble-covered bank buildings on the more affluent Greek Cypriot side. In terms of officially built monuments, which abound on both sides, the largest ones are those depicting living and deceased political leaders. On the Greek Cypriot side, an enormous statue of past-president Archbishop Makarios stands opposite another monument symbolizing the EOKA fight against anticolonialism (1955-1960), with freedom as a woman opening the prison door to emerging fighters and civilians. On the Turkish Cypriot side, the largest such monument lying outside Famagusta is dedicated to Ataturk (the founder of the state of Turkey), whose head appears on the top. Another, multisided, monument is outside Nicosia with the inscription "We Will Not Forget;" it features Denktash, the current Turkish Cypriot leader, and Kuchuk, a once prominent politician. Perhaps the most striking feature in the landscape of the whole island is the "stamping" of the mountain range in the Turkish Cypriot side with two enormous flags, those of Turkey and the TRNC, visible from miles away with an inscription by Ataturk: "How Happy to Say I am a Turk." This could be seen as an attempt by the internationally unrecognized Turkish Cypriot state to engrave its presence on the land and remind allGreek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, and foreign visitors alikethat it exists and is in control of the north side of the island.

From the middle of the twentieth century, the dominant trend was for people to move towards the urban centers and abandon the villages, a trend exacerbated by ethnic conflict. These demographic shifts took place as people searched for employment in government jobs, in the expanding industry, and later in the tourism sector. The social and political upheavals caused significant numbers of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to become, at one time or other, dislocated. This meant that town planning could never be seriously enforced, giving a rather cluttered character to urban space. The 'traditional' one room-type village house gradually disappeared as the emergence of a more individualized society necessitated separate rooms, at least for each adult. Related to this were changes in settlement patterns. While in the past relatives often formed neighborhoods, as land plots were divided and subdivided among children, the emergence of the nuclear family gradually changed this pattern. Overall, despite rapid industrialization and other changes of a capitalist nature, once couples are married, they build on the assumption of marital, occupational and geographical stability. This entails the construction of often large and expensive houses, which may place the couple in debt for ten to twenty years.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Fresh salad and plain yogurt accompany most meals, which usually consist of vegetables cooked in various ways and includes what is known by both communities as yahni (with olive oil, tomatoes and onions). When people eat out they often order meze, a large collection of small dishes starting with various dips and salads and ending with grilled meat or fish.

Basic Economy. Both sides in Cyprus are fairly self-sufficient in terms of food production and both export a variety of fruit and vegetables. The agrarian sector of the economy is gradually diminishing as the service sector assumes prominence.

Major Industries. On the Greek Cypriot side, beyond a significant sector of light industry, the tourism and services sectors have been growing very rapidly. Cyprus has become a fairly typical Mediterranean tourist resort, attracting millions of tourists annually, mainly from northern Europe. Its position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa has led to a significant expansion of the service sector (which has lately been reaching markets such as the ex-Soviet Union and Eastern Europe). Various incentives have made it very popular as a site for offshore trading, shipping, and other offshore activities. The even more turbulent political climate in some of the nearby Middle Eastern countries (such as Lebanon) has led to various companies choosing Cyprus as a base for their activities in the area.

On the Turkish Cypriot side, agrarian production is much more significant, as it has been less able to develop tourism and industry. This is partly a result of a lack of funds for necessary investments and infrastructure improvements, but it is also an outcome of an international trade embargo that the Republic of Cyprus has been successful in levying against the Turkish Cypriot regime. This means, for example, that international air companies do not fly directly to northern Cyprus and that tourists wishing to travel there must work their way through Istanbul, raising expenses and travel time. For these reasons, there has been a steady migration of Turkish Cypriots abroad, to places such as Turkey and the United Kingdom, in search of employment. The unemployment problem in the north contrasts with the full-employment status of the south, one it has been enjoying continuously for more than 20 years, which leads to a net import of workers from abroad.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. On the Greek Cypriot side, one of the strongest social movements has been that represented by the communist party, AKEL. It has consistently commanded about a third of the total votes cast in elections during the post-independence period. Related and linked to this is the strong and effective presence of trade unions, which have successfully defended and promoted workers' rights. Highly organized and well represented, the working class movement has managed to claim significant benefits for its members and has kept up with the rise in living standards. This has, to a significant extent, reduced the possibility of wide-ranging class distinctions, giving rise to a large middle class with few instances of poverty and almost no evidence of destitution, such as homelessness. The full-employment status in Greek Cyprus has contributed to this state of affairs.

On the Turkish Cypriot side, the political left has also been a significant political force, commanding 25 to 30 percent of the vote. However, high unemployment and grave economic problems, along with an influx of destitute migrant workers from Turkey who are prepared to work for very low wages, have prevented Turkish workers from organizing and effectively protecting workers' rights. The prevalence of patronage and clientilism has meant that those close to right-wing parties, which have the most political power, are also favored economically, giving rise to more rigid wealth distinctions.

Political Life

Government. The Republic of Cyprus is a democracy with a presidential system of government. On some issues, notably defense and international politics it may act in cooperation or in consultation with Greece. The Turkish Cypriot regime is a parliamentary democracy with a marked political, military, and economic dependence on Turkey.

Leadership and Political Officials. In general the practice of patronage politics is widespread on both sides of Cyprus, more so on the Turkish side due to the much smaller size of the population, the poorer economic conditions, and the fact that political leader Rauf Denktash has remained in power for almost three decades. With the exception perhaps of the largest left-wing parties on both sides, other parties tend to be more person- than principle- or policy-focused.

Both sides have a similar political party structure in terms of left and right. The right-wing parties on each side (Democratic Rally on the Greek Cypriot side, National Unity Party and Democratic Party on the Turkish Cypriot side) tend to be nationalistic, with strong links to ex-freedomfighters' associations, encompassing a spectrum of supporters from the far right to more liberal elements, and persistently advocating links with the two "motherlands." The two left-wing parties (AKEL on the Greek Cypriot side and CTP on the Turkish Cypriot side) are composed mainly of communist supporters and have a strong antinationalist stance that advocates more links between the people of the two sides instead of with Greece and Turkey.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. On both sides, there is a strong, though contested and decreasing, element of patriarchy. Economic, social, and political power are concentrated in the hands of men, and only men can become religious functionaries, whether Christian or Muslim. Women are almost absent from political offices, although they are entering the workplace in increasing numbers. However, in general they are employed in jobs of lesser status and lower remuneration than men. The entry of women into the job force, while offering a financial base for more independence and security, often means that women undertake both the role of working outside the house while still retaining their responsibilities in the home, resulting in a double burden. A solution is often found, especially on the richer Greek Cypriot side, by importing female workers (notably from Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the Philippines) to take over the domestic responsibilities.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Whereas half a decade ago a significant proportion of marriages were arranged (often by the father), this has largely disappeared, although parents may still exert strong control and influence over marital choices. Most people consider getting married to be the normal course of action, so the vast majority do in fact marry; those who don't are often viewed as being either eccentric or unlucky, or both. Whereas previously the provision of a dowry, mostly for women, was considered mandatory, parents still feel they should provide as much economic support as possible for their children when they marry. Ideally, the parents hope to provide the newlywed couple with a fully furnished house and other basic needs, such as one or two cars.

Domestic Unit. The typical family arrangement on both sides is the nuclear family, often with fairly strong ties towards a more extended family, especially the parents. Most couples hope to have two children, preferably one of each sex. The more traditional division between the public domain (work, etc.), which is overseen by the male, and the private domain (the home), which is overseen by the female, is still strong, despite women's entry into the labor market. Since people usually move into city apartments or build their own home, relatives do not live in as close proximity as in the past, when they lived in clusters of houses in the same town or village.


Infant Care. Children are considered to be important, whether they are toddlers or as teenagers. As babies they are usually the woman's responsibility, and the social environment on both sides is very accepting of children in public spaces, such as restaurants. Parents put significant energy into providing a rich and stimulating environment for their children.

Child Rearing and Education. Parents take their children's education very seriously, carefully considering which school the children should attend and becoming actively involved in the whole schooling process. Providing a good education is considered as one of the most important parental responsibilities and is very highly valued in general. A child is viewed as being economically dependent on parents, with parents responsible for shouldering a child's expenses at least until the child graduates from university, if not up until marriage itself.

Higher Education. Most parents strive to provide a university education for their children, and the percentage of people with university degrees is very high by any standard. To achieve this goal, parents start to save early in order to cover the large expenses (since until a few years ago there were no universities in Cyprus), or they ask for a bank loan or sell property, as they feel it is their responsibility to pay their children's expenses until they graduate from university.


Cyprus as a whole could be characterized as a rather informal place. People easily and casually enter into physical contact and in general, personal space is not rigidly marked. There are more formal and polite forms of address that are employed in particular circumstances (such as toward elders, or in a professional situation, for example), but the absence of entrenched historical hierarchies and strong class distinctions allows daily exchanges to proceed in a mostly casual fashion. Because both societies are small, individuals usually know many of the people with whom they come into contact, thus decreasing the need for formalities. Visitors from larger Western countries often remark that Cyprus seems to be a place where "everyone knows each other," or even "where everyone is related to each other."


Religious Beliefs. The vast majority of Greek Cypriots are Greek Orthodox, while most Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslim.

Secular Celebrations

Secular celebrations are mostly national commemorations of historical events, including those of Cyprus itself and those from Greece (for the Greek Cypriots) or Turkey (for the Turkish Cypriots).

The main secular celebrations of Greek Cypriots include the following: 25 March: Greek National Day (commemorating the 1821 start of the struggle for independence from the Ottomans in Greece); 1 April: Anniversary of EOKA (commemorating the 1955 start of the Greek Cypriot anti-colonial struggle by the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters [EOKA]); 1 October: Independence Day (commemorating the 1960 creation of the Republic of Cyprus); 28 October: OHI (NO) Day (commemorating the 1940 refusal of Greece to surrender to Germany leading to the involvement of Greece in the World War II).

The main secular celebrations of Turkish Cypriots are: 19 May: Youth and Sports Day; 20 July: Peace and Freedom Day (commemorating the Turkish military intervention in Cyprus starting on 20 July 1974); 1 August: Communal Resistance Day (commemorating the 1958 founding of the Turkish Resistance Organization [TMT], also commemorating the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus and Day of Armed Forces); 30 August: Victory Day (anniversary of the victory of Turkish army in 1922 against the Greeks leading to the emergence of an independent Turkish state); 29 October: Turkish National Day (commemorating the creation of the state of Turkey in 1923); 15 November: Independence Day (unilateral declaration of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as an independent state in 1983).

State of Physical and Social Sciences

The 1980s were a period of rapid growth in the local provision of college and university education on both sides. Many state and private universities or colleges were created during that time period in order to cater to the already present and rapidly rising demand for university-level education. The new universities have also been successful in attracting students from other countries, notably the ex-Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. These institutions have provided a significant increase in the amount of research conducted in the social and physical sciences, which was previously almost nonexistent. Due to the colonial presence and subsequent political problems, research in Cyprus used to be mainly focused on disciplines such as history, folklore, and politics, which both sides could use to support and legitimize their political goals.


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Yiannis Papadakis

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CYPRUS. An island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, and member of the COMMONWEALTH. Languages: GREEK, Turkish (both official), and English widely used. From the 16c, Cyprus was part of the Turkish Empire, was ceded to Britain in 1878, and became independent in 1960. The UK retains sovereignty over the military bases of Akrotiri, Dhekalia, and Episkopi. Since 1974, the republic has been divided into Greek and Turkish areas that have little direct contact with each other. Cyprus became a member of the EUROPEAN UNION in 2004.

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Cyprus is presently divided in two, with ethnic Greeks living on one side of the island and ethnic Turks on the other. However, the Greek Cypriots outnumber the Turks by more than four-to-one. The article in this chapter is about the ethnic Greeks living on Cyprus. For more information on the Turks, see the chapter on Turkey in Volume 9.

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CyprusArras, embarrass, harass •gynandrous, polyandrous •Pancras • charas • Tatras • disastrous •ferrous • leprous • ambidextrous •Carreras, mayoress •scabrous •cirrus, Pyrrhus •chivalrous •citrous, citrus •ludicrous • tenebrous •Cyrus, Epirus, papyrus, virus •fibrous • hydrous • Cyprus •retrovirus • monstrous •brachiosaurus, brontosaurus, canorous, chorus, Epidaurus, Horus, megalosaurus, pelorus, porous, sorus, stegosaurus, Taurus, thesaurus, torus, tyrannosaurus •walrus •ochrous (US ocherous) •cumbrous • wondrous • lustrous •Algeciras, Severus •desirous •Arcturus, Epicurus, Honduras •barbarous • tuberous • slumberous •Cerberus • rapturous •lecherous, treacherous •torturous • vulturous • Pandarus •slanderous • ponderous •malodorous, odorous •thunderous • murderous •carboniferous, coniferous, cruciferous, melliferous, odoriferous, pestiferous, somniferous, splendiferous, umbelliferous, vociferous •phosphorous, phosphorus •sulphurous (US sulfurous) •Anaxagoras, Pythagorasclangorous, languorous •rigorous, vigorous •dangerous • verdurous •cankerous, cantankerous, rancorous •decorous • Icarus • valorous •dolorous • idolatrous •amorous, clamorous, glamorous •timorous •humerus, humorous, numerous •murmurous • generous • sonorous •onerous • obstreperous • Hesperus •vaporous • viviparous • viperous •Bosporus, prosperous •stuporous • cancerous •Monoceros, rhinoceros •sorcerous • adventurous • Tartarus •nectarous • dexterous • traitorous •preposterous • slaughterous •boisterous, roisterous •uterus • adulterous • stertorous •cadaverous • feverous •carnivorous, herbivorous, insectivorous, omnivorous •Lazarus

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