Following the 1960 Constitution, Cyprus is an
independent, democratic, unified state and largely
presidential republic. Since the Turkish invasion of 1974,
however, the constitution has only been in force for the
Greek-Cypriot, southern part of the island. The northern
part, Northern Cyprus, was in 1983 it was proclaimed an
independent state, but is recognized only by Turkey and
considered by the rest of the world community as an occupied
part of Cyprus. In 1985, Northern Cyprus was given a new
constitution. Several attempts at reunification have failed.
President, Government and National Assembly
The president, who is the head of state and, in effect,
also the head of government, is elected in general elections
for five years. The Vice President is supposed to belong to
the Turkish minority under the Constitution, but this
position has been vacant since 1974.
Legislative authority has been added to the House of
Representatives. After the division of the island, it has 56
members, elected in the general election for five years.
According to the Constitution, the Turkish People's Group
shall have 24 members of the House of Representatives. Also,
the Northern Cypriot Republic, by its constitution, has
elected an elected president and a government from a
50-member popular assembly.
Both the Greek and Turkish state have a multi-party
Administratively, Cyprus is divided into six districts,
each governed by a government-appointed official. The
districts cross the border between the two states. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how CY can stand for Cyprus.
The highest court is the supreme court, with ten members,
appointed by the president. It is appellate court in both
civil and criminal cases. Otherwise, there are prosecutors
for serious criminal cases, and, as first instance courts,
district courts. A Supreme Judicial Council appoints judges
to the courts of the Supreme Court and otherwise has a
supervisory function with the judiciary.
In the Turkish part of Cyprus there is a separate
judicial system. There are separate Greek ecclesiastical and
Turkish Islamic family courts.
Cyprus' foreign policy
The conflict between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish
Cypriots (Northern Cyprus) and their close relations with
respective Greece and Turkey is also the main premise of
Cyprus's foreign policy.
Cyprus has a close relationship with Greece for cultural
and political reasons, although it has at times been
difficult due to Greek intervention in Cypriot politics - as
in the 1974 coup d'état, when the right-wing, militant group
EOKA B, fought for union ("Enosis") with Greece, took power
in Cyprus, supported by the Athens military junta. Cyprus
also has a close relationship with the United Kingdom, both
former colonial powers, a guarantor of the country's
independence and having retained two military bases on the
With the application for EU membership in 1990 and the
membership from 2005, Cypriot foreign policy gained a wider
field of impact. Following the dissolution of the Soviet
Union, there were close relations with Russia, not least in
the form of economic relations; a number of foreign
companies - including many Russian - have established
themselves on the island.
During the Lebanese civil war, many Lebanese took refuge
In 2016, the first-time service in the Greek Cypriot
National Guard was reduced from 24 months to 14 months, as
part of a move towards a more professional army. Cyprus's
closest ally is Greece, and the country has defense policy
ties with France and Israel.
The total number of sicknesses for Cyprus's armed forces
is 15,000 active personnel, with a reserve of 50,000
personnel (2018, IISS), all in the National Guard. In
addition, there are about 750 semi-military police forces.
Greece and the United Kingdom have forces in Cyprus, with
950 and 2260 personnel respectively. The UN also has a
presence through the UNFICYP peacekeeping operation, with an
international staff of around 535 personnel.
In 2018, Turkey had a force of about 33,800 personnel
stationed in the Turkish-occupied section.
The National Guard has a workforce of 15,000 active
personnel including conscripts, and has a reserve of 50,000
personnel. Material comprising 134 tanks (82 T-80 and 52
AMX-30), 69 reconnaissance vehicles, 43 armored vehicles,
294 armored personnel carriers, 33 armored fighters and 24
self-propelled artillery. In addition, the National Guard
has heavy artillery, medium range air defense missiles and
air defense artillery.
The National Guard also has a sea component consisting of
six patrol boats, and an air component consisting of two
aircraft and 20 helicopters, of which 11 Mi-35 combat