Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Overview
 
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are two British-administered areas comprising a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 administered as Sovereign Base Areas
Sovereign Base Areas
The Sovereign Base Areas are military bases located on territory in which the United Kingdom is sovereign, but which are separated from the ordinary British territory....

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The bases were retained by the British, under the 1960 treaty of independence, agreed and signed by the United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and representatives from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, to grant independence and transition Cyprus from a Crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 to an independent sovereign state.

The bases are split into Akrotiri , along with Episkopi Garrison, is part of an area known as the Western Sovereign Base Area or WSBA) and Dhekelia (Greek: Δεκέλεια, ðe̞ˈke̞ʎa; Turkish: Dikelya), along with Ayios Nikolaos, is part of the Eastern Sovereign Base Area or ESBA.
The Sovereign Base Areas were created in 1960 by the Treaty of Establishment
Zürich and London Agreement
The Zürich and London Agreement for the constitution of Cyprus started with an agreement on the 19 February 1959 in Lancaster House in London, between Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and Cypriot community leaders...

, when Cyprus achieved independence from the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are two British-administered areas comprising a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 administered as Sovereign Base Areas
Sovereign Base Areas
The Sovereign Base Areas are military bases located on territory in which the United Kingdom is sovereign, but which are separated from the ordinary British territory....

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The bases were retained by the British, under the 1960 treaty of independence, agreed and signed by the United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and representatives from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, to grant independence and transition Cyprus from a Crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

 to an independent sovereign state.

The bases are split into Akrotiri , along with Episkopi Garrison, is part of an area known as the Western Sovereign Base Area or WSBA) and Dhekelia (Greek: Δεκέλεια, ðe̞ˈke̞ʎa; Turkish: Dikelya), along with Ayios Nikolaos, is part of the Eastern Sovereign Base Area or ESBA.

History

The Sovereign Base Areas were created in 1960 by the Treaty of Establishment
Zürich and London Agreement
The Zürich and London Agreement for the constitution of Cyprus started with an agreement on the 19 February 1959 in Lancaster House in London, between Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and Cypriot community leaders...

, when Cyprus achieved independence from the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. The United Kingdom desired to retain sovereignty over these areas, as this guaranteed the use of UK military bases in Cyprus, including RAF Akrotiri
RAF Akrotiri
Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

, and a garrison of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. The importance of the bases to the British is based on the strategic location of Cyprus, at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, close to the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

; the ability to use the RAF base as staging post for military aircraft; and for general training purposes.

In 1974, following a military coup by the Greek-Cypriot National Guard attempting to achieve enosis
Enosis
Enosis refers to the movement of the Greek-Cypriot population to incorporate the island of Cyprus into Greece.Similar movements had previously developed in other regions with ethnic Greek majorities such as the Ionian Islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. These regions were eventually incorporated...

(union with Greece), Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 invaded the north of Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

, leading to the establishment of the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus or North Cyprus , officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , is a self-declared state that comprises the northeastern part of the island of Cyprus...

. However, this did not affect the status of the bases, and despite being two of the three guaranteeing powers of the Republic of Cyprus, neither Greece nor Great Britain were involved in the fighting and neither has honoured the Treaty of Guarantee yet. Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 fleeing from the Turks
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 were permitted to travel through the Dhekelia base, and were given humanitarian aid. The Turkish advance halted when it reached the edge of the Sovereign Base Area to avoid military conflict with the United Kingdom.

Dispute with Cyprus

For four years after Cypriot independence in 1960, the British government supported the Republic of Cyprus financially. After the intercommunal conflict of 1963–64
Cyprus dispute
The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

 it stopped, claiming there was no guarantee that both communities would benefit equally from that money. The Cypriot government is still claiming money for the years from 1964 to now although to date has taken no international legal action to test the validity of its claim. Estimates for the claimed debt range from several hundred thousand to over one billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 euros.

In July 2001, violent protests were held at the bases by local Cypriots, angry at British plans to construct radio masts at the bases, as part of an upgrade of British military communication posts around the world. Locals had claimed the masts would endanger local lives and cause cancer, as well as have a negative impact on wildlife in the area. The British government denied these claims.

The United Kingdom has shown no intention of surrendering the bases, although it has offered to surrender 117 square kilometres (45.2 sq mi) of farmland as part of the rejected Annan Plan for Cyprus
Annan Plan for Cyprus
The Annan Plan was a United Nations proposal to resolve the Cyprus dispute, reuniting the breakaway Northern Cyprus with the Republic of Cyprus. The proposal was to restructure Cyprus as the "United Cyprus Republic", which would be a federation of two states. It was revised a number of times before...

. Today, around 3,000 troops of British Forces Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus
British Forces Cyprus is the name given to the British Armed Forces stationed in the UK sovereign base areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri on the island of Cyprus...

 are based at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Ayios Nikolaos Station, in the ESBA, is a GCHQ electronic intelligence listening station of the UKUSA intelligence network.

The election of left-wing Dimitris Christofias
Dimitris Christofias
Dimitris Christofias also Demetris is a left-wing Greek Cypriot politician and the current and sixth President of the Republic of Cyprus. Christofias was the General Secretary of AKEL and is Cyprus's first, and the European Union's first and so far only, communist head of state. He won the 2008...

 as Cypriot president in February 2008 has prompted concern in the United Kingdom. Christofias has pledged to remove all foreign military forces from the island as part of a future settlement of the Cyprus dispute
Cyprus dispute
The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

, calling the British presence on the island a "colonial bloodstain".

Potential troop withdrawal

In January 2010, a newspaper article appeared in the mainstream British press claiming that as a result of budgetary constraints arising from the Late 2000s recession
Late 2000s recession
The late-2000s recession, sometimes referred to as the Great Recession or Lesser Depression or Long Recession, is a severe ongoing global economic problem that began in December 2007 and took a particularly sharp downward turn in September 2008. The Great Recession has affected the entire world...

, the British Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 drew up controversial plans to withdraw the United Kingdom's 3,000 member infantry battalion from Cyprus, and end the use of Cyprus as a staging point for ground forces. Since this time the Labour government under whom the proposal appeared has been replaced in election by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition and in a defence review the issue was not mentioned.

Constitution and governance

The SBAs were retained in 1960 as military bases under British sovereignty, not as ordinary colonial
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 territories.

This is the basic philosophy of their administration as declared by Her Majesty's Government in 'Appendix O' to the 1960 treaty with Cyprus, which provided that the British government intended:
  • Not to develop the Sovereign Base Areas for other than military purposes.
  • Not to set up and administer "colonies".
  • Not to create customs posts or other frontier barriers between the Sovereign Base Areas and the Republic.
  • Not to set up or permit the establishment of civilian commercial or industrial enterprises except insofar as these are connected with military requirements, and not otherwise to impair the economic commercial or industrial unity and life of the Island.
  • Not to establish commercial or civilian seaports or airports.
  • Not to allow new settlement of people in the Sovereign Base Areas other than for temporary purposes.
  • Not to expropriate private property within the Sovereign Base Areas except for military purposes on payment of fair compensation.


The bases have their own legal system, distinct from the United Kingdom and Cyprus. This consists of the laws of the Colony of Cyprus as at August 1960, amended as necessary. The laws of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are kept, as far as possible, the same as the laws of Cyprus. The Court of the Sovereign Base Areas is concerned with non-military offences committed by any person within Akrotiri and Dhekelia, and law and order is maintained by the Sovereign Base Areas Police
Sovereign Base Areas Police
The Sovereign Base Areas Police is the local civilian police force for the British controlled Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus. Established in August 1960, the force has responsibility for all 15,000 residents of the SBAs, including military personnel...

, while military law is upheld by the Cyprus Joint Police Unit.

Amateur Radio

The bases are issued different amateur radio call signs from the Republic of Cyprus. Amateurs on the bases use the International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

 prefix of "ZC4" which is assigned to Great Britain. There are about 52 amateurs licensed in this manner. The ITU prefix for the Republic of Cyprus is mainly "5B". The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus uses the unallocated call sign prefix of "1B", but this is only recognized internationally by Turkey. Under ITU regulations it is illegal for an amateur radio operator to communicate via radio with a call sign issued by a state not recognised as a member of the ITU, with the exception of a true emergency.

Politics

According to the Ministry of Defence, "Because the SBAs are primarily required as military bases and not ordinary dependent territories, the Administration reports to the Ministry of Defence in London. It has no formal connection with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the British High Commission in Nicosia, although there are close informal links with both offices on policy matters."

The bases are administered by the Administrator of the Sovereign Base Areas, who is the Commander of British Forces Cyprus (from 2010 AVM Graham Stacey). The Administrator is officially appointed by the British monarch, on the advice of the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

. The Administrator has all the executive and legislative authority of a Governor of an overseas territory. A Chief Officer is appointed, and is responsible to the Administrator for the day-to-day running of the civil government. No elections are held in the Bases, although British citizens are normally entitled to vote in United Kingdom elections (as British Forces or overseas electors).

Geography

Akrotiri and Dhekelia cover 3% of the land area of Cyprus, a total of 254 km² (98 sq mi) (123 km² (47.5) at Akrotiri and 131 km² (51 sq mi) (50.5) at Dhekelia). 60% of the land is privately owned, either by British or Cypriot citizens. The other 40% is owned by the Ministry of Defence, or is classed as Crown land. In addition to Akrotiri and Dhekelia themselves, the Treaty of Establishment also provides for the continued use by the British Government of certain facilities within Cyprus, known as Retained Sites.

Akrotiri is located in the south of the island, near the city of Limassol
Limassol
Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus, with a population of 228,000 . It is the largest city in geographical size, and the biggest municipality on the island. The city is located on Akrotiri Bay, on the island's southern coast and it is the capital of Limassol District.Limassol is the...

 (or Lemesos). Dhekelia is in the southeast, near Larnaca
Larnaca
Larnaca, is the third largest city on the southern coast of Cyprus after Nicosia and Limassol. It has a population of 72,000 and is the island's second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort...

. Both of these areas include military bases, as well as farmland and some residential land. Akrotiri is surrounded by territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, but Dhekelia also borders on the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 (UN) buffer zone and the area controlled by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus or North Cyprus , officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , is a self-declared state that comprises the northeastern part of the island of Cyprus...

.

Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa is a resort at the far eastern end of the southern coast of Cyprus, famous for its sandy beaches. In recent years, apart from being a family holiday destination, it has become a 'party capital' together with Ibiza, Rimini and Mykonos...

 lies to the East of Dhekelia. The villages of Xylotymbou and Ormidhia
Ormidhia
Ormideia , sometimes also rendered Ormidhia is a village in Larnaca District in south-eastern Cyprus. It is one of the three exclaves surrounded by the Eastern Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory administered as a Sovereign Base Area. The others are the...

, also in the Republic of Cyprus, are enclaves surrounded by Dhekelia SBA. The Dhekelia Power Station, divided by a British road into two parts, also belongs to Cyprus. The northern part is an enclave, like the two villages, whereas the southern part is located by the sea, and therefore not an enclave, though it has no territorial waters of its own.

Demographics

When the bases were being established, the boundaries were drawn up to avoid centres of population. However, around 14,000 people live in the bases. Around 7,000 native Cypriots live in the bases, who either work in the bases themselves, or on farmland within the boundaries of the bases. The British military and their families make up the rest of the population.

There is no specific citizenship available for the bases, although some people may be able to claim British Overseas Territories citizen
British Overseas Territories citizen
The status of British Overseas Territories citizen relates to persons holding British nationality by virtue of a connection with a British Overseas Territory.-British Nationality Act 1981:...

ship (BOTC) status. Unlike all other British territories, BOTCs connected solely with the Sovereign Base Areas do not have any entitlement to full British citizenship.

Under the terms of the 1960 agreement with Cyprus establishing the Sovereign Base Areas, the United Kingdom is committed not to use the Areas for civilian purposes. This was stated in 2002 as the primary reason for the exclusion of the Areas from the scope of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002
British Overseas Territories Act 2002
The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which superseded parts of the British Nationality Act 1981...

.

Economy

There are no economic statistics gathered for Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The main economic activities are the provision of services to the military, as well as limited agriculture. On 1 January 2008 Akrotiri and Dhekelia adopted the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 along with the rest of Cyprus, despite not being part of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. The Sovereign Base Areas are the only areas under British sovereignty to use the euro.

Media

A monthly magazine 'CFL - Cyprus Forces Life' is published in both SBAs and in shops. BFBS Radio 1 and 2  are broadcast on FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 and can be widely received in Cyprus, but the BFBS Television signal has been confined to the SBAs or encrypted since 1997, for copyright reasons.
Limassol BBC Relay
Limassol BBC Relay
Limassol BBC Relay is one of the most powerful broadcasting stations in Cyprus. It is situated south of Limassol west of Lady's Mile Beach on the area of Western Sovereign Base Area at and used for relaying radio programmes to the middle east area on 639 kHz and 720 kHz with 500 kW.- Antenna...

 is situated here.

See also

  • British overseas territories
    British overseas territories
    The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories of the United Kingdom which, although they do not form part of the United Kingdom itself, fall under its jurisdiction. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not acquired independence or have voted to remain British territories...

  • Sovereign Base Areas Customs
    Sovereign Base Areas Customs
    Sovereign Base Areas Customs is a semi-autonomous branch of UK Customs with jurisdiction over Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus, administered as a Sovereign Base Area, and home to British Forces Cyprus. It is managed by the MoD and around 3500 military...

  • Sovereign Base Areas Police
    Sovereign Base Areas Police
    The Sovereign Base Areas Police is the local civilian police force for the British controlled Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus. Established in August 1960, the force has responsibility for all 15,000 residents of the SBAs, including military personnel...

  • United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus
    United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus
    The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus runs for more than along what is known as the Green Line and has an area of . The zone partitions the island of Cyprus into a southern area effectively controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus , and the northern area...



External links

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