An island lying in the eastern Mediterranean about 80 km (50 miles) south of the Turkish coast; population 1,100,000 (estimated 2015); official languages, Greek and Turkish; capital, Nicosia.
A Greek colony in ancient times, Cyprus was held by the Turks from 1571 until 1878, when it was placed under British administration. After virtual civil war between the Greek Cypriots (some of whom favour enosis or union with Greece) and the Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus became an independent Commonwealth republic in 1960. In 1974 Turkish forces took over the northern part of the island, which proclaimed itself the independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983 but has not received international recognition. The Greek Cypriot–controlled Republic of Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004