officially the Republic of Cyprus a, Kypriaki´
Dimokratía, Turkish: Kibris Cumhuriyeti),
is a European island country situated in the eastern
Mediterranean, south of Turkey, west of Syria,
Lebanon, and Israel, east of Greece, and north
Cyprus is the Mediterranean's third largest island,
and one of its most popular tourist destinations,
attracting over 2.4 million tourists per year.
A former British colony, it became an independent
republic in 1960 and a member of the Commonwealth
in 1961. The Republic of Cyprus is one of the
advanced economies in the region, and has been
a member of the European Union since 1 May 2004.
In 1974, following 11 years of intercommunal violence
(1963–1974) between the Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots, and an attempted coup d'état
by Greek Cypriot nationalists who aimed at annexing
the island to Greece and were backed by the Greek
military junta then in power in Athens, Turkey
invaded and occupied 37% of the island. The Turkish
military intervention was secretly backed by the
United States and NATO. This led to the displacement
of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment
of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity
in the north. This event and its resulting political
situation are matters of ongoing dispute.
The Republic of Cyprus, the internationally recognised
state, has de jure sovereignty over the entire
island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters except
small portions that are allocated by treaty to
the United Kingdom as sovereign military bases.
The island is de facto partitioned into four main
the area under the effective control of the Republic
of Cyprus, comprising about 59% of the island's
area in the south; the Turkish-occupied area in
the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus, covering about 37% of the
island's area and recognised only by Turkey;
the United Nations-controlled Green Line, separating
the two, covering about 3% of the island's area;
two British Sovereign Base Areas (Akrotiri and
Dhekelia), covering about 3% of the island's area.
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