An island country in southeastern Europe, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, about 50 miles (80 km) south of the Turkish coast; population 1,100,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Nicosia; official languages, Greek and Turkish.
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 favor enosis or union with Greece) and the Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus became an independent Commonwealth of Nations 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 and effectively divided the island between the Greek and Turkish communities. The Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004