Cyprusgained its independence from theUnited Kingdomin 1960. Despite a constitution which guaranteed a degree of power-sharing between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority, the two populations – with backing from the governments of Greece and Turkey, respectively – clashed vehemently in 1974, with the end result being the occupation of the northern and eastern 40% of the island by Turkey. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the “TurkishRepublicof NorthernCyprus”. So far, onlyTurkeyrecognizes the TRNC, while all other governments and the United Nations recognize only the government of theRepublicofCyprusover the whole island. The UN operates a peacekeeping force and a narrow buffer zone between the two Cypriot ethnic groups. Fortunately, open hostilities have been absent for some time, as the two sides (now with the growing involvement of the European Union) gradually inch towards a reunification of some sort.
Climate temperate;Mediterraneanwith hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
Terrain: Central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast.