Cyprus: Background & Geography

Introduction Cyprus
Background:
Independence from the UK was approved in 1960, with constitutional guarantees by the Greek Cypriot majority to the Turkish Cypriot minority. In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled almost 40% of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," but it is recognized only by Turkey. UN-led direct talks between the two sides to reach a comprehensive settlement to the division of the island began in January 2002 and will reach a culmination when a referendum of all Cypriots is held on 21 April 2004, just 10 days before the Greek part of Cyprus is scheduled to join the EU.
Geography Cyprus
Location:
Middle East, island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
35 00 N, 33 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
Area:
total: 9,250 sq km (of which 3,355 sq km are in the Turkish Cypriot area)
water: 10 sq km
land: 9,240 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.6 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
0 km
Coastline:
648 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters
Terrain:
central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Olympus 1,951 m
Natural resources:
copper, pyrites, asbestos, gypsum, timber, salt, marble, clay earth pigment
Land use:
arable land: 14.4%
permanent crops: 4.5%
other: 81.1% (2001 est.)
Irrigated land:
382 sq km (2001 est.)
Natural hazards:
moderate earthquake activity; droughts
Environment - current issues:
water resource problems (no natural reservoir catchments, seasonal disparity in rainfall, sea water intrusion to island's largest aquifer, increased salination in the north); water pollution from sewage and industrial wastes; coastal degradation; loss of wildlife habitats from urbanization
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note:
the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia)

See Also: