Cyprus Country Report
As in the past, the majority of trips to the small island nation of Cyprus (population 1.17 million), located in the eastern Mediterranean, are carried out under excellent conditions despite the country’s tormented political history.
Foreign visitors to the island should take a few moments to familiarize themselves with Cyprus’ unique political situation. This island nation is divided into two distinct and autonomous zones. In actuality, the internationally-recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus only controls the southern half of the island and its ethnic Greek population. The north is under the control of an autonomous administration of ethnically Turkish Cypriots.
A reunification initiative has been underway since March 2008. Since 1974, the island has remained divided by the “Green Line” between the Greek south and the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” in the north, a “state” recognized only by Turkey. In May 2015, reunification talks started once again after previously failed attempts. Leaders of both parts of the island agreed to open more border crossing points – a sign of positive talks among the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders. Some have stated that the latest round of negotiations are the best chance yet for the island to finally be reunited.
Presidential elections in the south of the island are scheduled to be held in 2018; the next legislative elections will take place in May 2021.
Regarding socioeconomic conditions in the country, it should be noted that the severe economic and financial crisis that struck neighboring Greece in 2011 and 2012 had a significant impact on the Cypriot banking system and the country’s public finances (economic recession from 2012 to 2014).
The island is situated in an active seismic zone (e.g. a magnitude-6.8 earthquake in October 1996).
Regarding medical conditions, it should be noted that the quality of medical care varies significantly from facility to facility. Medical services available in the Turkish north are notoriously inferior to those available in the south. In the case of a serious injury or illness, a medical evacuation abroad (e.g. to Greece) should be considered.
Although a member of the European Union since 2004, the division of the island has made the country unable to join the visa- and checkpoint-free Schengen Area. It is unlikely that the country will join the Schengen Area unless reunification is achieved.
Authorization must be obtained before photographing military installations in both the north and the south.
Cyprus enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Spring and fall are short but particularly pleasant. Summers are hot and dry. Winter is mild except in mountainous regions where it sometimes snows. Rain is common between November and February. Ocean temperatures are pleasant between April and November.
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +357 Emergency Services: 112 or 119
Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz
Cyprus: Presidential election held Jan. 28
TIMEFRAME: from 1/28/2018, 12:00 AM until 1/28/2018, 11:59 PM (Europe/Nicosia).
Cyprus: Protest planned outside US Embassy in Nicosia Dec. 12
TIMEFRAME: from 12/11/2017, 12:00 AM until 12/12/2017, 11:59 PM (Europe/Nicosia).