Cyprus. In July, Turkey signed an agreement to extend its customs union to the ten newest EU countries, including Cyprus. But Turkey also made it clear that the Customs Union did not recognize Cyprus as a state, and when the terms of the Turkish membership negotiations with the EU were subsequently negotiated, Turkey refused to recognize Cyprus. In the document which formed the basis of the agreement with Turkey, the EU complained that Turkey had not recognized Cyprus but no stated requirement for recognition before a certain date was not set. Critics said President Tassos Papadopoulos should have tried to halt Turkish membership negotiations until Turkey had recognized Cyprus.
According to countryaah, Nicosia is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Cyprus. Cyprus joined Latvia and Malta on May 2 with the euro exchange rate cooperation ERM. Membership in the ERM for two years is a requirement for countries wishing to join the euro. Cyprus’ parliament voted 30 June for the disputed EU constitution, which was voted down in referendums in France and the Netherlands.
With 55.6% of the vote, Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat won the April 17 presidential election in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. with the Republic of Cyprus to bring Northern Cyprus into the EU. His party, the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), had on 20 February won a new election to the Turkish Republic’s parliament with 44.5% of the vote. After the recent election, Talat had formed a government together with his former coalition partner Democratic Party (DP), but after the presidential election, CTP’s new leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer formed a new government, even now in coalition with DP.
In February 2013, Conservative Nicos Anastasiades won the presidential election with 57.5% of the vote in the second election.
Cyprus is being criticized for its inhumane treatment of asylum seekers – especially Syrians fleeing the civil war in Syria. Asylum seekers are routinely detained for up to 18 months under prison-like conditions, and often parents are separated from their children who are left to the social services. In this way, children down to 19 months have been separated from their parents.
In August 2013, Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou announced that military military service would be reduced to 18 months and then to 14 by the end of 2014. However, the plans were never implemented.
In 2014, economic growth was negative by 2%. The country was already hit hard by the EU’s arbitrary sanctions against Russia and would be hit even harder as sanctions were extended and oil prices fell. To compensate for this, in February 2015, Cyprus and Russia signed an agreement granting Russia access to Cyprus’s ports and airports. Despite the economic collapse in Greece, economic growth in 2015 was expected to reach 2%.
In December 2014, the European Torture Prevention Committee published a report documenting widespread use of torture in Cyprus – specifically against foreigners. Similar documentation reached the United Nations Committee on Torture.
The human rights situation for especially refugees deteriorated drastically during 2015. Cyprus already had a long history of rights violations. In July 2015, the European Court of Human Rights handed down a judgment on the case of 17 Syrian Kurds who were detained in Cyprus in 2010 for subsequent deportation despite having pending asylum cases pending in the Supreme Court. In its ruling, the Human Rights Court ruled that the detention of the Kurds had no legal basis and that they had no procedures available to defend their rights.
In September, a boat of refugees on the southern coast of the country was known. 115 refugees were rescued and placed in the Kofinou Reception Center. The same month, 14 refugees in the Menoya refugee center launched a hunger strike in protest of their long-term detention and the inhumane conditions of the center. Cyprus’s interior minister stated that Cyprus was willing to accept up to 300 Syrian refugees under the EU refugee distribution system, but it must be Christian Orthodox.
In November, Russian national Nataliya Konovalova was extradited to Russia, despite her pending asylum application. The following month, the European Commissioner for Human Rights expressed deep concern about the shortcomings of the Cypriot asylum system and called for the country to improve conditions in the centers and for asylum seekers in general.
In January 2016, Britain launched air war against IS in Syria. It happened from bases in Cyprus.
In February, the UN Subcommittee on Torture urged Cyprus to improve conditions in asylum centers and police stations.
In March, an Egyptian national abducted an EgyptAir aircraft that was brought to land in Larnaca. In September, Nicosia City Court ruled that he could be extradited to Egypt. A decision criticized by human rights organizations, which indicated that he would be subjected to torture in Egypt. The following month, the ruling was brought before the Supreme Court.
The May elections saw a decline for the two major parties DISY and AKEL with 2 and 3 seats respectively for 18 and 16. In contrast, the right-wing party ELAM entered parliament with 2 seats. The turnout was 66.7%. A decline of 12%.
In September, asylum seekers conducted a demonstration outside Parliament in protest of the slow asylum process. Most of them had been in Cyprus for 10 years without settling their cases, which in every way made life difficult.