Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus


The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), in Turkish Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti, is a self-proclaimed state occupying the northern third of the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. It is not recognised by any country except Turkey. All other governments and the United Nations recognise the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island of Cyprus.

The TRNC has a population of about 190,000 and an area of 3,355 square kilometres. Its population is almost entirely Turkish-Cypriot. There are small numbers of Greeks and Lebanese. The TRNC includes the northern part of the city of Nicosia (in Turkish Lefkoşa), which serves as the TRNC's capital.

The separate state of northern Cyprus was proclaimed in 1975 under the name "Turkish Federated State of Northern Cyprus." The name was changed to its present form in 1982. The area of the TRNC corresponds to the area occupied during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Turkish invasion was a response to the coup attempt by Greek Cypriot extremists attempting to bring about enosis (union) with Greece.

The Republic of Cyprus has consistently refused to recognise the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus or the 1975 declaration of independence in any way, and this refusal has been supported by all countries except Turkey. In retaliation, the TRNC refers to the Republic of Cyprus as the "Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus".

TRNC leader Rauf Denktaş (left) with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former Cypriot President Glafkos Klerides

The 1975 declaration of independence was condemned by the United Nations Security Council's Resolutions 541 and 550, which declared it legally invalid, called for Turkey's immediate withdrawal and urged all member states not to recognise it. The TRNC maintains informal relations with some Middle-Eastern countries, particularly Lebanon.

The TRNC is a democracy, with a president elected for a five-year term. President Rauf Denktaş was last elected in April 2000. The TRNC's legislature is the House of Representatives (Temsilciler Meclisi), which has 50 members elected by proportional representation from five electoral districts. In the elections of December 14, 2003, the opposition Republican Turkish Party overtook the ruling Party of National Unity (Ulusal Birlik Partisi) to become the largest parliamentary party. The legislature is now evenly divided between opposition and government parties, with the two sides holding 25 seats each.

The TRNC is heavily dependent on Turkish military and economic support. It uses the Turkish Lira as its currency. All TRNC exports and imports are via Turkey, as are its communication links. International telephone calls are routed via a Turkish dialling code, +90 392, on the Internet TRNC is under the Turkish second-level domain, and mail must be addressed to 'Mersin 10, TURKEY' as the Universal Postal Union refuses to recognise the TRNC as a separate entity (mail sent to 'CYPRUS' will be returned to sender as 'undeliverable').

Ercan airport is not recognized as a port of entry, and flights must stop over in Turkey first. Anyone who has a TRNC immigration stamp may be refused entry by the Republic of Cyprus or Greece. The Republic of Cyprus does allow day trips across the Green Line from Nicosia into the TRNC, since the TRNC does not require a visa or leave entry stamps for such visits, but visiting the Republic of Cyprus from the North is not allowed.

The forthcoming accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union has produced a political crisis in the TRNC, because its residents will not have access to the privileges of EU membership, particularly the right to work anywhere in the EU, which will be open to Cypriot citizens. In 2002 there were large demonstrations in the TRNC against the continuation of the division of Cyprus. During 2003, pro-EU parties campaigned vigorously against the government of Rauf Denktaş, standing for election on a platform of replacing him as the republic's chief negotiator and pushing for a settlement that could take the north into the EU as part of a reunited Cyprus.

External links