Thursday, October 15, 2015

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

In 1974, in response to a coup wanting to unite Cyprus with Greece, Turkey invaded the north under the guise of protecting Turkish Cypriots.  After several years of failed attempts to form a federation with the south, the north declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983.

Turkey is the only country to recognise it as an independent state.  The rest of the world recognises the Republic of Cyprus and sees the north as an illegally occupied area by Turkey.

Northern Cyprus takes up about 37% of the island.  Official estimates of the population are 300,000 however some people think it is much higher as there are no reliable records of how many settlers have moved in from Turkey.

There are seven border crossings between the two sides.  Nicosia is divided and it is the capital of both sides.  While both Greek and Turkish are the official languages in the south, Turkish is the only official language in the north.

Turkish Lira

All imports and exports have to go through Turkey as all of the northern air and sea ports are closed to international traffic by the south.  This and lack of international recognition makes it very dependent on Turkey.  Turkish Lira is the official currency.

Talks on reunification resumed earlier this year.  The Cyprus issue is a major blocker to Turkey's desire to join the European Union.  

There is no way that Cyprus or Greece will let Turkey join the EU while there are still Turkish troops in Northern Cyprus.

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