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A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek Government-sponsored attempt to seize control of Cyprus was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," but it is recognized only by Turkey. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 referendum. The entire island entered the EU on 1 May 2004, although the EU acquis - the body of common rights and obligations - applies only to the areas under direct Republic of Cyprus control, and is suspended in the areas administered by Turkish Cypriots. At present, every Cypriot carrying a Cyprus passport has the status of a European citizen; however, EU laws do 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.


Middle East, island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey

Geographic coordinates:

35 00 N, 33 00 E


total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in north Cyprus)
land: 9,240 sq km
water: 10 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: NA; note - boundary with Dhekelia is being resurveyed
border countries: Akrotiri 47.4 km, Dhekelia NA


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: 10.81%
permanent crops: 4.32%
other: 84.87% (2005)

Irrigated land:

400 sq km (2003)

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

Geography - note:

the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia)


784,301 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 20.4% (male 81,776/female 78,272)
15-64 years: 68% (male 270,254/female 263,354)
65 years and over: 11.6% (male 39,536/female 51,109) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 34.9 years
male: 33.9 years
female: 35.9 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.53% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

12.56 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

7.68 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 7.04 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.82 years
male: 75.44 years
female: 80.31 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.82 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2003 est.)

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.)

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), which is recognized only by Turkey



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 celebrate 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 for better relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been held intermittently since the mid-1960s; in 1975, following the 1974 Turkish intervention, Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus," which became the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" 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; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations


18 years of age; universal

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)
elections: Republic of Cyprus: last held 27 May 2001 (next to be held 21 May 2006); north Cyprus: last held 14 December 2003 (next to be held in 2008)
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, other 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

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court (judges are appointed jointly by the president and vice president)
note: there is also a Supreme Court in north Cyprus

Economy - overview:

The Republic of Cyprus has a market economy dominated by the service sector, which accounts for 76% of GDP. Tourism and financial services are the most important sectors; erratic growth rates over the past decade reflect the economy's reliance on tourism, which often fluctuates with political instability in the region and economic conditions in Western Europe. Nevertheless, the economy grew a healthy 3.7% per year in 2004 and 2005, well above the EU average. Cyprus joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2) in May 2005. The government has initiated an aggressive austerity program, which has cut the budget deficit to below 3% but continued fiscal discipline is necessary if Cyprus is to meet its goal of adopting the euro on 1 January 2008. As in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, water shortages are a perennial problem; a few desalination plants are now on line. After 10 years of drought, the country received substantial rainfall from 2001-03 alleviating immediate concerns. The Turkish Cypriot economy has roughly one-third of the per capita GDP of the south, and economic growth tends to be volatile, given north Cyprus's relative isolation, bloated public sector, reliance on the Turkish lira, and small market size. The Turkish Cypriot economy grew 15.4% in 2004, fueled by growth in the construction and education sectors, as well as increased employment of Turkish Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots are heavily dependent on transfers from the Turkish Government. Under the 2003-06 economic protocol, Ankara plans to provide around $550 million to the "TRNC." Agriculture and services, together, employ more than half of the work force.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

Republic of Cyprus: $16.85 billion; north Cyprus: $4.54 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

Republic of Cyprus: $15.43 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

Republic of Cyprus: 3.7%; north Cyprus: 10.6% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

Republic of Cyprus: $21,600 (2005 est.); north Cyprus: $7,135 (2004 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

Republic of Cyprus: agriculture 3.8%; industry 20%; services 76.2% (2005 est.)
north Cyprus: agriculture 10.6%; industry 20.5%; services 68.9% (2003 est.)

Labor force:

Republic of Cyprus: 370,000, north Cyprus: 95,025 (2004 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

Republic of Cyprus: agriculture 7.4%, industry 38.2%, services 54.4% (2004 est.)
north Cyprus: agriculture 14.5%, industry 29%, services 56.5% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate:

Republic of Cyprus: 3.8% (2005 est.); north Cyprus: 5.6% (2004 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Republic of Cyprus: 2.5% (2005 est.); north Cyprus: 9.1% (2004 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

Republic of Cyprus: 18.9% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: Republic of Cyprus - $6.698 billion (2005 est.)
expenditures: Republic of Cyprus - $7.122 billion (2005 est.)
revenues: north Cyprus - $231.3 million (2003 est.)
expenditures: north Cyprus - $432.8 million (2003 est.)

Public debt:

Republic of Cyprus: 72% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

citrus, vegetables, barley, grapes, olives, vegetables; poultry, pork, lamb; dairy, cheese


tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum production, ship repair and refurbishment, textiles, light chemicals, metal products, wood, paper, stone, and clay products

Industrial production growth rate:

Republic of Cyprus: 3.7% (2005 est.); north Cyprus: -0.3% (2002 est.)

Electricity - production:

Republic of Cyprus: 3.801 billion kWh; north Cyprus: NA kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

Republic of Cyprus: 3.535 billion kWh (2004); north Cyprus: NA kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

Republic of Cyprus: 300 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

Republic of Cyprus: 52,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Current account balance:

Republic of Cyprus: -$849 million (2005 est.)


Republic of Cyprus: $1.237 billion f.o.b.; north Cyprus: $69 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

Republic of Cyprus: citrus, potatoes, pharmaceuticals, cement, clothing and cigarettes; north Cyprus: citrus, potatoes, textiles

Exports - partners:

UK 27.2%, Greece 11.9%, Germany 5%, UAE 4.8% (2004)


Republic of Cyprus: $5.552 billion f.o.b.;; north Cyprus: $415.2 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports - commodities:

Republic of Cyprus: consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, intermediate goods, machinery, transport equipment; north Cyprus: vehicles, fuel, cigarettes, food, minerals, chemicals, machinery

Imports - partners:

Greece 15.2%, Italy 10.5%, Germany 8.9%, UK 8.6%, France 6.3%, Japan 4.7%, Israel 4.4%, China 4% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

Republic of Cyprus: $3.989 billion; north Cyprus $NA (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

Republic of Cyprus: $7.803 billion; north Cyprus: $NA (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

Republic of Cyprus - $NA; north Cyprus - $700 million from Turkey in grants and loans, which are usually forgiven (2003-06)

Currency (code):

Republic of Cyprus: Cypriot pound (CYP); Turkish Cypriot area: Turkish New lira (YTL)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

Republic of Cyprus: 418,400 (2004); north Cyprus: 86,228 (2002)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

Republic of Cyprus: 640,500 (2004); 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 (area administered by Turkish Cypriots uses the country code of Turkey - 90); 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 5, FM 76, shortwave 0
north Cyprus: AM 1, FM 20, shortwave 1 (2004)

Television broadcast stations:

Republic of Cyprus: 8
north Cyprus: 2 (plus 4 relay) (2004)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

46,863 (2005)

Internet users:

298,000 (2005)


16 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2005)


10 (2005)


total: 14,110 km (Republic of Cyprus: 11,760 km; north Cyprus: 2,350 km)
paved: Republic of Cyprus: 7,403 km (including 268 km of expressways); north Cyprus: 1,370 km
unpaved: Republic of Cyprus: 4,357 km; north Cyprus: 980 km (2003/1996 est.)

Merchant marine:

total: 877 ships (1000 GRT or over) 18,837,402 GRT/30,197,663 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 358, cargo 212, chemical tanker 40, container 136, liquefied gas 5, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 19, petroleum tanker 66, refrigerated cargo 19, roll on/roll off 9, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 782 (Belgium 1, Canada 1, China 10, Croatia 2, Cuba 3, Egypt 1, Estonia 3, Germany 211, Greece 352, Greenland 1, Hong Kong 1, India 7, Iran 2, Israel 3, Japan 17, South Korea 1, Latvia 5, Netherlands 18, Norway 14, Philippines 2, Poland 19, Portugal 1, Russia 54, Singapore 2, Slovakia 1, Slovenia 4, Spain 5, Sweden 4, Switzerland 6, Syria 2, Ukraine 3, UAE 11, UK 8, US 6, Vietnam 1)
registered in other countries: 67 (The Bahamas 13, Belize 2, Cambodia 15, Georgia 1, Liberia 6, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 7, Norway 2, Panama 8, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Seychelles 1, Turkey 3) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol, Vasilikos

Military branches:

Republic of Cyprus: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG; includes air and naval elements); north Cyprus: Turkish Cypriot Security Force (GKK)

Disputes - international:

hostilities in 1974 divided the island into two de facto autonomous entities, the internationally recognized Cypriot Government and a Turkish-Cypriot community (north Cyprus); the 1,000-strong UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has served in Cyprus since 1964 and maintains the buffer zone between north and south; March 2003 reunification talks failed, but Turkish-Cypriots later opened their borders to temporary visits by Greek Cypriots; on 24 April 2004, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities voted in simultaneous and parallel referenda on whether to approve the UN-brokered Annan Plan that would have ended the 30-year division of the island by establishing a new "United Cyprus Republic," a majority of Greek Cypriots voted "no"; on 1 May 2004, Cyprus entered the European Union still divided, with the EU's body of legislation and standards (acquis communitaire) suspended in the north

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 265,000 (both Turkish and Greek Cypriots; many displaced for over 30 years) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

minor transit point for heroin and hashish via air routes and container traffic to Europe, especially from Lebanon and Turkey; some cocaine transits as well; despite a strengthening of anti-money-laundering legislation, remains vulnerable to money laundering; reporting of suspicious transactions in offshore sector remains weak