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Introduction Cyprus
A former British colony, Cyprus received independence in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," but it is recognized only by Turkey. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered direct talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 referendum. Although only the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus joined the EU on 1 May 2004, every Cypriot carrying a Cyprus passport will have the status of a European citizen. EU laws, however, will not apply to north Cyprus. Nicosia continues to oppose EU efforts to establish direct trade and economic links to north Cyprus as a way of encouraging the Turkish Cypriot community to continue to support reunification.
Geography Cyprus
Middle East, island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
35 00 N, 33 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in north Cyprus)
water: 10 sq km
land: 9,240 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.6 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
NA; boundaries with Akrotiri and Dhekelia are being resurveyed
648 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters
central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Olympus 1,951 m
Natural resources:
copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
Land use:
arable land: 7.79%
permanent crops: 4.44%
other: 87.77% (2001)
Irrigated land:
382 sq km (2001 est.)
Natural hazards:
moderate earthquake activity; droughts
Environment - current issues:
water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island's largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note:
the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia)
People Cyprus
775,927 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.4% (male 84,850; female 81,235)
15-64 years: 67.4% (male 264,441; female 258,150)
65 years and over: 11.2% (male 38,058; female 49,193) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 34.4 years
male: 33.4 years
female: 35.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.55% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
12.66 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.63 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.36 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 9.19 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.46 years
male: 75.11 years
female: 79.92 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.85 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 1,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Cypriot(s)
adjective: Cypriot
Ethnic groups:
Greek 77%, Turkish 18%, other 5% (2001)
Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, Maronite, Armenian Apostolic, and other 4%
Greek, Turkish, English
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.6%
male: 98.9%
female: 96.3% (2003 est.)
Government Cyprus
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cyprus
conventional short form: Cyprus
note: the Turkish Cypriot community (north Cyprus) refers to itself as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC)
Government type:
note: a separation of the two ethnic communities inhabiting the island began following the outbreak of communal strife in 1963; this separation was further solidified after the Turkish intervention in July 1974 that followed a Greek junta-supported coup attempt gave the Turkish Cypriots de facto control in the north; Greek Cypriots control the only internationally recognized government; on 15 November 1983 Turkish Cypriot "President" Rauf DENKTASH declared independence and the formation of a "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey; both sides publicly support a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
Administrative divisions:
6 districts; Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos; note - Turkish Cypriot area's administrative divisions include Kyrenia, all but a small part of Famagusta, and small parts of Lefkosia (Nicosia) and Larnaca
16 August 1960 (from UK); note - Turkish Cypriots proclaimed self-rule on 13 February 1975 and independence in 1983, but these proclamations are only recognized by Turkey
National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 October (1960); note - Turkish Cypriots celebrates 15 November (1983) as Independence Day
16 August 1960; from December 1963, the Turkish Cypriots no longer participated in the government; negotiations to create the basis for a new or revised constitution to govern the island and to better relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been held intermittently since the mid-1960s; in 1975, following the 1974 Turkish intervention, Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus," which became the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" when the Turkish Cypriots declared their independence in 1983; a new constitution for the "TRNC" passed by referendum on 5 May 1985
Legal system:
based on common law, with civil law modifications
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Tassos PAPADOPOULOS (since 1 March 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; post of vice president is currently vacant; under the 1960 constitution, the post is reserved for a Turkish Cypriot
head of government: President Tassos PAPADOPOULOS (since 1 March 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; post of vice president is currently vacant; under the 1960 constitution, the post is reserved for a Turkish Cypriot
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed jointly by the president and vice president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 16 February 2003 (next to be held NA February 2008)
note: Rauf R. DENKTASH has been "president" of north Cyprus since 13 February 1975 ("president" elected by popular vote for a five-year term); elections last held 15 April 2000 (next to be held April 2005); results - Rauf R. DENKTASH reelected president after the other contender withdrew; Mehmet Ali TALAT, who had been "prime minister" of north Cyprus since mid-January 2004, currently serving in a caretaker capacity following the failure of the governing coalition to pass a budget; "parliamentary" elections are planned for 20 February 2005; there is a Council of Ministers (cabinet) in north Cyprus, appointed by the "prime minister"
election results: Tassos PAPADOPOULOS elected president; percent of vote - Tassos PAPADOPOULOS 51.5%, Glafkos KLIRIDIS 38.8%, Alekos MARKIDIS 6.6%
Legislative branch:
unicameral - Republic of Cyprus: House of Representatives or Vouli Antiprosopon (80 seats; 56 assigned to the Greek Cypriots, 24 to Turkish Cypriots; note - only those assigned to Greek Cypriots are filled; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); north Cyprus: Assembly of the Republic or Cumhuriyet Meclisi (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
election results: Republic of Cyprus: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - AKEL 34.71%, DISY 34%, DIKO 14.84%, KISOS 6.51%, others 9.94%; seats by party - AKEL (Communist) 20, DISY 19, DIKO 9, KISOS 4, others 4; north Cyprus: Assembly of the Republic - percent of vote by party - CTP 35.8%, UBP 32.3%, Peace and Democratic Movement 13.4%, DP 12.3%; seats by party - CTP 19, UBP 18, Peace and Democratic Movement 6, DP 7
elections: Republic of Cyprus: last held 27 May 2001 (next to be held May 2006); north Cyprus: last held 14 December 2003 (next to be held early 2005 because the government resigned)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed jointly by the president and vice president)
note: there is also a Supreme Court in north Cyprus
Political parties and leaders:
Republic of Cyprus: Democratic Party or DIKO [Tassos PAPADOPOULOS]; Democratic Rally or DISY [Nikos ANASTASIADHIS]; Fighting Democratic Movement or ADIK [Dinos MIKHAILIDIS]; Green Party of Cyprus [George PERDIKIS]; New Horizons [Nikolaus KOUTSOU]; Restorative Party of the Working People or AKEL (Communist Party) [Dimitrios CHRISTOFIAS]; Social Democrats Movement or KISOS (formerly United Democratic Union of Cyprus or EDEK) [Yiannakis OMIROU]; United Democrats Movement or EDE [George VASSILIOU]; north Cyprus: Democratic Party or DP [Serder DENKTASH]; National Birth Party or UDP [Enver EMIN]; National Unity Party or UBP [Dervis EROGLU]; Our Party or BP [Okyay SADIKOGLU]; Patriotic Unity Movement or YBH [Alpay DURDURAN]; Peace and Democratic Movement [Mustafa AKINCI]; Republican Turkish Party or CTP [Mehmet ALI TALAT]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Cypriot Workers or SEK (pro-West); Confederation of Revolutionary Labor Unions or Dev-Is; Federation of Turkish Cypriot Labor Unions or Turk-Sen; Pan-Cyprian Labor Federation or PEO (Communist controlled)
International organization participation:
Australia Group, C, CE, EBRD, EIB, EU (new member), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (observer affiliate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Euripides L. EVRIVIADES
chancery: 2211 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6710
note: representative of the Turkish Cypriot community in the US is Osman ERTUG; office at 1667 K Street NW, Washington, DC; telephone [1] (202) 887-6198
consulate(s): New York
consulate(s) general: New York
telephone: [1] (202) 462-5772
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael KLOSSON
embassy: corner of Metochiou and Ploutarchou Streets, Engomi, 2407 Nicosia
mailing address: P. O. Box 24536, 1385 Nikosia
telephone: [357] (22) 393939
FAX: [357] (22) 780944
Flag description:
white with a copper-colored silhouette of the island (the name Cyprus is derived from the Greek word for copper) above two green crossed olive branches in the center of the flag; the branches symbolize the hope for peace and reconciliation between the Greek and Turkish communities
note: the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" flag has a horizontal red stripe at the top and bottom between which is a red crescent and red star on a white field
Economy Cyprus
Economy - overview:
The Greek Cypriot economy is prosperous but highly susceptible to external shocks. Erratic growth rates over the past decade reflect the economy's vulnerability to swings in tourist arrivals, caused by political instability in the region and fluctuations in economic conditions in Western Europe. Economic policy is focused on meeting the criteria for admission to the EU. EU-driven tax reforms in 2003 have introduced fiscal imbalances, which, coupled with a sluggish tourism sector, have resulted in growing fiscal deficits. As in the Turkish sector, water shortages are a perennial problem; a few desalination plants are now on-line. After 10 years of drought, the country received substantial rainfall from 2001-03, alleviating immediate concerns. The Turkish Cypriot economy has roughly one-third of the per capita GDP of the south. Because it is recognized only by Turkey, it has had much difficulty arranging foreign financing and investment. It remains heavily dependent on agriculture and government service, which together employ about half of the work force. To compensate for the economy's weakness, Turkey provides grants and loans to support economic development. Ankara provided $200 million in 2002 and pledged $450 million for the 2003-05 period. Future events throughout the island will be highly influenced by the outcome of negotiations on the UN-sponsored agreement to unite the Greek and Turkish areas.
Republic of Cyprus: purchasing power parity - $14.82 billion (2003 est.); north Cyprus: purchasing power parity - $1.217 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Republic of Cyprus: 1.9% (2003 est.); north Cyprus: 2.6% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Republic of Cyprus: purchasing power parity - $19,200 (2003 est.); north Cyprus: purchasing power parity - $5,600 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Republic of Cyprus: agriculture 4.1%; industry 20.3%; services 75.6%
north Cyprus: agriculture 10.6%; industry 20.5%; services 68.9% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
19.9% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Republic of Cyprus: 4.1% (2003 est.); north Cyprus: 12.6% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
330,000 Republic of Cyprus: 306,000; north Cyprus: 95,025 (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
Republic of Cyprus: services 75.6%, industry 19.4%, agriculture 4.9% (2003); north Cyprus: services 68.9%, industry 20.5%, agriculture 10.6% (2003)
Unemployment rate:
Republic of Cyprus: 3.4%; north Cyprus: 5.6% (2003 est.)
revenues: Republic of Cyprus - $3.971 billion, north Cyprus - $231.3 million (2002 est.)
expenditures: $4.746 billion, Republic of Cyprus - $539 million, including capital expenditures of $539 million, north Cyprus - $432.8 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2003)
Public debt:
62.3% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products:
potatoes, citrus, vegetables, barley, grapes, olives, vegetables, poultry, pork, lamb, kids, dairy
food, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metal products, tourism, wood products
Industrial production growth rate:
Republic of Cyprus: -0.6% (2002); north Cyprus: -0.3% (2003)
Electricity - production:
3.401 billion kWh; north Cyprus: NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Republic of Cyprus: 3.163 billion kWh; north Cyprus: NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
49,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
$-545 million (2003)
Republic of Cyprus: $1.054 billion f.o.b. north Cyprus: $46 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Republic of Cyprus: citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, cement, clothing and cigarettes; north Cyprus: citrus, potatoes, textiles
Exports - partners:
UK 32.1%, Greece 9.2%, Lebanon 3.5% (2003)
Republic of Cyprus: $4.637 billion f.o.b.; north Cyprus: $301 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Republic of Cyprus: consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, intermediate goods, machinery, transport equipment; north Cyprus: food, minerals, chemicals, machinery
Imports - partners:
Greece 11.9%, Italy 9.8%, UK 8.3%, Germany 7.5%, Japan 5.6%, France 5.1%, China 4.9%, US 4.2%, Spain 4% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$3.453 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Republic of Cyprus: $8.85 billion; north Cyprus: NA (2003)
Economic aid - recipient:
Republic of Cyprus - $17 million (1998); north Cyprus - $700 million from Turkey in grants and loans (1990-97), which are usually forgiven (1998)
Republic of Cyprus: Cypriot pound (CYP); north Cyprus: Turkish lira (TRL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Cypriot pounds per US dollar - 0.5174 (2003), 0.6107 (2002), 0.6431 (2001), 0.6224 (2000), 0.5429 (1999), Turkish lira per US dollar 1.505 million (2003), 1.507 million (2002), 1,225,590 (2001), 625,218 (2000), 418,783 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Cyprus
Telephones - main lines in use:
Republic of Cyprus: 427,400 (2002); north Cyprus: 86,228 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Republic of Cyprus: 417,900 (2002); north Cyprus: 143,178 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent in both Republic of Cyprus and north Cyprus areas
domestic: open-wire, fiber-optic cable, and microwave radio relay
international: country code - 357; tropospheric scatter; 3 coaxial and 5 fiber-optic submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 2 Eutelsat, 2 Intersputnik, and 1 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations:
Republic of Cyprus: AM 7, FM 60, shortwave 1 (1998); north Cyprus: AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
Greek Cypriot area: 310,000 (1997); Turkish Cypriot area: 56,450 (1994)
Television broadcast stations:
Republic of Cyprus: 4 (plus 225 low-power repeaters) (September 1995);; north Cyprus: 4 (plus 5 repeaters) (September 1995)
Greek Cypriot area: 248,000 (1997); Turkish Cypriot area: 52,300 (1994)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
5,901 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2000)
Internet users:
210,000 (2002)
Transportation Cyprus
total: 13,491 km
note: Republic of Cyprus: 11,141 km; north Cyprus: 2,350 km
unpaved: Republic of Cyprus: 4,713 km; north Cyprus: 980 km (2000/1996)
paved: Republic of Cyprus: 6,428 km; north Cyprus: 1,370 km
Ports and harbors:
Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Vasilikos
Merchant marine:
total: 1,066 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 22,016,374 GRT/35,760,004 DWT
registered in other countries: 100 (2004 est.)
foreign-owned: Austria 11, Belgium 1, Bulgaria 1, Canada 6, China 13, Croatia 2, Cuba 8, Egypt 2, Estonia 2, Germany 210, Greece 499, Guam 1, Hong Kong 5, India 6, Iran 3, Ireland 1, Israel 3, Italy 2, Japan 20, South Korea 6, Latvia 11, Malta 1, Mexico 1, Monaco 3, Netherlands 18, Norway 7, Panama 1, Philippines 2, Poland 20, Portugal 2, Russia 51, Singapore 2, Slovenia 4, Spain 5, Sudan 2, Sweden 6, Switzerland 1, Ukraine 2, United Kingdom 16, United States 4, Vietnam 1
by type: bulk 403, cargo 276, chemical tanker 28, combination bulk 21, combination ore/oil 2, container 145, liquefied gas 1, multi-functional large load carrier 2, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 109, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 29, short-sea/passenger 5, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 3
17 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
914 to 1,523 m: 3
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)
10 (2003 est.)
Military Cyprus
Military branches:
Republic of Cyprus: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG; including air and naval elements), Greek Cypriot Police
north Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot Security Force (GKK)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 202,966 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 139,255 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 6,614 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$384 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.8% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Cyprus
Disputes - international:
hostilities in 1974 divided the island into two de facto autonomous areas, a Greek Cypriot area controlled by the internationally recognized Cypriot Government and a Turkish Cypriot area, separated by a UN buffer zone; March 2003 reunification talks failed, but Turkish Cypriots later opened their borders to temporary visits by Greek Cypriots
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 265,000 (both Turkish and Greek Cypriots; many displaced for over 30 years) (2004)
Illicit drugs:
minor transit point for heroin and hashish via air routes and container traffic to Europe, especially from Lebanon and Turkey; some cocaine transits as well; despite a strengthening of anti-money laundering legislation, remains highly vulnerable to money laundering; identification of benefiting owners and reporting of suspicious transactions by nonresident-controlled companies in offshore sector remains weak

This page was last updated on 10 February, 2005