Birds and animals
Brief Historical Survey
Republic of Cyprus - 1960
Turkish Invasion and Occupation
Overall Social Policy
Cyprus is situated in the north-eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, 33° east of Greenwich and 35° north of the Equator and has an area of 9.251 square kilometres, of which 1.733 are forested.
The present population of Cyprus is 765.000 of whom 653.000 (85,3%) are Greek Cypriots, 87.700 (11,5%) are Turkish Cypriots and 24.500 (3,2%) are foreigners residing in Cyprus.
The capital of the island is Nicosia (Lefkosia) with á population of 200.500 in the sector controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. It is situated roughly in the centre of the island and is the seat of government as well as the main business centre. The 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of 35% of the island's territory literally cut the capital in half. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nicosia remains the only militarily divided capital in the world.
The second largest town is Limassol in the south which has around 157.500 inhabitants. It is Cyprus' main commercial port and an important tourist resort.
Larnaca, in the south-east of the island, has á population of 70.500 and is the island's second commercial port and also an important tourist resort. To the north of the town is located the island's oil refinery, while to the south is situated Larnaca's International Airport.
Finally, Paphos in the south-west with á population approaching 45.900 is á fast developing tourist resort, home to the island's second International Airport and it has an attractive fishing harbour.
In the Turkish occupied area, the town of Famagusta, the centre of the pre-1974 tourist iindustry, is now á ghost town, deserted since 1974 when its inhabitants fled from advancing Turkish troops. The town of Kyrenia, another important tourist resort is the north coast of Morphou situated in the important agricultural area of western Messaoria, is now inhabited almost exclusively by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers as the Greek Cypriots were forced in 1974 to abandon their homes and properties and move to the south under the threat of guns of the Turkish occupation army.
Since the Turkish invasion and occupation of over a third of the island, the demographic balance has changed dramatically as a result of Turkey's population policies. There are now around 115.000 illegal Turkish settlers in the occupied area, while an estimated 55.000 Turkish Cypriots have emigrated.
Cyprus is divided into three geological zones, the Pendadaktylos or Kyrenia range to the north, the Troodos massif to the south, and the Messaoria plain separating the two.
The Droodos Range
This is a dome-shaped highland of mainly infertile igneous rocks forming the backbone of the island and situated in the central-western part of the island. It is a region of high relief rising to 1.951 meters in Mount Olympus. Several torrents spring racially from Troodos ending in the sea. The forests which cover the Troodos massif combined with its steep slopes and precipices and narrow valleys and crevices help create a beautiful scenery. The hard igneous rocks are surrounded by a lower belt of dome-shaped pillow lava, a most infertile area which levels gradually towards the coast.
The Troodos Mountains, geologically described as the Troodos massif of Troodos Ophiolite Complex, occupy a roughly oval area of 3.200 km² in the central and western part of the island. The Troodos massif formed almost entirely of uppermost Cretaceous (about 85 million years ago) mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks, is regarded as one of the best exposed and underformed ophiolites (fragment of oceanic lithosphere and upper mantle).
The Kyrenia Range
This northern mountain range, mainly of limestone, rises up to 1.024 metres at Kyparissovouno. Part of this range consists of a finger-shaped mountain known as "Pendadaktylos" (five-fingers). It is in this picturesque mountain range that the three famous castles of St. Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara are found. A number of crevices have helped the development of a network of communications with the northern coastal valleys. Karpassia, the north-eastern part of the range, is a continuation of Pendadaktylos consisting of hills, slopes and valleys free of foldings and other tectonic features.
The Pendadaktylos Range is made of á succession of mostly allochthonous sedimentary formations ranging from Permian to Middle Miocene in age. The oldest rocks consist of a series of allochthonous recrystallised limestones and dolomites (Dhikomo, Sykhari and St. Hilarion Formations) the age of which range from Permian to Middle Cretaceous.
The Mesaoria or Central Plain
The central plain is situated between the Troodos and Kyrenia mountain ranges and has a low relief, not exceeding 180 metres near Nicosia. This plain is composed ïf flyschtype rocks carried by rivers from the Troodos and Kyrenia ranges and was formed during a very recent chronological period (holocene). The Messaoria plain is formed of a succession of upper cretaceous to pleistocene sedimentary rocks.
Notwithstanding its small size, Cyprus has a wide variety of natural vegetation. This includes forests of hardwood, evergreen and broadleaved trees such as pinus latepensis, cedar, cypressus and oak. About 17% of the whole island is classified as woodland. Where the forest has been destroyed, tall shrub communities may survive. Over most of the island untilled ground bears a grazed covering of garigue, lagerly composed of low bushes. Where grazing is excessive this covering is soon reduced, and an impoverished batha remains, and a few stunted herbs. There are about 1.900 species and subspecies of flowering plants, 140 of them endemic.
Birds and animals
Cyprus has been endowed with a rich fauna including á large number of endemic birds, reptiles and animals. Because of its position, Cyprus is also a vital stop-over place for thousands of migratory birds which find the island an ideal place for both feeding and refuge. Among the animals the moufflon occupies an outstanding position and is considered as one of the natural treasures of the island. The moufflon belongs to the sheep family but this species is unique in the world. This interesting and noble beast, which is the symbol of the Cyprus Republic and is used on its coins, had long been in danger of extinction, but it is a fully protected animal, today.
The fauna of Cyprus includes 25 species of mammals, 26 species of amphibians and reptiles, 357 species of birds, and a great variety of invertebrates. The coastal waters of the island give shelter to 197 fish species and to various species of crabs, sponges and echinodermata.
Cyprus has an intense Mediterranean climate with the typical seasonal rhythm strongly marked in respect of temperature, rainfall and weather generally. Hot, dry summers from mid-May to mid-September and rainy, rather changeable winters from mid-November to March-March are separated by short autumn and spring seasons.
The average rainfall from December to February is about 60% of the average annual total precipitation for the island as a whole, which is 500 mm. Autumn and winter rainfall, on which agriculture and water supply generally depend, tends to be variable. Snow occurs rarely in the lowland and on the northern range but falls every winter on ground above 1.000 metres.
Temperatures are high in summer and the mean daily temperature in July and August ranges between 29°C on the central plain to 22°C on the Troodos mountains, while the average maximum temperature for these months ranges between 36°C and 27°C respectively. Winters are mild with a mean January temperature of 10°C of the central plain and 3°C on the higher parts of the Troodos mountains and with an average minimum temperature of 5°C and 0°C respectively.
Relative humidity of the air is on average between 60% and 80% in winter and between 40% and 60% in summer with even lower values over island areas around midday. Fog is infrequent and visibility is generally very good. Sunshine is abundant during the whole year and particularly from April to September when the average duration of bright sunshine exceeds 11 hours per day.
Winds are generally light to moderate and variable in direction. Strong winds may occur sometimes, but gales are infrequent over Cyprus and are mainly confined to exposed coastal areas as well as areas at high elevation.
The island's largest wild animal, the moufflon (Ovis gmelini ophion), is a rate type of wild sheep that can be found only in Cyprus. This rare endemic animal is strictly protected and its population has revived from near extinction, at the beginning of the century, to about 1.500 animals, at present.
The island is used by millions of birds during their migration from Europe to Africa and back again, the main reason being the occurrence on the island of two coastal wetlands, with unique and international importance, i.e. the Larnaca and Akrotiri Salt Lakes. Of the numerous wild birds of Cyprus, birds of prey are the most fascinating and among them the Eleonora´s Falcon (Falco eleonarae) and the Imperial Eagle (Aguilla heliaca) are the jewel of the crown. From the sea creatures, such as seals and turtles, the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) breed regularly in the island’s sandy beaches. A successful conservation project was launched in order to protect the Green and Loggerhead turtles. The programme, which includes a hatchery, is a model one in the Mediterranean. As far as seals are concerned, although they no longer breed in the coastal sea caves, however, occasional sightings have been reported. Seals, dolphins and turtles are protected under the Fisheries Law.
Brief Historical Survey
Cyprus, according to mythology, is the birthplace of the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The island is both an ancient land, with an eleven thousand year-old history and civilisation as well as a young independent Republic since 1960. Its geographic location at the crossroads of three continents-Europe, Asia and Africa - and at the meeting point of great civilisations, has been one of the factors influencing the course of the island's history throughout the centuries.
Republic of Cyprus - 1960
According to the Zurich-London agreements, Cyprus became an independent republic on the 16th August 1960. As an independent country it became a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth and the Non-Aligned Movement. According to the above treaty, Britain retained two sovereign bases (158,5 sq. km) on the island, at Dhekelia and Akrotiri-Episkopi.
The Zurich - London agreements comprised the Treaty of Establishment, the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance. Under the Treaty of Establishment, Britain retained sovereignty over 256 sq. kilometres in Dhekelia and Akrotiri. These are known as the sovereignty Base Areas. Under the Treaty of Guarantee, Britain, Greece and Turkey pledged to ensure the independence, territorial integrity of Cyprus as well as respect for its Constitution. The Treaty of Alliance between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey was a military alliance agreed for defense purposes. These agreements also became the basis for the 1960 Constitution.
The Constitution incorporated a system of entrenched minority rights unparalleled in any other country, making it not only divisive in nature but also unworkable. The Turkish Cypriot leadership's use of its extensive powers of veto gave rise to deadlock and inertia. In November 1963, when President Makarios put forward proposals for amendment of the Constitution in order to facilitate the smooth smooth functioning of government, Ankara promptly rejected them, before the Turkish Cypriot side had time to consider the matter.
The Turkish Cypriot ministers withdrew from the Council of Minister and Turkish Cypriot civil servants ceased attending their offices. The ensuring constitutional deadlock gave rise to intercommunal clashes and Turkish threats to invade. Since then, the aim of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, acting on instructions from the Turkish Government, has been the partitioning of Cyprus and its annexation to Turkey.
Turkish Invasion and Occupation
On 15 July 1974 the ruling military junta of Greece staged a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Government of Cyprus.
On 20 July Turkey, using the coup as a pretext, invaded Cyprus, purportedly to restore constitutional order. Instead, it seized 35% of the territory of Cyprus in the north, an act universally condemned as a gross infringement of international law and the UN Charter. Turkey, only 75 kms (47 miles) away, had repeatedly claimed, for decades before the invasion and frequently afterwards, that Cyprus was of vital strategic importance to it. Ankara has defied á host of UN resolutions demanding the withdrawal of its occupation troops from the island.
On 1 November 1974, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted Resolution 3212, the first of many resolutions calling for respect for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus and for the speedy withdrawal of all foreign troops.
According to the Constitution of 1960 the government of Cyprus was constituted in the following manner. Executive power: Article 1 provides that the Republic will have a President who shall be a Greek Cypriot and a Vice President who shall be a Turkish Cypriot, elected by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities respectively. The Constitution stipulates further that the President will appoint seven Greek Cypriot Ministers and the Vice President three Turkish Cypriot Ministers.
Legislative power according to the Constitution is exercised by the House of Representatives comprising 50 Representatives, 70% (35) elected by the Greek Cypriot community and 30% (15) by the Turkish Cypriot community.
The administration of justice is carried out by the following judicial institutions: The Supreme Court, the Assize Court, the District Courts, the Military Court, the Rent Control Courts, Industrial Disputes Court and Family Courts.
The 1960 constitutional set up lasted for only three years. Following the Turkish Cypriot rebellion against the state in December 1963, the Turkish Cypriot leadership withdrew all members of the community from all the organs of the state.
The President and the Vice-President of the Republic were jointly responsible for establishing a, Council) of Ministers. Of three key ministries - foreign affairs, defence, and finance, one was to be held by a Turkish Cypriot. The President and the Vice-President were also given the right to terminate the appointment of any Minister designated by themselves.
The President and the Vice-President of the Republic were granted considerable authority in relation to the legislature, including either conjointly or separately, a right of final veto on any law or decision of the House of Representatives relating to foreign affairs, defence and security. Furthermore, they had, either separately or conjointly, the right to return any law or decision of the House of Representatives, or any decision of the Council of Ministers.
The President and the Vice-President of the Republic were required to promulgate a Law or decision of the House of Representatives by publication in the official Gazette of the Republic within 15 days of notification unless they chose to exercise their right of veto, their right to return the legislation or to refer it to the Supreme Constitutional Court for a ruling on its constitutionality.
The main organ for the exercise of the executive power under the 1960 Constitution is the Council of Ministers, which enjoys all the residuary of executive power other than that specifically reserved for the President and the Vice-President of the Communal Chambers.
The legislative power of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives in all matters not expressly reserved for the Communal Chambers (Article 61). The 1960 Constitution stipulated that there should be 50 members of which 70%, that is to say 35, were to be elected by the Greek community and 30% that is to say 15, by the Turkish community. Under a special Law passed in 1985, the number of seats in the House of Representatives was increased to 80. The representatives are elected for five years.
The administration of justice is exercised by the island's separate and independent judiciary. Under the 1960 Constitution and other legislation in force, the following judicial institutions have been established: The Supreme Court of the Republic, the Assize Court (Permanent Assize Court for all Districts), District Courts, the Military Court, the Industrial Disputes Court, Rent Control Courts and Family Courts.
Public Service of the Republic
The Public Service of the Republic under the 1960 settlement was to be comprised 70% of Greek Cypriots and 30% of Turkish Cypriots. A Public Service Commission consisting of a Chairman and nine other members - seven Greek Cypriots, and three Turkish Cypriots - appointed for a term of six years by the President and the Vice-President of the Republic, was also created. The Commission was given responsibility for allocating public offices between the two communities and appointing, promoting, transferring and retiring staff as well as exercising disciplinary control, including dismissal and removal from office.
The definition and protection of fundamental human rights and liberties was catered for in the London Agreement rather than the Zurich Agreement. Article 5 of the Treaty of Establishment of the Republic undertook to secure for everyone within its jurisdiction, human rights and fundamental freedoms comparable to those set out in Section 1 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which Cyprus is a party.
Part II of the Constitution sets out a broad range of human rights, including all eighteen rights provided by the European Convention and its Protocols. These cover both individual and social rights such as the right to life, prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery or forced or compulsory labour, the right to liberty and security of person, the fair and public hearing of civil and criminal trials, the right to privacy, the right to marry, the freedom of thought and expression, the right to property, the right to education and the right to effective remedy. Other rights include the right to a decent existence and social security, the right to work, the right to enter into any contract, the right to form and join trade unions, the right to strike, the right to address written petitions or complaints to the competent authorities for a remedy, and the right of equality before the Law. Justice is guaranteed to any person without any direct or indirect discrimination.
Cyprus is an independent sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government.
Under the 1960 Constitution, executive power is vested in the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage to a five-year term of office. The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him. The Ministers may be chosen from outside the House of Representatives.
Each Minister is the head of his Ministry and exercises executive power of all subjects within that Ministry's domain.
The Legislative power of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives in all matters. The term of office of the House of Representatives is five years. Members of the government may not be members of the House of Representatives. The two offices are incompatible, and if a member of the House is appointed by the President to become a minister, he must relinquish his seat in the House. Both representatives and ministers have the right to introduce bills in the House. However representatives are not permitted to introduce any bills related to an increase in budgetary expenditure.
Cyprus is divided into six administrative districts. These are Nicosia (the island's capital and seat of government), Famagusta, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and Kyrenia.
Each district is headed by á District Officer who is essentially the local representative or extended arm of the central government. The District Officer holds a position analogous to Prefect in France or Commissioner in some other countries. The District Officer acts as the chief-coordinator of the activities of all ministries in the district. District Officers report and are answerable to the Ministry of the Interior, which is headed by a Permanent Secretary as chief administrator.
The general local administrative structure in Cyprus operates through a 3-tier system, with municipal councils at the top, improvement boards in the middle and village commissions at the lowest level. These are independent bodies responsible for the management of affairs in their respective areas and there is no hierarchical relationship between them. Municipalities provide the local government for district towns and a number of large villages, while improvement boards and village commissions constitute the local structures in all remaining villages. Economically stronger villages whose communities are able to shoulder heavier burdens and responsibilities are promoted to the intermediate level of Improvement Boards, whose functions and authorities are wider.
Members of the above bodies are elected by universal suffrage of citizens over 18 years old. Central government involvement is essentially limited to the provision of technical and administrative support and supervision.
Independent Officers and Bodies
A number of officers and bodies are independent and do not come under any Ministry. The independent officers of the Republic under the Constitution are the Attorney-General and Auditor-General, who head the law Office and Audit Office respectively, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus. The Ombudsman is also an independent officer of the Republic whose position, however, was created much later, in 1991.
The bodies with independent functions include the Public Service Commission, the Educational Service Commission and the Planning Bureau.
Cyprus has a record of successful economic performance, reflected in rapid growth, full employment conditions and external and internal stability, almost throughout the post-independence period. The underdeveloped economy, inherited from Colonial Rule in 1960, has been transformed into a modern economy, with dynamic services, industrial and agricultural sectors and advanced physical and social infrastructure. In terms of per capita income, currently estimated at US$13.125 (2000), Cyprus is classified among~ the high-income countries. These achievements appear are the more striking, bearing in mind the severe economic and social dislocation created by the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the continuing occupation of the northern part of the island by Turkey.
The success of Cyprus in the economic sphere is attributed, inter alia, to the adoption of a market oriented economic system, the pursuance of sound macroeconomic policies by the government as well as the existence of a dynamic and flexible entrepreneurship and a highly educated labour force. Moreover, the economy has benefited from the close cooperation between the public sector and the social partners.
During the last decade, the Cyprus economy intensified its links to Europe. The relations with the European Union, the largest trading partner of Cyprus, are currently governed by a Customs Union Agreement, which basically provides for a gradual and mutual dismantling of trade barriers. In July 990, the government of the Republic of Cyprus submitted an application to become a full member of the European Union. The European Commission, in its opinion on the application of Cyprus, recognised the ability of the Cyprus economy to adapt rapidly to the acquis communautaire.
In 2000 the Cyprus economy registered a growth rate of 5% which is considered satisfactory compared with the growth rates of the EU and the world economy. Full employment conditions continued to prevail as the employment rate was only 3, 3%. Inflation rate accelerated to 4, 1% due to higher international oil prices and the serious drought which affected the agricultural sector. The fiscal deficit declined to 3, 5% and it is in line with the targets for macroeconomic convergence with the Maastricht Criteria.
The foundations of Cyprus' tourism were laid in the early sixties. Its progress had been smooth and successful until the summer of the 1974 Turkish invasion. All economic activity came to a standstill and the tourist sector suffered a devastating blow when the two highly-developed regions of Famagusta and Kyrenia fell in the hands of the invaders. This had as a result the loss of 13.000 beds constituting 71,7% of the total bed capacity at the time, plus 5.000 beds under construction and about 40% of the island's tourist facilities in restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs.
The government, through the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CT0), which is a semi-government organization responsible for the planning, promotion and marketing of the tourist industry, and the island's hoteliers and other related tourist professionals, worked hard for the reactivation of tourism in the free areas of the Republic and the re-establishment of Cyprus on the world tourist map. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism oversees the activities of the Organization.
Overall Social Policy
The importance of an effective social services system has been especially apparent in Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974. The uprooting of a quarter of the population created many social problems and increased the dependence of vulnerable groups on the state. Initially, government policy focused on meeting the basic survival requirements of refugees and others through cash grants and aid in kind. Since then, it has gradually moved towards providing long-term housing services, free secondary education, health services and a wage-related social insurance scheme, scholarships and loans for needy students to study abroad, infrastructural building such as new schools, hospitals and various welfare institutions such as old people's homes, geriatric centres, community welfare centres, children and youth homes, hostels and day care centres.
The basic objectives of government social policy are:
· To secure a minimum acceptable standard of living for all citizens, especially for those who do not participate - or participate to a limited extent - in the productive process;
· To attain a more equitable distribution of the national income and of the tax burden, both between different income groups and regions (special emphasis is attached to improving the income position of refugees); and
· To implement and improve existing social programmes while preparing the introduction of new programmes institutions and schemes.
The standard of health of the Cypriot population compares favourably with that of the population of developed countries.
Cyprus has been successfully freed of common infections and parasitic diseases and the pattern of morbidity resembles that of developed industrial nations with cardiovascular diseases, malignancies and car accidents predominating as the causes of death. It should be pointed out that Cyprus has successfully eliminated malaria in the past and more recently echinococciasis, through the implementation of special campaigns. Current educational and preventive programmes are proving successful in almost eliminating the incidence of thalassaemia, which was a severe health problem.
Greek and Turkish are the official languages. English is widely spoken. French and German are also spoken within the tourism Industry.
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