Northern Cyprus

From New World Encyclopedia

Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Flag of Northern Cyprus Coat of arms of Northern Cyprus
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: İstiklâl Marşı  (Turkish)
"Independence March"
Location of Northern Cyprus
Capital Lefkoşa (Nicosia)
Official languages Turkish
Government Representative democratic republic[1]
 - President Mustafa Akıncı
 - Prime Minister Özkan Yorgancıoğlu
Sovereignty from Republic of Cyprus (de facto) 
 - Proclaimed November 15 1983 
 - Recognition Only by Turkey 
 - Total 3,355 km² (not ranked)
1,295 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 2.7
 - 2011 census 286,257
 - Density 86/km²
223/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate
 - Total $3.9 billion
 - Per capita $16,900 (2004)
Currency New Turkish Lira (TRY)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Internet TLD
Calling code +90-392

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) (Turkish: Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti) (KKTC) is a de facto independent republic located in northern Cyprus, within the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Cyprus. The TRNC declared its independence in 1983, nine years after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, following an attempt to unite the island with Greece. It is dependent on and recognized only by Turkey. The United Nations recognizes the de jure sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island.

From the tip of the Karpass Peninsula (Cape Apostolos Andreas) in the northeast, the TRNC extends westward to Morphou Bay and Cape Kormakitis (the Kokkina/Erenköy exclave marks the westernmost extent of the TRNC), and southward to the village of Louroujina/Akıncılar. The territory between the TRNC and the area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus is separated by a United Nations-controlled buffer zone.


In 1963, Cyprus' President Makarios proposed changes to the constitution via thirteen amendments. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots rejected the proposed amendments as an attempt to settle many of the constitutional disputes in the Greek Cypriots' favor.

On December 21, 1963, a Turkish-Cypriot crowd clashed with the plainclothes special constables of Yorgadjis. Almost immediately, an organized attack by Greek-Cypriot paramilitaries was launched upon Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia and Larnaca. The Turkish Resistance Organization committed a number of acts of retaliation. By 1964, 193 Turkish Cypriots and 133 Greek Cypriots were reported killed, with a further 209 Turks and 41 Greeks missing, presumed dead.

Turkish Cypriot members of government had by now withdrawn, creating an essentially Greek Cypriot administration in control of the institutions of the state. Some 20,000 refugees retreated into armed enclaves, where they remained for 11 years, relying on food and medical supplies from Turkey to survive. Turkish Cypriots thus formed paramilitary groups to defend the enclaves, leading to a gradual division of the islands' communities into two hostile camps.

On July 15, 1974, the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 backed a Greek-Cypriot coup d'état in Cyprus. President Makarios was removed from office and Nikos Sampson became president. Turkey claimed that under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee the coup was sufficient reason for military action, and thus Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, asserting that such intervention was necessary to protect the Turkish-Cypriot populace. Meanwhile, the coup failed and Makarios returned to Cyprus. Turkish forces proceeded to take over about 37 percent of the island, causing large numbers of Greek Cypriots to abandon their homes. Approximately 160,000 Greek Cypriots fled to the south of the island, while 50,000 Turkish Cypriots fled north. Approximately 1500 Greek Cypriot and 500 Turkish Cypriots remain missing.

In 1975, the "Turkish Federated State of North Cyprus" was declared as a first step towards a future federated Cypriot states that would guarantee the political equality of both communities. The move was rejected by the Republic of Cyprus, by the UN, and by the international community. After eight years of failed negotiations, the north declared its independence on November 15, 1983 under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. However, the Declaration of Independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was rejected by both the UN and the Republic of Cyprus.

In recent years, the politics of reunification has dominated the islands affairs. It was hoped that European Union accession would act as a catalyst towards a settlement. In 2004, a United-Nations-brokered peace settlement was put to a referendum on both sides, with Turkish Cypriots accepting and Greek Cypriots rejecting it, the result being the entry of a divided island into Europe. The long serving Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas resigned in wake of the vote, ushering in Mehmet Ali Talat as President.

However, the pro-settlement side and Mehmet Ali Talat lost momentum due to the ongoing embargo and isolation, despite promises from the European Union that these would be eased. As a result, the Turkish Cypriot electorate became frustrated. This led ultimately to the pro-independence side winning the general elections in 2009 and its candidate, former Prime Minister Derviş Eroğlu, winning the presidential elections in 2010.

Mustafa Akıncı became the fourth President of Northern Cyprus, winning the 2015 presidential election.

Government and politics

The government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is head of state and the Prime Minister head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The president is elected for a five-year term. The legislature is the Assembly of the Republic, which has 50 members elected by proportional representation from five electoral districts. Administratively, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is divided into five counties, namely: Nicosia (Turkish: Lefkoşa), Famagusta (Mağusa), Kyrenia (Girne), Morphou (Güzelyurt), and Trikomo (İskele).

International status and foreign relations

London office of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Bedford Square

The international community, with the exception of Turkey, does not recognize the TRNC as a sovereign state, but recognizes the de jure sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island. The United Nations considers the TRNC declaration of independence as legally invalid in several of its resolutions. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, however, gives the TRNC the status of a constituent state, and it is an observer member of this organization. Pakistan and Gambia have expressed gestures towards recognition, but have not formally recognized the TNRC.


The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has a 2,000 man Defense Force, which is primarily made up of conscripted Turkish Cypriot males between the ages of 18 and 40. This force supplements the 40,000 strong Turkish Army force, which includes the XI Corps with two divisions, which is stationed on the island.

In an area under dispute, the Turkish military presence in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is seen differently by the communities in the region, the Greek population seeing it as an occupational force, while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus citizens see it as a protection force.

Geography and climate

Detailed map of Northern Cyprus

The climate of the island is of an extreme Mediterranean type with very hot, dry summers and relatively cold winters. Most of the rainfall is concentrated between December and January.

The climate of the coastal parts is less extreme than farther inland, due to the fact that the effect of the sea on atmospheric humidities is always present there. The sea temperature itself never falls below 61 F. (January and February); in August it can rise to 82 F.

Spring and autumn are short, typified by changeable weather, with occasional heavy storms battering the coast in spring and a westerly wind, called "meltem," carrying the influence of Atlantic depressions to this far-eastern end of the Mediterranean.

From mid-May to mid-September, the sun shines on a daily average of around 11 hours. Temperatures can reach 104 F. on the Mesaoria Plain, although lower on the coasts, with a north-westerly breeze called "Poyraz" prevailing. The skies are cloudless with a low humidity, 40 to 60 percent, thus the high temperatures are easier to bear. The hot, dry, dust-laden sirocco wind blowing from Africa also finds its way to the island.

Short-lived stormy conditions resulting from fairly frequent small depressions prevail throughout the winter, with 60 percent of the rain falling between December and February. The Northern Range receives around 21.7 inches of rain per year, whereas the Mesaoria Plain receives only around 11.8 to 15.8 inches.

Frost and snow are almost unknown in Northern Cyprus, although night temperatures can fall to very low levels in winter.

The chief rain-bearing air currents reach the island from the southwest, so that precipitation and atmospheric humidity is at its greatest on the western and southwestern sides of the Southern Range. Eastwards, precipitation and humidity are reduced by the partial rain-shadow effect of the Southern Range. A similar effect is also caused by the Northern Range which cuts off the humidity associated with proximity to the sea from much of the northern Mesaoria Plain. Eastwards of the Northern Range, towards the bays of the Karpaz Peninsula, where the land narrows and the effect of sea influence increases accordingly, and humidity increases progressively towards the end of the peninsula.

Part of the Kyrenia mountain range

Most of the rivers are simply winter torrents, only flowing after heavy rain, the rivers running out of the Northern and Southern Ranges rarely flowing all the year round.

During the wet winter months Cyprus is a green island. However, by the time June arrives the landscape at the lower levels assumes the brown, parched aspect which characterizes its summer face. The forests and the vineyards in the mountains, plus the strips of irrigated vegetation in the valleys remain green.


The economy of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is dominated by the services sector including the public sector, trade, tourism, and education, with smaller agriculture and light manufacturing sectors. The economy operates on a free-market basis.

Tourism is considered as one of the driving sectors of the Turkish Cypriot economy. Kyrenia is considered the capital of tourism in Northern Cyprus, with its numerous hotels, entertainment facilities, vibrant nightlife, and shopping areas. Northern Cyprus has traditionally been an attraction for beach holidays, partly thanks to its reputation as an unspoiled area. Its mild climate, rich history and nature are seen as sources of attraction. A significant sector of eco-tourism has been developed in Northern Cyprus, as tourists visit it for birdwatching, cycling, walking and observing flowers in the wild. Casino tourism has also grown to become a significant contribution to the economy in Northern Cyprus. They were first opened in the 1990s, and have since become very popular with visitors from Turkey and the rest of the island, where casinos are banned.

The continuing Cyprus problem adversely affects the economic development of the TRNC. The Republic of Cyprus, which is internationally recognized as such and an EU member, has declared airports and ports in the area not under its effective control, closed. All UN and EU member countries respect the closure of those ports and airports, according to the declaration of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish community argues that the Republic of Cyprus has used its international standing to handicap economic relations between TRNC and the rest of the world.

Despite the constraints imposed by its lack of international recognition, the TRNC economy turned in an impressive performance in the last few years. The GDP growth rates of the TRNC economy in 2001 to 2005 have been 5.4 percent, 6.9 percent, 11.4 percent, 15.4 percent and 10.6 percent against 4.1 percent, 2.1 percent, 1.9 percent, 3.8 percent and 3.9 percent in the Republic of Cyprus. This growth has been buoyed by the relative stability of the Turkish Lira and a boom in the education and construction sectors.

Studies by the World Bank show that the per capita GDP in TRNC was 76 percent of the per capita GDP in the Republic of Cyprus in PPP-adjusted terms in 2004. ($22,300 for the Republic of Cyprus and $16,900 for the TRNC). Although the TRNC economy has recovered in recent years, it is still dependent on monetary transfers from the Turkish government.


Communications and transport

Because of its status and the embargo, the TRNC is heavily dependent on Turkish military and economic support. It uses the New Turkish Lira as its currency; this used to link its economic status to the vagaries of the Turkish economy. All TRNC exports and imports have to take place via Turkey. International telephone calls are routed via a Turkish dialing code: +90 392.

Direct flights to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are forbidden by the Republic of Cyprus. The airports of Geçitkale and Ercan are only recognized as legal ports of entry by Turkey and Azerbaijan.

TRNC seaports had been declared closed to all shipping by the Republic of Cyprus since 1974. Turkey, however, rejects this declaration while TRNC-registered vessels have free access to Turkish sea ports.

Naturalized TRNC citizens or foreigners carrying a passport stamped by the TRNC authorities may be refused entry by the Republic of Cyprus or Greece, although after the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU such restrictions have been eased following confidence-building measures between Athens and Ankara and the partial opening of the UN controlled line by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus authorities. The Republic of Cyprus also allows passage across the Green Line from the part of Nicosia that it controls (as well as a few other selected crossing points), since the TRNC does not leave entry stamps in the passport for such visits.

Airports and harbors

Airports & Airfields include, Ercan International Airport (Lefkoşa/Nicosia - Main Airport), Geçitkale/Lefkoniko Airport (Mağusa/Famagusta), Ilker Karter Airport (Girne/Kyrenia), Topel Airport (Güzelyurt/Morphou), and Pınarbaşı Airport (Girne/Kyrenia)

Seaports include, Port of Mağusa (Famagusta), Famagusta Free Port & Zone, and Port of Girne (Kyrenia).

TRNC airports are forbidden from receiving international flights as the Republic of Cyprus has declared those ports and airports of the island nation closed after the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus. According to a House of Lords hearing (ref: Cyprus: Direct Flights - 07-01-08) "The simplest way of enabling direct flights would be a decision by the Republic of Cyprus to designate Ercan as an international airport under the terms of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation." In the absence of such a decision, Northern Cyprus remains isolated with only Turkey as its legal outlet to the rest of the world.


Universities include, Eastern Mediterranean University, Near East University, European University of Lefke, International Cyprus University, Girne American University, and Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus.


The TRNC has a population of about 300,000. A census carried out by the Turkish-Cypriot administration found that only just over half the population is composed of indigenous Turkish Cypriots, with the rest including a large number of immigrants from Turkey. Of the 178,000 Turkish Cypriot citizens however, 74 percent are native Cypriots (approximately 120,000) with a further 12,000 claiming one Cypriot parent. Of the remaining people born to non-Cypriot parentage, approximately 16,000 were born in Cyprus. The figure for non-citizens, including students, guest workers and temporary residents stood at 78,000 people. The TRNC is almost entirely Turkish speaking, however English is widely spoken as a second language. Many of the older Turkish Cypriots speak and understand Greek - some may even be considered native speakers of the Greek-Cypriot dialect.

There are small populations of Greek Cypriots and Maronites (about 3,000) living in the Rizokarpaso and Kormakitis regions.

A large percentage of the people living in northern Cyprus after 1974 have emigrated, particularly to the United Kingdom, but also to Turkey. Many left the island due to the economic situation of the TRNC which, because of the prevailing embargo imposed on it by the international community, faces many difficulties in trading with third countries.

The general attitude is that the immigration of Turks from Anatolia to the TRNC is negatively affecting the Turkish-Cypriot ethnic identity. This immigration policy was regarded as necessary due to the large number of Turkish Cypriots now living abroad, but recently, the TRNC has tightened the policy due to the increase in crime and unemployment.

Tourist attractions

The Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Famagusta (Gazimağusa). Formerly, it was Τhe Saint Nicolas Cathedral prior to its conversion in 1571.

Nicosia has an old town center similar to that of Famagusta. The ancient city center is surrounded by a 3.4-miles-long city wall, which is still intact.

To the northeast the mythical Five Finger mountains (Pentadactylos, Turkish: Beşparmak) guard the city. Rising 3,445 feet above sea level at their highest, the mountains harbor the legend of the Byzantine hero Digenis, who defeated the invading Arabs with supernatural strength.

One of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean lies on the Rizokarpaso (Karpaz) peninsula on the eastern-most tip of the island, and is a nesting ground for endangered loggerhead and green turtles.


  1. Country Report Retrieved December 6, 2007.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Davey, Eileen. Northern Cyprus: A Traveller's Guide. I.B. Tauris, 1994. ISBN 978-1850437475
  • Ertekun, Necati Munir. The Cyprus Dispute and the Birth of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. K. Rustem, 1984. ASIN B0006EGK9U
  • Gursoy, Kristina, & Kavinia Neville-Smith. Landmark Visitors Guide: Northern Cyprus. Landmark Publications, 2000. ISBN 978-1901522518
  • Gursoy, Kristina, & Kavinia Neville-Smith. Northern Cyprus: A Pocket-Guide. Rustem Bookshop, 2006. ISBN 978-994496803X


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