About Cyprus

Cyprus at a Glance

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 9,251 square kilometers. It is strategically located in the Eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Its total population is estimated at 1.1 million (July 2010) of whom approximately 800,000 live the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus and the remainder in the occupied area.

Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. Under the 1960 Constitution, executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term of office through a Council of Ministers appointed by him. Ministers cannot serve concurrently in the House of Representatives.

On May 01, 2004 the Republic of Cyprus became a full member of the EU completing a long journey that lasted more than three decades. Accession to the EU was a natural choice for Cyprus, dictated by its culture, civilization, history, its European outlook and adherence to the ideals of democracy, freedom and justice. EU accession has launched a new era of challenges, opportunities and responsibilities for Cyprus. Since accession, Cyprus has successfully faced the challenge of European integration, and has established itself as the natural portal for inward and outward investment between the EU and the rest of the world, particularly the rapidly-growing economies of Russia, Eastern Europe , India and China . Cyprus is a member of the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe, the IMF, the UN, the World Bank and the WTO, and a founder member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The application of the EU laws and regulations is suspended in the area under military occupation by Turkey, pending a solution to the division of the island. Meanwhile, the government of Cyprus in cooperation with the EU Commission has been promoting arrangements to facilitate increased economic transactions between the two communities and improve the standard of living of Turkish Cypriots. On January 01, 2008 the Republic of Cyprus joined the Euro system and in so doing introduced the Euro as its official currency, replacing the Cyprus pound as the unit of account. Thus, Euro banknotes and coins are the country’s legal tender.

Cyprus is also a member of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and many other international organizations.

Cyprus is very well placed as an international business and financial centre. Apart from its strategic geographical location, relaxed way of life and attractive climate, it offers an excellent commercial infrastructure, a highly educated English-speaking labor force, a business-friendly environment, particularly in the area of taxation, a high standard of living and a low rate of crime. Living costs are moderate, and good airline connections and telecommunications and increasing alignment with the European position in matters of culture and trade make it an effective bridge between West and East. Its time zone is 7 hours ahead of New York, 2 hours ahead of London, 1 hour behind Moscow and 5 hours behind Beijing. The official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English is the lingua franca of business.

A very something about Cyprus

Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus (Greek: Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία; Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti), is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of Syria and Turkey. Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt and east of Greece.

The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this period include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia, and Cyprus is home to some of the oldest water wells in the world.[15] Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC. As a strategic location in the Middle East, it was subsequently occupied by several major powers, including the empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Persians, from whom the island was seized in 333 BC by Alexander the Great. Subsequent rule by Ptolemaic Egypt, the Classical and Eastern Roman Empire, Arab caliphates for a short period, the French Lusignan dynasty and the Venetians, was followed by over three centuries of Ottoman rule between 1571 and 1878 (de jure until 1914).

Cyprus was placed under British administration in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. Even though Turkish Cypriots made up only 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders and Turkey in the 1950s. Turkish leaders for a period advocated the annexation of Cyprus to Turkey as Cyprus was considered an "extension of Anatolia" by them; while since the 19th century, the majority Greek Cypriot population and its Orthodox church had been pursuing union with Greece, which became a Greek national policy in the 1950s. Following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. In 1963, the 11-year intercommunal violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots started, which displaced more than 25,000 Turkish Cypriots and brought the end of Turkish Cypriot representation in the republic. On 15 July 1974, a coup d'état was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis, the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece.