The Republic of Cyprus is Eurasian Island country located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea south of Turkey. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The total land area is 3,572 square miles. The capital is Nicosia.
Cyprus is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. It used to be a British colony however it gained its independence from the UK on 1 October 1960. The UK still controls 3% of the sovereignty of the island while the Republic of Cyprus has claimed sovereignty over the remaining 97% of the island. Cyprus became a member of the European Union on the 1st May 2004. It therefore adopted the Euro on 1st January 2008.
In 1974 there was a dispute between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots tried to annex the island to Greece in an attemped coup d’ etat. As a result, Turkey invaded one third of the island which displaced my Cypriots and which ultimately lead to the establishment of the separate Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the north of the island. This remains a contentious issue.
Cyprus is a Presidential Republic. The Head of Sate is the President, is elected by universal suffrage for a 5-year term. Cyprus is one of two countries in the world to have a democratically elected communist government and it is the only member country in the European Union under communist leadership.
After the invasion by Turkey in 1974, Cyprus was divided. The Greek Cypriots controlled the southern three quarters of the island while the Turkish occupied a third of the island in the north. In 1983 Turkey declared independence of the Turkish section and named it the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. They adopted a constitution and even held their first election however the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus has still not be recognised by any other country in the world besides Turkey.
The population is made up of 788 457 people. The Greek Cypriots make up 77% of the island’s population while the Turkish Cypriots make up 18%. Other ethnicities make up 5%. After the Turkish invasion, 150 000 Turks from Anatolia settled in the north of the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus granted them citizenship however as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not recognised by other countries, its power to create new citizens is not recognised and therefore the immigrants have had to retain their Turkish passports. The population also includes a large influx of guest workers from Thailand, Philippines and Sri Lanka. There has also been an increase in permanent British residents and it is also home to Armenian and Kurdish minorities. It also includes a refugee population from Serbia, Palestine and Lebanon. Since joining the EU, the Polish population has also grown.
The office languages in Cyprus are Greek and Turkish.
Cyprus has a prosperous and diversified economy. Its highly developed infrastructure has attracted several offshore businesses. The government economic policy has been to meet the requirements for admission to the European Union which it achieved in May 2004.
The Turkish occupied area is dominated by the service sector, public sector, trade, tourism. Agriculture and a light manufacturing sector also contribute to the economy.
Oil has recently been discovered between Cyprus and Egypt and talks are taking place between Egypt and Lebanon to reach an agreement with regards to exploiting the oil.