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Map of Cyprus
Introduction Cyprus
Independence from the UK was approved in 1960 with constitutional guarantees by the Greek Cypriot majority to the Turkish Cypriot minority. In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled almost 40% of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", but it is recognized only by Turkey. UN-led direct talks between the two sides to reach a comprehensive settlement to the division of the island began in January 2002.
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 the Turkish Cypriot area)
water: 10 sq km
land: 9,240 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.6 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
0 km
648 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 NM
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: Olympus 1,951 m
Natural resources:
copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
Land use:
arable land: 10.61%
permanent crops: 4.65%
other: 84.74% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
400 sq km (1998 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, Nuclear Test Ban, 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
767,314 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.4% (male 87,981; female 84,168)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 258,414; female 252,778)
65 years and over: 11% (male 36,607; female 47,366) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.57% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
12.91 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.63 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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 (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
7.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.08 years
female: 79.5 years (2002 est.)
male: 74.77 years
Total fertility rate:
1.9 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
400 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Cypriot(s)
adjective: Cypriot
Ethnic groups:
Greek 85.2%, Turkish 11.6%, other 3.2% (2000)
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%
male: 98.7%
female: 95% (1999)
Government Cyprus
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cyprus
conventional short form: Cyprus
note: the Turkish Cypriot area refers to itself as the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (TRNC)
Government type:
note: a disaggregation 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 after a Greek junta-based 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 federation (Greek Cypriot position) or confederation (Turkish Cypriot position)
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 Lefkosa (Nicosia) and Larnaca
16 August 1960 (from UK); note - Turkish Cypriot area proclaimed self-rule on 13 February 1975
National holiday:
Independence Day, 1 October (1960); note - Turkish Cypriot area celebrates 15 November (1983) as Independence Day
16 August 1960; 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; in 1975 Turkish Cypriots created their own constitution and governing bodies within the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus," which was renamed the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" in 1983; a new constitution for the Turkish Cypriot area 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 the Turkish Cypriot area since 13 February 1975 ("president" elected by popular vote for a five-year term); elections last held 15 April 2000 (next to be held NA April 2005); results - Rauf R. DENKTASH reelected president after the other contender withdrew; Dervis EROGLU has been "prime minister" of the Turkish Cypriot area since 16 August 1996; there is a Council of Ministers (cabinet) in the Turkish Cypriot area
election results: Tassos PAPADOPOULOS elected president; percent of vote - Tassos PAPADOPOULOS 51.5%, Glafkos KLIRIDIS 38.8%, Alekos MARKIDIS 6.6%
Legislative branch:
unicameral - Greek Cypriot area: 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); Turkish Cypriot area: Assembly of the Republic or Cumhuriyet Meclisi (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
election results: Greek Cypriot area: 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; Turkish Cypriot area: Assembly of the Republic - percent of vote by party - UBP 40.3%, DP 22.6%, TKP 15.4%, CTP 13.4%, UDP 4.6%, YBH 2.5%, BP 1.2%; seats by party - UBP 24, DP 13, TKP 7, CTP 6
elections: Greek Cypriot area: last held 27 May 2001 (next to be held NA May 2006); Turkish Cypriot area: last held 6 December 1998 (next to be held NA December 2003)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed jointly by the president and vice president)
note: there is also a Supreme Court in the Turkish Cypriot area
Political parties and leaders:
Greek Cypriot area: Democratic Party or DIKO [Tassos PAPADOPOULOS]; Democratic Rally or DISY [Nikos ANASTASIADHIS]; Eurodemocratic Renewal Movement or KEA [Antonis PASCHALIDES]; 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]; Turkish Cypriot area: Communal Liberation Party or TKP [Huseyin ANGOLEMLI]; Democratic Party or DP [Salih COSAR]; 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 [Izzet IZCAN]; 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, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (associate), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Erato KOZAKOU-MARCOULLIS
chancery: 2211 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 483-6710
note: representative of the Turkish Cypriot area in the US is Osman ERTUG; office at 1667 K Street NW, Washington, DC; telephone [1] (202) 887-6198
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 1385, Nikosia, FPO AE 09836
telephone: [357] (22) 776400
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 Cypriot 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:
Economic affairs are affected by the division of the country. The Greek Cypriot economy is prosperous but highly susceptible to external shocks. Erratic growth rates in the 1990s 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. As in the Turkish sector, water shortages are a perennial problem; a few desalination plants are now online. The Turkish Cypriot economy has less than one-half the per capita GDP of the south. Because it is recognized only by Turkey, it has had much difficulty arranging foreign financing, and foreign firms have hesitated to invest there. 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 substantial direct and indirect aid to tourism, education, industry, etc.
Greek Cypriot area: purchasing power parity - $9.1 billion (2001 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: purchasing power parity - $1.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Greek Cypriot area: 2.6% (2001 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: 0.8% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Greek Cypriot area: purchasing power parity - $15,000 (2001 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: purchasing power parity - $7,000 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Greek Cypriot area: agriculture 4.6%; industry 19.9%; services 75.5% (2001)
Turkish Cypriot area: agriculture 8.3%; industry 20.7%; services 71% (2000)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Greek Cypriot area: 1.9% (2001 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: 53.2% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Greek Cypriot area: 291,000; Turkish Cypriot area: 86,300 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
Greek Cypriot area: services 73%, industry 22%, agriculture 5% (2000); Turkish Cypriot area: services 56.4%, industry 22.8%, agriculture 20.8% (1998)
Unemployment rate:
Greek Cypriot area: 3%; Turkish Cypriot area: 5.6% (1999 est.)
revenues: Greek Cypriot area - $2.4 billion (Turkish Cypriot area - $300 million)
expenditures: Greek Cypriot area - $3.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $539 million (Turkish Cypriot area - $500 million, including capital expenditures of $60 million) (2001 est.)
food, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metal products, tourism, wood products
Industrial production growth rate:
Greek Cypriot area: 2.2% (1999); Turkish Cypriot area: -0.3% (1999) (1999)
Electricity - production:
3.13 billion kWh (1999); Turkish Cypriot area: NA kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
other: 0% (2000)
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
2.911 billion kWh (1999); Turkish Cypriot area: NA kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
potatoes, citrus, vegetables, barley, grapes, olives, vegetables
Greek Cypriot area: $851 million f.o.b. (2001 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: $50.7 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:
Greek Cypriot area: citrus, potatoes, grapes, wine, cement, clothing and shoes; Turkish Cypriot area: citrus, potatoes, textiles
Exports - partners:
Greek Cypriot area: EU 36% (UK 17%, Greece 8%), Russia 8%, Syria 7%, Lebanon 5%, US 2% (2000); Turkish Cypriot area: Turkey 51%, UK 31%, other EU 16.5% (1999)
Greek Cypriot area: $3.5 billion f.o.b.; Turkish Cypriot area: $424.9 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Greek Cypriot area: consumer goods, petroleum and lubricants, food and feed grains, machinery; Turkish Cypriot area: food, minerals, chemicals, machinery
Imports - partners:
Greek Cypriot area: EU 52% (UK 11%, Italy 9%, Greece 9%, Germany 7%), US 10% (2000); Turkish Cypriot area: Turkey 59%, UK 13%, other EU 13% (1999)
Debt - external:
Greek Cypriot area: $NA; Turkish Cypriot area: $NA
Economic aid - recipient:
Greek Cypriot area - $17 million (1998); Turkish Cypriot area - $700 million from Turkey in grants and loans (1990-97) which are usually forgiven (1998)
Greek Cypriot area: Cypriot pound (CYP); Turkish Cypriot area: Turkish lira (TRL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Cypriot pounds per US dollar - 0.6518 (January 2002), 0.6427 (2001), 0.6208 (2000), 0.5423 (1999), 0.5170 (1998), 0.5135 (1997); Turkish liras per US dollar - 1,370,629 (January 2002), 1,223,140 (2001), 625,219 (2000), 418,783 (1999), 260,724 (1998), 151,865 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Cyprus
Telephones - main lines in use:
Greek Cypriot area: 405,000 (1998); Turkish Cypriot area: 83,162 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Greek Cypriot area: 68,000 (1998); Turkish Cypriot area: 70,000 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent in both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot areas
domestic: open wire, fiber-optic cable, and microwave radio relay
international: 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:
Greek Cypriot area: AM 7, FM 60, shortwave 1 (1998); Turkish Cypriot area: AM 3, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
Greek Cypriot area: 310,000 (1997); Turkish Cypriot area: 56,450 (1994)
Television broadcast stations:
Greek Cypriot area: 4 (plus 225 low-power repeaters) (September 1995); Turkish Cypriot area: 4 (plus 5 repeaters) (September 1995)
Greek Cypriot area: 248,000 (1997); Turkish Cypriot area: 52,300 (1994)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2000)
Internet users:
150,000 (2002)
Transportation Cyprus
0 km
total: Greek Cypriot area: 10,663 km (1998 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: 2,350 km (1996 est.)
paved: Greek Cypriot area: 6,249 km (1998 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: 1,370 km (1996 est.)
unpaved: Greek Cypriot area: 4,414 km (1998 est.); Turkish Cypriot area: 980 km (1996 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, Vasilikos
Merchant marine:
total: 1,254 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 22,802,712 GRT/36,337,768 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Austria 12, Belgium 2, Bulgaria 2, Canada 3, Chile 2, China 16, Croatia 2, Cuba 11, Finland 1, Germany 229, Greece 607, Guam 1, Hong Kong 6, India 6, Iran 1, Ireland 1, Israel 5, Italy 1, Japan 26, Latvia 14, Lebanon 1, Lithuania 2, Mexico 1, Monaco 10, Netherlands 30, Norway 23, Panama 1, Philippines 2, Poland 19, Portugal 2, Russia 57, Singapore 2, Slovenia 2, South Korea 4, Spain 7, Sudan 2, Sweden 6, Switzerland 4, Turkey 1, Ukraine 1, United Arab Emirates 13, United Kingdom 6, United States 4, Vietnam 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: barge carrier 2, bulk 438, cargo 378, chemical tanker 24, combination bulk 31, combination ore/oil 2, container 133, liquefied gas 4, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 131, refrigerated cargo 46, roll on/roll off 41, short-sea passenger 10, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 3
15 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
914 to 1,523 m: 3
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
10 (2002)
Military Cyprus
Military branches:
Greek area: Greek Cypriot National Guard (GCNG; including air and naval elements), Greek Cypriot Police
Turkish area: Turkish Cypriot Security Force (GKK)
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 200,071 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 137,322 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 6,616 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$370 million (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.2% (FY00)
Transnational Issues Cyprus
Disputes - international:
reunification talks - the first since 1974 hostilities divided the island into two de facto autonomous areas, a Greek Cypriot area controlled by the internationally recognized Cypriot Government (59% of the island's land area) and a Turkish-Cypriot area (37% of the island), that are separated by a UN buffer zone (4% of the island) - have recommenced; there are two UK sovereign base areas mostly within the Greek-Cypriot portion of the island
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; anti-money-laundering laws strengthened but few convictions

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003