Northern Cyprus

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Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: İstiklal Marşı
Independence March
Capital
and largest city
Nicosia municipal logo - Turkey.jpg North Nicosia
35°11′N 33°22′E / 35.183°N 33.367°E / 35.183; 33.367
Official languages Turkish
Demonym Turkish Cypriot
Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
 -  President Derviş Eroğlu
 -  Prime Minister Özkan Yorgancıoğlu
Legislature Assembly of the Republic
Independence from Cyprus
 -  Proclaimed 15 November 1983 
 -  Recognition by Turkey only 
Area
 -  Total 3,355 km2 (174th if ranked)
1,295 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 2.7
Population
 -  2014 estimate 300,000
 -  2011 census 294,906 (disputed)
 -  Density 86/km2 (116th)
223/sq mi
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $3.9 billion[1]
 -  Per capita $16,158[1]
Currency Turkish lira (Turkish lira symbol black.svg) (TRY)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the left
Calling code +90 392
Internet TLD .nc.tr or .ct.tr;
wide use of .cc

Northern Cyprus (Turkish: Kuzey Kıbrıs), officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC; Turkish: Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti), is a self-declared state that comprises the northeastern portion of the island of Cyprus. Recognised only by Turkey, Northern Cyprus is considered by the international community as part of the Republic of Cyprus.[2]

Northern Cyprus extends from the tip of the Karpass Peninsula in the north east, westward to Morphou Bay and Cape Kormakitis (the Kokkina/Erenköy exclave marks the westernmost extent of the area), and southward to the village of Louroujina. A buffer zone under the control of the United Nations stretches between Northern Cyprus and the rest of the island and divides Nicosia, the island's largest city and capital of both states.

The 1974 coup d'état, an attempt to annex the island to Greece, was followed by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. This resulted in the eviction of much of the north's Greek Cypriot population, the flight of Turkish Cypriots from the south, and the partitioning of the island, leading to a unilateral declaration of independence by the North in 1983. Due to its lack of recognition, Northern Cyprus is heavily dependent on Turkey for economic, political and military support.[3][4]

Attempts to reach a solution to the Cyprus dispute have been unsuccessful. Recognising the need for a resolution, in May 2008 the two sides began another round of negotiations after committing themselves to working towards "a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions."[5] The Turkish Army maintains a large force in Northern Cyprus. While its presence is supported and approved by the TRNC government, the Republic of Cyprus regards it as an illegal occupation force, and its presence has been denounced in several United Nations Security Council resolutions.[6]

History[edit]

Ottoman Era[edit]

Main article: Ottoman Cyprus

The conquest of 1571 of the island by the Ottoman Turks was a liberation for the bulk of the Greek orthodox population. Indeed, in some areas, such as Lefkara, there had even been local up-risings against the Venetians in support of the invading Ottoman forces. Following the conquest of the island serfdom was abolished and peasant families were granted the freehold over land they had previously worked on.

Ottoman Turks attacking the last Venetian stronghold in Famagusta 1571.

The Orthodox Church was also freed from centuries of control by the Latin hierarchy and its previous tradition of independence reasserted under a revived archbishopric. On the other hand, the Catholic Church of the Crusader and Venetian rulers were expelled. Catholics on the island were given the choice of conversion (either to Islam or Orthodoxy) or exile.[7]

Following the defeat of the Venetians in 1571, Lala Mustafa Pasha, the Turkish Commander of the land forces in Cyprus, chose, before departing for Istanbul, 12,000 foot soldiers to remain on the island for the formation of defensive garrisons in Famagusta, Nicosia and Kyrenia.[8] In addition, he distributed 4,000 cavalry men among the localities of Limassol, Kyrenia, and elsewhere. The military forces were than complemented by an additional 20,000 decommissioned soldiers and 2,000 cavalry which were to remain as colonists.

Buyuk Han (the Great Inn) was built by the Ottomans Turks in 1572.

These people as a whole formed the original nucleus of the fledgling Turkish Cypriot community whose members were of Turkish origin, and by the firman (decree) of Sultan Selim II were given fiefs for the provisions of their homes, and support. Steps were also taken to assist all soldiers with dependents on the mainland to bring their wives and children to Cyprus. Nevertheless, in the opinion of Sinan Pasha, the Beylerbeyi (Governor-General) who replaced Lala Mustafa Pasha, the island was still heavily in need of not only of more residents in general but also of skilled craftsmen. Consequently, after he informed Sultan Selim II of the island's condition, a firman (decree) was issued to the Kadis (chief judges) from various regions of Anatolia calling for a population transfer. [9]In addition, efforts were made to obtain craftsmen representing in a wide range of skills known to be of short supply on the island. Special attention was also given primarily to relocating farmers. These were than supplemented by shoemakers, tailors, weavers, makers of linen skull-caps, spinners, cooks, farriers, tanners, masons, jewelers, copper-smiths, and miners.

Turkish Cypriots in the walled city of Famagusta.

The Ottoman conquest of Cyprus coincided with the gradual stagnation of the Near Eastern economy due to the discovery of the Atlantic trade routes in the mid-15th century. Within a century, the busy waters of the eastern Mediterranean had become a neglected backwater. Many of the islands profitable crops, such as sugar, were also ruined by American competition in the 17th century.

Throughout this period there was a series of armed tax-revolts which often united both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriots against an especially greedy governor or an over-mighty community leader. The actual governor of the island, though he commanded a small garrison of 3,000 troops, was relatively powerless.

Ottoman houses in North Nicosia.

By 1660 the archbishop grew particularly influential, and became recognized as the official representative of the Greek Cypriots, with the rights of direct access to the Sultan's palace in Istanbul. In 1754 the archbishop was than made responsible for the collection of taxes and later gained the right to appoint the dragoman of the Serai, who was the head of the civil service. By the early 19th century the archbishop had almost become of greater consequence than the governor.

By 1777-1788 the Muslim population constituted the majority on the island, with 40,000 Muslim "Turks" and 37,000 Christian "Greeks".[10] In 1788-1792 Turks were estimated at 45,000 compared to 40,000 Greeks.[10] The use of resettlement as a general method for development of the Turkish population of Cyprus continued intermittently until the middle of the eighteenth century. At the time of the British arrival in Cyprus in 1878 under the Cyprus Defense Alliance between Great Britain and the Ottoman Empire, approximately 95,000 Turkish Cypriots were residing on the island.[11]

British Period[edit]

By 1878, during the Congress of Berlin, under the terms of the Anglo-Ottoman Cyprus Convention, the Ottoman Turks had agreed to assign Cyprus to Britain to occupy and rule, though not to possess as sovereign territory.[12] According to the first British census of Cyprus, in 1881, 95% of the island's Muslims spoke Turkish as their mother tongue.[13] As of the 1920s, the percentage of Greek-speaking Muslims had dropped from 5%, in 1881, to just under 2% of the total Muslim population.[14] During the opening years of the twentieth century Ottomanism became an ever more popular identity held by the Cypriot Muslim intelligentsia, especially in the wake of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908.

Hosting of the British flag in Nicosia 1878.

Increasing numbers of Young Turks who had turned against Sultan Abdul Hamid II sought refuge in Cyprus. A rising class of disgruntled intellectuals in the island's main urban centres gradually began to warm to the ideas of positivism, freedom and modernization.[15] Spurred on by the rising calls for "enosis", the union with Greece, emanating from Greek Cypriot nationalists, an initially hesitant "Turkism" was also starting to appear in certain newspaper articles and to be heard in the political debates of the local intelligentsia of Cyprus.[16] In line with the changes introduced in the Ottoman Empire after 1908, the curricula of Cyprus's Muslim schools, such as the "Idadi", were also altered to incorporate more secular teachings with increasingly Turkish nationalist undertones. Many of these graduates in due course ended up as teachers in the growing number of urban and rural schools that had begun to proliferate across the island by the 1920s.[17]

In 1914 the Ottoman Empire joined the First World War against the Allied Forces and Britain annexed the island. Cyprus's Muslim inhabitants were officially asked to choose between adopting either British nationality or retaining their Ottoman subject status; about 4,000–8,500 Muslims decided to leave the island and move to Turkey.[18][19] Following its defeat in World War I, the Ottoman Empire were faced with the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) whereby the Greek incursion into Anatolia aimed at claiming what Greece believed to be historically Greek territory.[20] For the Ottoman Turks of Cyprus, already fearing the aims of enosis-seeking Greek Cypriots, reports of atrocities committed in Anatolia, and the Greek Occupation of Smyrna, produced further fears for their own future. Greek forces were routed in 1922 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who, in 1923, proclaimed the new Republic of Turkey and renounced irredentist claims to former Ottoman territories beyond the Anatolian heartland. Muslims in Cyprus were thus excluded from the nation-building project, though many still heeded Atatürk's call to join in the establishment of the new nation-state, and opted for Turkish citizenship. Between 1881 and 1927 approximately 30,000 Turkish Cypriots emigrated to Turkey.[21][22]

The 1920s was to prove a critical decade in terms of stricter ethno-religious compartments; hence, Muslim Cypriots who remained on the island gradually embraced the ideology of Turkish nationalism due to the impact of the Kemalist Revolution.[23] At its core were the Kemalist values of secularism, modernization and westernization; reforms such as the introduction of the new Turkish alphabet, adoption of western dress and secularization, were adopted voluntarily by Muslim Turkish Cypriots, who had been prepared for such changes not just by the Tanzimat but also by several decades of British rule.[24] Many of those Cypriots who until then had still identified themselves primarily as Muslims began now to see themselves principally as Turks in Cyprus.[25]

By 1950, a Cypriot Enosis referendum in which 95.7% of Greek Cypriot voters supported a fight aimed at enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece[26] were led by an armed organisation, in 1955, called EOKA by Georgios Grivas which aimed at bringing down British rule and uniting the island of Cyprus with Greece. Turkish Cypriots had always reacted immediately against the objective of enosis; thus, the 1950s saw many Turkish Cypriots who were forced to flee from their homes.[27] In 1958, Turkish Cypriots set up their own armed group called Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT) and by early 1958, the first wave of armed conflict between the two communities began; a few hundred Turkish Cypriots left their villages and quarters in the mixed towns and never returned.[28]

1960-present[edit]

A united Cyprus gained independence from British rule in August 1960, after both Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed to respectively abandon plans for enosis (union with Greece) and taksim (Turkish for 'partition'). The agreement involved Cyprus being governed under a constitution which apportioned Cabinet posts, parliamentary seats and civil service jobs on an agreed ratio between the two communities. Within three years, tensions between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in administrative affairs began to show.

Fazıl Küçük former Turkish Cypriot leader and former Vice President of Cyprus.

In particular, disputes over separate municipalities and taxation created a deadlock in government. In 1963 President Makarios proposed unilateral changes to the constitution, via 13 amendments. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots rejected the proposed amendments, claiming that this was an attempt to settle constitutional disputes in favour of the Greek Cypriots[29] and as a means of demoting Turkish status from co-founders of the state to one of minority status removing their constitutional safeguards in the process. Turkish Cypriots filed a lawsuit against the 13 amendments in the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus (SCCC). Makarios announced that he would not comply with whatever the decision of the SCCC would be,[30] and defended his amendments as being necessary "to resolve constitutional deadlocks" as opposed to the stance of the SCCC.[31] On 25 April 1963, the SCCC decided that Makarios' 13 amendments were illegal. The Cyprus Supreme Court's ruling found that Makarios had violated the constitution by failing to fully implement its measures and that Turkish Cypriots had not been allowed to return to their positions in government without first accepting the proposed constitutional amendments.[32] On 21 May, the president of the SCCC resigned due to the Makarios' stance. On 15 July, Makarios ignored the decision of the SCCC.[33] After the resignation of the president of the SCCC, the SCCC ceased to exist. The Supreme Court of Cyprus (SCC) was formed by merging the SCCC and the High Court of Cyprus and undertook the jurisdiction and powers of the SCCC and HCC.[34] On 30 November, Makarios legalized the 13 proposals. In 1963, the Greek Cypriot wing of the government created the Akritas plan which outlined a policy that would remove Turkish Cypriots from the government and ultimately lead to union with Greece. The plan stated that if the Turkish Cypriots objected then they should be "violently subjugated before foreign powers could intervene".[35] On 21 December 1963, a Turkish Cypriot crowd clashed with the plainclothes special constables of Yorgadjis. Almost immediately, intercommunal violence broke out with a major Greek Cypriot paramilitary attack upon Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia and Larnaca. Though the TMT — a Turkish resistance group created in 1959 to promote a policy of taksim (division or partition of Cyprus), in opposition to the Greek Cypriot nationalist group EOKA and its advocacy of enosis (union of Cyprus with Greece) — committed a number of acts of retaliation, historian of the Cyprus conflict Keith Kyle noted that "there is no doubt that the main victims of the numerous incidents that took place during the next few months were Turks."[29] Seven hundred Turkish hostages, including women and children, were taken from the northern suburbs of Nicosia. Nikos Sampson, a nationalist and future coup leader, led a group of Greek Cypriot irregulars into the mixed suburb of Omorphita and attacked the Turkish Cypriot population.[36] By 1964, 193 Turkish Cypriots and 133 Greek Cypriots had been killed, with a further 209 Turks and 41 Greeks missing and presumed dead.

Turkish Cypriot woman fleeing their homes during the 1963-64 conflict.
Rauf Denktaş founder and former President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot members of the government had by now withdrawn, creating an essentially Greek Cypriot administration in control of all institutions of the state. After the partnership government collapsed, the Greek Cypriot led administration was recognized as the legitimate government of the Republic of Cyprus at the stage of the debates in New York in February 1964.[37] In September 1964, then–United Nations Secretary General, U Thant reported "UNFICYP carried out a detailed survey of all damage to properties throughout the island during the disturbances; it shows that in 109 villages, most of them Turkish-Cypriot or mixed villages, 527 houses have been destroyed while 2,000 others have suffered damage from looting".[38] Widespread looting of Turkish Cypriot villages prompted 20,000 refugees to retreat into armed enclaves, where they remained for the next 11 years,[39] relying on food and medical supplies from Turkey to survive. Turkish Cypriots formed paramilitary groups to defend the enclaves, leading to a gradual division of the island's communities into two hostile camps. The violence had also seen thousands of Turkish Cypriots attempt to escape the violence by emigrating to Britain, Australia and Turkey.[40] On 28 December 1967, the Turkish Cypriot Provisional Administration was founded.[41]

On 15 July 1974, the Greek military junta of 1967-1974 and the Cypriot National Guard backed a Greek Cypriot military coup d'état in Cyprus. Pro-Enosis Nikos Sampson replaced President Makarios as the new dictator.[42] The Greek Cypriot coupists proclaimed the establishment of the "Hellenic Republic of Cyprus".[43][44] Turkey claimed that under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, the coup was sufficient reason for military action to protect the Turkish Cypriot populace, and thus Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July. Turkish forces proceeded to take over the northern four-elevenths of the island (about 37% of Cyprus's total area). The coup caused a civil war filled with ethnic violence, after which it collapsed and Makarios returned to power.[citation needed]. During the Turkish invasion of the island, the Turkish conquerors led to many atrocities. Result of the invasion were missing persons, refugees and the division of island.

On 2 August 1975, in the negotiations in Vienna, a population exchange agreement was signed between community leaders Rauf Denktaş and Glafcos Clerides under the auspices of United Nations.[45][46] On the basis of the Agreement, 196,000 Greek Cypriots living in the north were exchanged for 42,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the south[47] (the number of settlers was disputed[48]). The Orthodox Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpaso, Agios Andronikos and Agia Triada chose to stay in their villages,[49] as did also Catholic Maronites in Asomatos, Karpasia and Kormakitis. Approximately 1,500 Greek Cypriots and 500 Turkish Cypriots remain missing.[50]

In 1975, the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus (Kıbrıs Türk Federe Devleti) was declared as a first step towards a future federated Cypriot state, but was rejected by the Republic of Cyprus and the United Nations.

After eight years of failed negotiations with the leadership of the Greek Cypriot community,[citation needed] the north unilaterally declared its independence on 15 November 1983 under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.[51] This was rejected by the UN and the Republic of Cyprus. In 2010, the International Court of Justice ruled, in an opinion regarding Kosovo, that "International law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence".[52]

In recent years, the politics of reunification has dominated the island's affairs. The European Union decided in 2000 to accept Cyprus as a member, even if it was divided. This was due to their view of Rauf Denktaş, the pro-independence Turkish Cypriot President, as the main stumbling block, but also due to Greece threatening to block eastern EU expansion. It was hoped that Cyprus's planned accession into the European Union would act as a catalyst towards a settlement. In the time leading up to Cyprus becoming a member, a new government was elected in Turkey and Rauf Denktaş lost political power in Cyprus. In 2004, a United Nations–brokered peace settlement was presented in a referendum to both sides.[53] The proposed settlement was opposed by both the president of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, and Turkish Cypriot president Rauf Denktaş; in the referendum, while 65% of Turkish Cypriots accepted the proposal, 76% of Greek Cypriots rejected it.[citation needed] As a result, Cyprus entered the European Union divided, with the effects of membership suspended for Northern Cyprus.[53]

Denktaş resigned in the wake of the vote, ushering in the pro-solutionist Mehmet Ali Talat as his successor. However, the pro-solutionist side and Mehmet Ali Talat lost momentum due to the ongoing embargo[citation needed] and isolation, despite promises[clarification needed] 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. Although Eroğlu and his National Unity Party favours the independence of Northern Cyprus rather than reunification with the Republic of Cyprus, he is negotiating with the Greek Cypriot side towards a settlement for reunification.[citation needed]

In 2011, Turkish Cypriots protested against economic reforms made by the Northern Cyprus and Turkish governments.

Government and politics[edit]

Derviş Eroğlu has been President of Northern Cyprus since 2010.

The politics 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 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 current president is Derviş Eroğlu and the current Prime Minister is Özkan Yorgancıoğlu. The legislature is the Assembly of the Republic, which has 50 members elected by proportional representation from five electoral districts. In the elections of July 2013, the left-leaning pro-unification Republican Turkish Party won an overall majority.

Due to Northern Cyprus' isolation and heavy reliance on Turkish support, Turkey has a high level of influence over the country's politics. This has led to some experts characterising it as an effective puppet state of Turkey.[54][55][56] Few political decisions in Northern Cyprus are taken without the approval of the Turkish National Security council in Ankara.[4]

International status and foreign relations[edit]

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

No nation other than Turkey[57] has officially recognised Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state. The United Nations recognises it as territory of the Republic of Cyprus under Turkish occupation.[58] Pakistan and Bangladesh had initially declared their recognition of Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state shortly after its declaration of independence,[59] however they withdrew their recognition as a result of US pressure after the UN having deemed the North Cypriot declaration illegal.[60] The United Nations considers the declaration of independence by Northern Cyprus as legally invalid, as enunciated in several of its resolutions.[58][61]

In the wake of the April 2004 referendum on the United Nations Annan Plan, and in view of the support of the Turkish Cypriot community for the plan, the European Union made pledges towards ending the isolation of Northern Cyprus. These included measures for trade and 259 million euro in aid.[citation needed] A pledge by the EU to lift the embargo on Northern Cyprus in the wake of the Annan Plan referendums has been blocked by the Greek Cypriot government.[53]

In 2004, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation upgraded the delegation of the Turkish Cypriot Muslim community from "observer community" (1979) to that of a constituent state with the designation "Turkish Cypriot State", making Northern Cyprus an observer member of the organization.[62] A number of high profile formal meetings have also taken place between former President Mehmet Ali Talat and various foreign leaders and politicians including the former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the then British foreign minister, Jack Straw and former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and between President Dervis Eroglu and Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In 2004, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe gave observer status to the representatives of Turkish Cypriot community.[63] Since then, Northern Cyprus's representatives have actively participated in all PACE activities without voting rights.

The European Union considers the area not under effective control of the Republic of Cyprus as EU territory under Turkish military occupation and thus indefinitely exempt from EU legislation until a settlement has been found. The status of Northern Cyprus has become a recurrent issue especially during the recent talks for Turkey's membership of the EU where the division of the island is seen as a major stumbling block in Turkey's road to membership.[64][65]

Former President of Northern Cyprus Mehmet Ali Talat with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan in Azerbaijan has issued a resolution recognizing the independence of Northern Cyprus. As a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, however, Azerbaijan itself has not recognised North Cyprus.[66]

Naturalised citizens of Northern Cyprus or foreigners carrying a passport stamped by Northern Cyprus authorities may be refused entry by the Republic of Cyprus or Greece,[67] 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[citation needed] and the partial opening of the UN controlled line by Northern Cyprus authorities.[citation needed] The Republic of Cyprus also allows passage across the Green Line from the south of Nicosia, as well as a few other selected crossing points, since Northern Cyprus does not leave entry stamps in the passport for such visits. There are seven border crossings between Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus.[68] Since May 2004 some tourists have taken to flying to the Republic of Cyprus directly then crossing the green line to holiday in Northern Cyprus.[69]

On 18 February 2008, the Northern Cyprus government sent a message to the Republic of Kosovo congratulating it on its unilateral declaration of independence. A government spokesman clarified that this statement did not constitute, or signal an imminent move toward, formal diplomatic recognition of Kosovo.[70] In contrast, the Republic of Cyprus has rejected Kosovo's declaration of independence and, given the ICJ ruling that Kosovo's declaration of independence was not illegal, stated that Kosovo and Northern Cyprus were not analogous situations.[71] Some analysts have argued that the independence of Kosovo could provide support for the recognition of Northern Cyprus.[72]

On 21.09.2011, Turkey and Northern Cyprus signed an EEZ border agreement in New York.[73][74]

In October 2011, Libya signed cooperation treaties with TRNC government.[75]

In October 2012, Northern Cyprus became an observer member of the Economic Cooperation Organisation under the name "Turkish Cypriot State".

Military[edit]

Turkish Cypriot soldiers of the Security Forces Command perform during a Republic Day parade.

The Security Forces Command consists of a 9,000 strong force primarily made up of conscripted Turkish Cypriot males between the ages of 18 and 40.[citation needed] There is also an additional reserve force which consists of about 10,000 first-line and 16,000 second-line troops conscripted up to the age of 50. The Security Forces Command is lightly armed and heavily dependent on its mainland Turkish allies, from which it draws much of its officer corps.[citation needed] It is led by a Brigadier General drawn from the Turkish Army. It acts essentially as a gendarmerie charged with protection of the border of Northern Cyprus from Greek Cypriot incursions and maintaining internal security within Northern Cyprus.[76]

In addition, the mainland Turkish Armed Forces maintains the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force which consists of around 30–40,000 troops drawn from the 9th Turkish Army Corps and comprising two divisions, the 28th and 39th. It is equipped with a substantial number of US-made M48 Patton main battle tanks and artillery weapons. The Turkish Air Force, Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard also have a presence in Northern Cyprus. Although formally part of Turkish 4th Army, headquartered in İzmir, the sensitivities of the Cyprus situation means that the commander of the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force also reports directly to the Turkish General Staff in Ankara. The Cyprus Turkish Peace Force is deployed principally along the Green Line and in locations where hostile amphibious landings might take place.[76]

The presence of the mainland Turkish military in Cyprus is highly controversial, having been denounced as an illegal occupation force by the Republic of Cyprus and the international community. Several United Nations Security Council resolutions have called on the Turkish forces to withdraw.[6]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Northern Cyprus is divided into five districts. Lefkoşa, Gazimağusa, Girne, Güzelyurt and İskele. In addition there are further 28 sub-districts divided between the 5 larger districts.

Blank district map of Northern Cyprus
Lefkoşa
Girne
İskele
Güzelyurt
Gazimağusa

Human rights[edit]

The law courts building in North Nicosia.

In January 2011, The Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of Human Rights in Cyprus noted that the ongoing division of Cyprus continues to affect human rights throughout the island "... including freedom of movement, human rights pertaining to the question of missing persons, discrimination, the right to life, freedom of religion, and economic, social and cultural rights."[77]

Freedom House has classified the perceived level of democratic and political freedom in Northern Cyprus as "free" since 2000 in its Freedom in the World report.[78][79] The United States Department of State reported in 2001 that human rights were generally respected, although problems existed in terms of police activities and the restriction of movement.[80] A 2009 report reported that religious freedom was generally respected, although isolated incidents of discrimination have existed.[81] The US Department of State report in 2002 stated that freedom of speech and press was generally respected in Northern Cyprus,[82] and the World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranked Northern Cyprus 61st in terms of freedom of the media.[83]

In 2001, the US Department of State said that Greek Cypriot and Maronite minorities are not treated as well as they should be.[80] However, another US Department of State report in 2002 reported that the government of Northern Cyprus was easing restrictions on minorities and it respected the rights of travelling abroad and emigrating,[82] although they still cannot vote in elections.[84] In April 1998, the United Kingdom-based National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns asserted that the Turkish army had carried out a forced migration policy where Kurds were forced to move to Northern Cyprus from the Republic of Turkey, and The Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the United Kingdom in 1999 said that Kurds were not being discriminated against and enjoyed equal political and religious rights to others.[80]

Geography[edit]

Panoramic view of the Güzelyurt District, and the Morphou Bay.
Topographic map of Northern Cyprus with the Kyrenia Mountains to the North and the Karpaz Peninsula to the east.

Northern Cyprus is some 100 miles (161 km) long, 40 miles (64 km) across at its widest points and has a total land area of 1,295 square miles (3,354 km2) nearly one third of the island of Cyprus. 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the north of Northern Cyprus lies Turkey with Syria lying 97 kilometres (60.3 mi) to the east. It lies between latitudes 34° and 36° N, and longitudes 32° and 35° E. The effects of side pressures have formed the countries present shape during different geological ages. Capes have been formed where the land has strength against the erosion of the sea and Gulfs have been formed in areas where the land was weaker and so gave way to erosion. There are two capes, Cape Apostolos Andreas at the end of the Karpaz Peninsula and Cape Kormakitis to the west. There a two gulfs in Northern Cyprus one been the Morphou Bay and other been the Famagusta Bay. The coastline consists of coves, rocky coasts and long golden sandy beaches. The average water temperature is 24C between May and October. Within the northern range of Northern Cyprus is the Kyrenia Mountains. It is a narrow range, approximately 130 km (81 mi) long, running parallel to the coastline and only about 800 metres (2,625 ft) from the coastline. The highest point is Mount Selvili, near the village of Lapta, at 1,023 metres (3,356 ft). The Mesaoria Plain extending between the Northern Range and the Southern Range right across Northern Cyprus from the Güzelyurt District, through to North Nicosia and Famagusta is 20 km (12 mi) long, 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide, covering an area of 962 square kilometres (371 sq mi). The Northern Range affects the Mesaoria Plain climatically, claiming most of the rain brought on by the northerly winds. Northern Cyprus currently shares a land border with the Greek administered part of Cyprus and the British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.[85]

Climate[edit]

The winter in Northern Cyprus is cool and rainy, particularly between December and February, with 60% of annual rainfall.[86] These rains produce winter torrents that fill most of the rivers, which typically dry up as the year progresses. Snow has been known to fall on the Kyrenia Range, but seldom elsewhere in spite of low night temperatures. The short spring is characterized by unstable weather, occasional heavy storms and the "meltem", or westerly wind. Summer is hot and dry enough to turn low-lying lands on the island brown. Parts of the island experience the "Poyraz", a north-westerly wind, or the sirocco, a wind from Africa, which is dry and dusty. Summer is followed by a short, turbulent autumn.

Climate conditions on the island vary by geographical factors. The Mesaoria Plain, cut off from the summer breezes and from much of the humidity of the sea, may reach temperature peaks of 40 to 45 °C (104 to 113 °F). Humidity rises at the Karpaz Peninsula. Humidity and water temperature, 16 to 28 °C (61 to 82 °F), combine to stabilize coastal weather, which does not experience inland extremes. The Southern Range blocks air currents that bring rain and atmospheric humidity from the south-west, diminishing both on its eastern side.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Loggerhead sea turtles
Medoş Tulip (Tulipa cypria) are endemics species native to Northern Cyprus.

About 1500 of the 1900 species contained in the Cyprus flora occur in North Cyprus. The Mediterranean climate, which receives more than 300 days of sun a year, is a major factor contributing to the richness of the natural environment. The vegetation includes 19 endemic plant species which are unique to North Cyprus. There are also 32 species of wild orchids. Just one orchid species Orchid kotschyiha been identified as endemic to North Cyprus. The best known of North Cyprus's endemics species is the Medoş Tulip also known as (Tulipacypria) which grows in the villages of Tepebasi Girne District and Avtepe İskele District where festivals a held in the flower's honor every year in March. All of the most precious of the flora and fauna, orchid species, ancient olives and the endemic have are protected status.

Wild Donkeys inhabit the mainly remote region of the İskele District.

The ancient sycamore fig in front of the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque formally the (Cathedral of St. Nicholas) has witnessed a host of historical and social developments in the course of its long life. The tree, which is reported to have been planted when construction of the cathedral began in 1298, has lived through the Lusignan, Venetian, Ottoman and British periods and still flourishes to this day. This protected Sycamore Fig (Ficussycomorus), which is approximately 710 years old, is reckoned to be the oldest living tree on the island.

The Karpaz National Park area consists of donkeys which roam in the wild and an estimated to number at 250. Generally they are black, but are sometimes ginger in color and are of a breed unique to North Cyprus.

By virtue of its geographical location, Northern Cyprus is also a stop off point for migrating birds. In North Cyprus, more than 370 species of bird can be spotted at various times of the year, particularly during spring and autumn. There are also more than 50 species of butterflys.

Two species of marine turtles choose the beaches of Northern Cyprus to lay their eggs. These are the Loggerhead and the Green Turtle. Every year more than 200 of both species of marine turtles visit the beaches of Northern Cyprus.[87]

Economy[edit]

Kyrenia (Girne) is one of the main tourist resorts in Northern Cyprus. Tourism is one of the dominant sectors of the Northern Cyprus' economy.

The economy of Northern Cyprus is dominated by the services sector (69% of GDP in 2007) which includes the public sector, trade, tourism and education. The revenues gained by the education sector in 2011 was USD 400 million.[88] Industry (light manufacturing) contributes 22% of GDP and agriculture 9%.[89]

Economic development is adversely affected by the continuing Cyprus problem. The Republic of Cyprus, as the internationally recognised authority, has declared airports and ports in the area not under its effective control closed. All UN and EU member states respect the closure of those ports and airports.[90] Because of its disputed status and the embargo placed upon it, Northern Cyprus is heavily dependent on Turkish economic support.[91] Despite some economic development, the country is still dependent on monetary transfers from the Turkish government. Under a July 2006 agreement, Ankara is to provide Northern Cyprus with an economic aid in the amount of $1.3 billion over three years (2006–2008).[89] This is a continuation of ongoing policy under which Turkish government allocates around $400 million annually from its budget to help raise the living standards of the Turkish Cypriots.[92]

Northern Cyprus uses the Turkish Lira as its currency which links its economy to that of Turkey's. Since the Republic of Cyprus joined the Euro zone and the movement of peoples between the north and south has become more free, the Euro is also in wide circulation.[citation needed] Exports and imports have to go via Turkey unless they are produced locally from materials sourced in Cyprus (or imported via one of the island's recognised ports) and may thus be exported via one of the recognised ports.[citation needed]

Despite the constraints imposed by the lack of international recognition, the nominal GDP growth rates of the economy in 2001–2005 were 5.4%, 6.9%, 11.4%, 15.4% and 10.6%, respectively.[93][94] The real GDP growth rate in 2007 is estimated at 2%.[89] This growth has been buoyed by the relative stability of the Turkish Lira and a boom in the education and construction sectors.

Between 2002 and 2007, Gross National Product per capita more than tripled (in current US dollars):[1]

  • US$4,409 (2002)
  • US$5,949 (2003)
  • US$8,095 (2004)
  • US$10,567 (2005)
  • US$11,837 (2006)
  • US$14,047 (2007, provisional)
  • US$16,158 (2008)
A quarry in the Lefkoşa District of Northern Cyprus.

Studies by the World Bank show that the per capita GDP in Northern Cyprus grew to 76% of the per capita GDP in the Republic of Cyprus in PPP-adjusted terms in 2004 (US$22,300 for the Republic of Cyprus and US$16,900 for Northern Cyprus).[93][94] Official estimates for the GDP per capita in current US dollars are US$8,095 in 2004 and US$11,837 in 2006.[1]

In 2011, North Cyprus sold electricity to the Republic of Cyprus following an explosion in the southern part of the island which affected a large power station.[95]

The Northern Cyprus Water Supply Project, due to be completed in early 2014, is aimed at delivering water for drinking and irrigation from southern Turkey via a pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea.[96]

Casino tourism is one of the major sectors of the North Cyprus economy.

International telephone calls are routed via a Turkish dialling code (+90 392) as Northern Cyprus has neither its own country code nor official ITU prefix. Similarly with the internet Northern Cyprus has no top level domain of its own and is under the Turkish second-level domain .nc.tr. Items of mail must be addressed 'via Mersin 10, TURKEY' as the Universal Postal Union does not recognise Northern Cyprus as a separate entity. Amateur radio operators sometimes use callsigns beginning with "1B", but these have no standing for awards or other operating credit.

Direct flights to Northern Cyprus and the trade traffic through the Northern Cypriot ports are restricted as part of the embargo on Northern Cypriot ports.[97] The airports of Geçitkale and Ercan are only recognised as legal ports of entry by Turkey and Azerbaijan.[98] Direct charter flights between Poland and North Cyprus started on 20 June 2011.[99] The seaports in Famagusta and Kyrenia have been declared closed to all shipping by the Republic of Cyprus since 1974.[100] By agreement between Northern Cyprus and Syria, there is a ship tour between Famagusta and Latakia, Syria. Since the opening of the Green Line Turkish Cypriot residents are allowed to trade through Greek Cypriot ports.[101]

Tourism[edit]

Panoramic view of the Kyrenia Harbour, with the Venetian era Kyrenia Castle on the far left, and the Kyrenia Mountains in the background.

Tourism is the basic priority sector for the economic development of Northern Cyprus. In 2005 the tourism industry contributed $145.6 million (3.3 per cent) to the GDP of North Cyprus and created 8.004 jobs. The North Cyprus tourism industry hosted 589.549 tourists, with a bed capacity of 12.222, and with an annual occupancy of 40.7% in 2005.

Escape Beach Club in Karavas (Alsancak), Kyrenia .

Moreover, 395.4 million US dollars was added to the value of the tourism sector in 2005 (Statistical Yearbook of Tourism, 2005). Net tourism revenue has had the greatest share in the invisible account and is especially used in compensating trade deficit. Although there are two airports in Northern Cyprus, the Ercan Airport and Geçitkale Airport, neither have been recognized due to the ongoing disputes involving the political status and recognition of Northern Cyprus. All international flights are done via Turkey by public and private airline companies.

Casinos also contribute significantly to the tourism industry in Northern Cyprus with huge investments on casinos been made by domestic investors and investors from Turkey. Occupancy rates during official holidays and weekends are generally higher due to the influx of tourists from both Turkey and since April 23, 2003 from the south of the island.[102] Marina tourism also developed in recent years; Karpaz Gate Marina of Northern Cyprus became a member of ART Marine’s international marinas network in 2014.[103]

Transport[edit]

Cyprus Turkish Airlines served as the country's national carrier from 1974 up until 2010.

Transportation forms one of the most important basic infrastructure of the economic and social development. This sector provides external economy to other sectors, especially to the tourism sector. The share of Transportation-Communication sector in GDP rose from a mere 6.8% in 1977 to 12.7% in 2002 with 7.4% annual average growth of the sector at constant prices of 1977. Transportation and communication sector covers public highways, airways, maritime lines transportation and telecommunication services, mail services, radio-television services.

There are no railways in Northern Cyprus and all inter-urban transport is by road. There are some 7,000 km (4,350 mi) of roads in the country, about two-thirds of them paved. During the 1980s the Turkish Cypriot authorities upgraded the road from North Nicosia to Kyrenia with funds from Turkish and Saudi sources. A dual carriageway was also built between North Nicosia and Kyrenia. During the recent years, with financial aid from Turkey a major upgrading of the roads began.

The Ercan International Airport serves as the main port of entry into Northern Cyprus.

During this period, a dual carriageway is built between North Nicosia and the Ercan International Airport, and the main Famagusta-North Nicosia road enlarged and upgraded. Under the Western Roads program, the North Nicosia-Güzelyurt road was upgraded along with the road between Famagusta and the Karpaz peninsula.

In 1977 Turkish Cypriot authorities upgraded the former light aircraft strip at Ercan to international standards and built the country's main airport there to facilitate a better air transport link between North Cyprus and Turkey. A second airport has been constructed at Geçitkale in 1986, used for commercial traffic when Ercan International Airport had a major upgrading and extension in that year. In recent years, Greek Cypriots as well frequently use Ercan for their abroad travels.[104][105]

There are four designated seaports in Northern Cyprus. Famagusta, the principal sea port of North Cyprus is and also an important port for cargo transportation. The port has 1,280 metres of quays with drought ranging from 6.7 metres to 11 metres. Some 555,000 sq metres of the outer harbour have been turned into an industrial free trade zone. Kyrenia port is important for tourist and passenger traffic into the country. A new ferry port has been constructed in Kyrenia with a drought of 8 metres. There are regular connections to the southern ports of Turkey, and less often services to Israel and Syria. At Kalecik Port, in Morphou Bay in the west and at Teknecik, Kyrenia there are facilities for conveyor-loaded or baggage cargoes and petroleum unloading bays.[106]

Demographics[edit]

Turkish Cypriot elders playing backgammon.

The Government of Northern Cyprus estimates that the 1983 population of Northern Cyprus was 155,521.[107] Estimates by the government of the Republic of Cyprus from 2001 place the population at 200,000, of which 80–89,000 are Turkish Cypriots and 109,000–117,000 Turkish settlers.[108] An island-wide census in 1960 indicated the number of Turkish Cypriots as 102,000 and Greek Cypriots as 450,000.[109] Estimates state that 36,000 Turkish Cypriots (about one-third of the total) emigrated in the period 1975–1995, with the consequence that within Northern Cyprus the native Turkish Cypriots have been outnumbered by settlers from Turkey.[108]

Northern Cyprus's first official census was performed in 1996. The population recorded was 200,587.[110] The second census, carried out in 2006, revealed the population of Northern Cyprus to be 265,100,[111] of which majority is composed of indigenous Turkish Cypriots, with the rest including a large number of settlers from Turkey. Of the 178,000 Turkish Cypriot citizens, 82% are native Cypriots (145,000). Of the 45,000 people born to non- Cypriot parentage, nearly 40% (17,000) were born in Cyprus. The figure for non-citizens, including students, guest workers and temporary residents stood at 78,000 people.[111][112]

Turkish Cypriot children, dressed in traditional clothing, preparing for a folk-dance show.

In 2010, the International Crisis Group estimated that the total population of Northern Cyprus was 300,000, perhaps half of which were either born in Turkey or are children of such settlers.[113] One source claims that the population in the north has reached 500,000,[114] split between 50% Turkish Cypriots and 50% Turkish settlers or Cypriot-born children of such settlers.[115]

The third official census of Northern Cyprus was carried out in 2011, made under the auspices of UN observers. It returned a total population of 294,906.[116] These results were disputed by some political parties, labour unions and local newspapers. The government was accused of deliberately under-counting the population, after apparently giving an estimate of 700,000 before the census, in order to demand financial help from Turkey.[117][118][119] Northern Cyprus is almost entirely Turkish-speaking. English, however, is widely spoken as a second language.[citation needed]

There are 644 Greek Cypriots living in Rizokarpaso (Dipkarpaz) and 364 Maronites in Kormakitis.[120] Between 180,000 to 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forcibly evicted from their homes in the North by the invading force of the Turkish army.[121][122][123] Rizokarpaso is the home of the biggest Greek-speaking population in the north. The Greek-Cypriot inhabitants are still supplied by the UN, and Greek-Cypriot products are consequently available in some shops.[citation needed]

Diaspora[edit]

According to the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2001, 500,000 Turkish Cypriots were living in Turkey, 200,000 in the United Kingdom, 40,000 in Australia, some 10,000 in North America, and 5,000 in other countries.[124] A more recent estimate, in 2012, states that there is now 500,000 Turkish Cypriots living in Turkey, 300,000 in the United Kingdom, 120,000 in Australia, 5,000 in the United States, 2,000 in Germany, 1,800 in Canada, 1,600 in New Zealand, and a smaller community in South Africa.[125]

Religion[edit]

Shaykh Nazim, was a Turkish Cypriot Sufi Sheikh and former leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order.

The majority of Turkish Cypriots (99%) are Sunni Muslims.[126] However, the secularizing force of Kemalism embraced by the Turkish Cypriot community has generally influenced a fairly moderate attitude toward their religion.[127] Religious practices are kept to a minimum and are considered a matter of individual choice; hence, Turkish Cypriots are not conservative and many do not practice their religion.[128] As they are overwhelmingly secular, alcohol is frequently consumed within the community and most Turkish Cypriot women do not cover their heads.[126] However, religion still plays a role within the community; for example, Turkish Cypriots celebrate Islamic holidays and attend primary rituals, such as marriage and death ceremonies, but do not participate actively in worship services or follow the more conservative practices related to clothing, daily prayer, or attending the services of the mosque.[129] Turkish Cypriot males are generally circumcised at a young age in accordance with religious beliefs, although this practice appears more related to custom and tradition than to powerful religious motivation.[130] In the 300 years of Ottoman rule in Cyprus, the Turks built mostly religious buildings on the island. Hala Sultan Tekke, near the salt lake in Larnaka,[131][132] and the Mevlevi Tekke in North Nicosia are considered to be the most important two tekkes.[133]

Education[edit]

Girne American University in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus.

The education system in Northern Cyprus consists of pre-school education, primary education, secondary education and higher education. Five years of primary education is mandatory.

Higher Education Planning Evaluation Accreditation and Coordination Council (YÖDAK) of Northern Cyprus is a member of International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).[134]

There are 63,000 university students from 110 countries in nine universities in Northern Cyprus (13,000 Turkish Cypriots; 35,000 from Turkey; 15,000 international students):[135][136] Near East University (NEU),[137][138] Girne American University, Middle East Technical University-TRNC, European University of Lefke, Cyprus International University, Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), Istanbul Technical University-TRNC, University of Mediterranean Karpasia, and University of Kyrenia, all established since 1974. EMU is an internationally recognised institution of higher learning with more than 1000 faculty members from 35 countries. There are 15,000 students in EMU representing 68 nationalities. The 8 universities have been approved by the Higher Education Council of Turkey. Eastern Mediterranean University and Near East University [137][138] are full individual members of the European University Association.[139] EMU is a full member of Community of Mediterranean Universities, Federation Universities of Islamic World, International Association of Universities and International Council of Graphic Design Associations.[140] Girne American University, in the northern coastal city of Kyrenia, opened a campus in Canterbury, United Kingdom in 2009,[141] and was accredited by the British Accreditation Council in 2010.[142]

Northern Cyprus regularly participates in international Robocup competition, and took 14th place out of 20 in 2013.[143][144] The country has supercomputers with which it participates in CERN experiments that led to the discovery of the Higgs boson.[145] Northern Cyprus is among the participant countries of 2014 South Africa Solar Challenge.[146]

Culture[edit]

Art[edit]

İsmet Güney designed the current flag of Cyprus in 1960.

Fine arts in the modern sense began the middle of the twentieth century. The modernization of the education system led to these changes and a rapid development took place up until today. The artistic activities are based on Turkish and universal culture evolved after the acceptance of the contemporary way of living. Mehmet Necati is one of the first Turkish Cypriot painters to join the first painting exhibition opened in the Cyprus Museum. He has exhibited four paintings while three of them had the chance to be sold out which encouraged the artist to continue painting throughout his life. Necati Ozkan painted in the impressionist style. Hasan Ozturk who practiced painting merely on his personal skill painted in the naïve style. İsmet Güney, painted in an impressionist style and was the first Turkish Cypriot artist to open his own personal exhibition. İsmet Güney is also best known for his design of the modern flag of Cyprus, the coat of arms of the Republic of Cyprus and the original Cyprus Pound in 1960. Today, the art of Northern Cyprus has emerged rapidly in the international art arena, with artists participating in various exhibitions. The artists execute several art works in the form of painting, sculpturing, ceramic making and in other media. They enjoy their freedom to depict their work in every new style. An annual state exhibition is arranged by the state every year awarding artists. The exhibition of the local artists are organized by the North Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture as well as private galleries.[147]

Music[edit]

Ziynet Sali is a Turkish Cypriot pop singer famous in Northern Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot folk music draws much of its influence from Turkish Anatolian folk music as well as developing its own local characteristics. Most folk music groups were established by the government while others where founded by private institutions. Has-Der which is an Association of Folk Arts is rather active in collecting and editing Turkish Cypriot Folk music and dances as well as some other cultural and anthropological aspects of Northern Cyprus. The first attempt to establish a classical music group had been achieved by a group of musicians who established an amateur Orchestra while the State Symphony Orchestra and Chorus was established in 1975 which enabled musicians to study and produce works on a professional basis. The Symphony Orchestra and chorus gives annual concerts as well as chamber concerts. Rüya Taner is one of the many prominent classical Turkish Cypriot pianists active in Northern Cyprus. She has given many piano recitals and also participated as soloist in several philharmonic orchestra concerts. The special classes offered by the Fine Arts School have enabled the education of new musicians. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Symphony Orchestra also hosts musicians from Turkey and various other countries as well. An active popular music culture also exists in the life of the Turkish Cypriot people with several artists establishing pop music groups. New pieces were also composed and prepared as record players by these musicians since the 1980s. Some groups had the chance to even reproduce the new compositions as cassettes and compact discs while other pop artists had the opportunity to bid in international competitions. Prominent artists from Northern Cyprus include signers such as Ziynet Sali , and music bands such as Babutsa.[148]

Literature[edit]

Poetry is the most widely published form of literature in Northern Cyprus. Turkish Cypriot poetry is based on both the effects of Turkish literature and the culture of the island of Cyprus. Mehmet Yaşın, Hakkı Yücel, Nice Denizoğlu, Neşe Yaşın, Ayşen Dağlı and Canan Sümer are among the most prominent Turkish Cypriot poets. Earlier poets include Nazif Süleyman Ebeoğlu, Urkiye Mine Balman, Engin Gönül, Necla Salih Suphi and Pembe Marmara.[149]

Cinema[edit]

Anahtar (Key), released in 2011, was the first full-length film entirely produced in Northern Cyprus.[150] Some other co-productions have also taken place. A co-production of Northern Cyprus, Turkey, Britain and the Netherlands, Kod Adı Venüs[151] (Code Name Venus) was shown in the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.[152] The film director and screenwriter Derviş Zaim achieved fame with his 2003 film Mud (Çamur) which won the UNESCO award at the Venice Film Festival.

The documentary film Kayıp Otobüs (The Missing Bus), directed by Turkish Cypriot journalist Fevzi Tașpınar, was aired on the TRT TV as well as participating in the Boston Film Festival in 2011. The film tells the story of eleven Turkish Cypriot workers who left their homes in a bus in 1964 that never came back. Their remains were found in a well in Cyprus in October 2006.[153][154]

Theater[edit]

Karagöz and Hacivat are the lead characters of the traditional Turkish shadow play, popularized during the Ottoman period.

Theater in Northern Cyprus is mostly carried out by the Turkish Cypriot State Theater, municipal theaters and a number of private theatrical companies. Cyprus Theater Festival, organised by the Nicosia Turkish Municipality is a large organization with institutions from Turkey participating as well. There are no halls built specifically for theater in Northern Cyprus, so plays take place in conference halls.[155][156] The interest of the Turkish Cypriot people in drama dates back to their origins in Anatolia. Shadow plays such as Karagöz and Hacivat and satirical drams such as tuluat are the origin of this art. The modern drama started early in the 1900s by clubs, schools or associations and which followed with enthusiasm by the local population.

An early Turkish Cypriot theatre group 1880s.

Theater groups frequently visiting North Cyprus from Turkey also contribute to the cultural activities in Northern Cyprus. The first theater group, ‘’Ilk Sahne’’ was established as an independent theater in 1963 and later on changed its status becoming the State Theater - Ilk Sahne (First Stage) in 1966. With the increasing number of the graduates from the Theater and Music Faculties and also by candidates who attended some special classes, the number of staff of the theater increased. The state theater had opened its stages in a new building after 1974 and has continued its activities under the directory of Cyprus Turkish State Theater. More than a hundred plays have been put on the stage until today by the group with continuous plays within the country and abroad, while also hosting theater groups visiting Northern Cyprus. The Theater of Nicosia Turkish Municipality, a group separated from the state theater, established in 1980 also put plays on the stage in its own theater hall in North Nicosia. This was followed by other groups in other towns, each establishing their own theater groups.[157]

Cuisine[edit]

Olive oil is widely used in the cuisine of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriot Cuisine has a unique shape and tradition of preparation and in serving food. In many cafes and restaurants the main focus is on the traditional Turkish Anatolian cuisine, which is very similar to that seen in Istanbul, Antalya and various other parts of Turkey. Turkish Cypriot traditional recipes draw much of its influence from Turkish Cuisine as well as others. Turkish Cypriots widely use olives and olive oil in their menu products, the special sheep's cheese hellim, fresh fish and many varieties of grilled meat. Meze is the traditional starter before the main course. It has different kinds of salads which are served hot and cold. In all restaurants of Northern Cyprus the meze includes 10 to 15 starters and traditional sauces and are served in small plates. The cold meze includes Special olive bread, salted olives, fresh green vegetable salad, marinated vegetables (beetroot, cucumber, and other) fresh yogurt, cacik (yogurt with mint and fresh cucumber), humus (made from chick peas and sesame paste), Dolma (rice wrapped in the grape leaves) and so much more. The hot meze includes: grilled cheese hellim, fried octopus or squid, stewed or stuffed eggplant, meat and sausages, grilled onion and soups (in Turkish - corba), liver and onion and more. After the meze, the main course is often served. The most popular main course in Northern Cyprus is meat which is cooked on an open fire; which can either be on a skewer or on a grill. A very popular dish is from lamb which is cooked in a special traditional stone oven for over 3 hours. In Turkish the dish is called Küp Kebab. Another type of meat which is cooked in Northern Cyprus is called Seftali Kebab.

Baklava is one of the many popular Turkish desserts served in Northern Cyprus.

Also very popular in Northern Cyprus is fresh fish which is fried or grilled as a whole or in small pieces. From the vegetable dishes in Turkish Cypriot cuisine the most famous is stewed vegetables and mushrooms with cheese on top which is baked in the oven. The Turkish name of this dish is Sebzeli Guveç. Next to the main dish rice is always served (which is cooked according to the Turkish recipe and named pilaf) and French potato chips. At the end of every meal is served a varied selection of traditional sweets and fresh fruit. The most popular of these sweets been the rice pudding (Turkish: Sütlac), Kazandebi, Baklava, Ekmek Kadeifi, Ashure, madgun and Turkish Delight. The main coffee in Northern Cyprus is Turkish coffee.[158] Northern Cyprus is also well known for several dishes; among them are kebabs made of skewered lamb Şiş Kebab or ground with herbs and spices and made into a Kofte or Şeftali Kebab. Other dishes are based on meat wrapped in flat bread such as Lahmacun. Vegetarians can find stuffed vegetables based dishes Yalancı Dolma or many other dishes made with a bean or pulse such as Börülce which consists of Swiss chard cooked with black-eyed peas. There are also plant based foods such as Molohiya or root based stews such as Kolokas.[159]

Sport[edit]

Nicosia Atatürk Stadium is the largest stadium in Northern Cyprus.

There are several stadiums in Northern Cyprus, the largest five holding a capacity ranging from 7,000 to 28,000.[160] The most popular sport in Northern Cyprus is soccer. The Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (Turkish: Kibris Türk Futbol Federasyonu) is the main football body in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It organizes football leagues, and the national team. It is not a member of either the FIFA or UEFA, but is affiliated to the New Federations Board which enables Northern Cyprus to compete with various other unrecognized states through events such as the Viva World Cup. The Turkish Cypriot Basketball Federation, founded in 1981, promotes basketball in Northern Cyprus. The organisation has over 1000 registered players, around 50 basketball coaches, and 40 referees taking part in its leagues. The federation has leagues for over 18s, under 18s, under 16, under 14, and under 12.[161] There are over 29 sport federations in Northern Cyprus with a total registered membership of 13,838, 6,054 been registered practitioners for, taekwondo-karate-aikido-kurash, with shooting having (1,150 registered) and hunting having (1,017 registered) members.[162] Northern Cyprus' national football team currently ranks 109th in the Elo Ratings.[163] Several of sport clubs participate in leagues in Turkey. These include the Fast Break Sport Club in Turkey's Men's Basketball Regional League; the Beşparmak Sport Club in Turkey's Handball Premier League; and the Lefke European University Turkey Table-tennis Super League. Water sports such as windsurfing, jetskiing, waterskiing and sailing are also available at beaches throughout the coastline of Northern Cyprus. Sailing is especially found at Escape Beach Club, near Kyrenia.

See also[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

For a detailed survey of the archaeology, art, and historical architecture of the region see Allan Langdale, 'In a Contested Realm: an Illustrated Guide to the Archaeology and Historical Architecture of Northern Cyprus' Grimsay Press, 2012.

  • North Cyprus – a Pocket-Guide. Rustem Bookshop, Nicosia. 2006. ISBN 9944-968-03-X. 

External links[edit]

Official
Other links