Cyprus: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
Cyprus has a population of just over 1.2 million (2016 estimate). About 850,000 people are ethnically Greek and live in the southern part of the island, the Republic of Cyprus. The Republic has de jure jurisdiction over the whole island, and its official languages are Greek and Turkish. Most Cypriots speak good English, which is extensively used in business and commerce and is one of the key factors in the island's economic success.
The main cities in the government-controlled area are Nicosia (the capital and business centre), Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca, these last three being coastal cities and important centres of the tourist industry.
Due to its location, the island has played a full part in Mediterranean history, and its essentially Greek culture has been leavened with many other influences. Classical ruins abound, though the most important modern influence has probably been that of the British, whose rule is the main reason behind the island's Western-style business environment.
Cyprus successfully completed the EU accession process, and in May 2004, the island joined the EU. A referendum on the proposed 'Annan Plan' to reunify Cyprus was heavily defeated in the Greek Cypriot zone, though the Turkish Cypriot north voted in favour. As it is considered occupied territory, the EU's acquis communautaire is temporarily suspended in the north. Negotiations are ongoing, but when or even whether reunification will take place remains unclear.
About 250,000 Turkish Cypriots and Turkish immigrants live in the northern part of the island, which is separated from the south by a UN-supervised buffer zone. It styles itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, though this has no international validity as it is only recognised by Turkey. The official language of Northern Cyprus is Turkish.