Constitution of Cyprus
The Constitution of Cyprus is a document, ratified on August 16, 1960, that serves as the framework for the Cypriot
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...

Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

. It was drafted after the country won its independence in 1959.

The constitution put methods in place to protect Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots are the ethnic Turks and members of the Turkish-speaking ethnolinguistic community of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The term is used to refer explicitly to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots, whose Ottoman Turkish forbears colonised the island in 1571...

, due to the restrictions placed in Article 6 of the document. That article ensures the Cypriot government has no right to discriminate against either Turkish or Greek Cypriots. The constitution also ensures, in Article 1, that the Vice-President of the country is a Turk and the President is a Greek. In 1964, however, the Cypriot government became dominated by Greeks.

The constitution of the country collapsed, however, in 1963 due to dispute between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The running of the republic by the greek community alone has been legally defined in what is called "Justice of need". Following the turkish invasion of 1974 the state acts as a surrogate for the properties of Turkish Cypriots that moved to the turkish occupied north. Following Cyprus's entry into the EU in 2004 and the Ibrahim Aziz vs. Republic of Cyprus case in the European court of human rights, some individual civil rights of Turkish cypriots residing in the area under the control of the Republic have been restored, thus they can be part of the electoral register and stand in european elections. This however does not restored their communal rights as envisaged in the original constitution, i.e separate electoral register to elect vice president and a fixed number of members of the house of representatives.

Constitutional breakdown

In 1963, the Constitution broke down as the Turkish Cypriots involved withdrew from the government, and as a result the Greeks took full control of the government in 1965 despite the constitutional safeguard
In the technical language of the World Trade Organization system, a safeguard is used to restrain international trade in order to protect a certain home industry from foreign competition. A member may take a “safeguard” action In the technical language of the World Trade Organization (WTO)...

s to ensure representation of Turks that had previously existed.

The separation occurred because the two ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s continued to distrust each other after the constitution was signed. Another issue that caused the breakdown was the fact that President Makarios III
Makarios III
Makarios III , born Andreas Christodolou Mouskos , was the archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus ....

, a Greek Cypriot, supported complete integration between the two ethnic groups, while Vice President Fazil Küçük
Fazil Küçük
Fazıl Küçük was the first Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus.Fazıl Küçük, the son of a farmer, was born in Nicosia in 1906. After graduating from the Turkish High School in Nicosia, Küçük went on to study medicine at the Universities of Istanbul, Lausanne and Paris...

, a Turkish Cypriot, supported increased separation.

In addition, President Makarios proposed a constitutional change that year to remove most of the rights given to Turkish Cypriots. He said that the original constitution prevented the Turks and Greeks from "cooperating in the spirit of understanding and friendship."

General provisions

The first five articles of the constitution discuss General Provisions.

Article One asserts that Cyprus is an independent republic with a President and that the President and Vice President must be Greeks and Turks respectively. Article three asserts that the official languages of the Republic of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, and that all officials documents must be published in both languages.

Article four requires that Cyprus "shall have its own flag of neutral design and colour, chosen jointly by the President and the Vice-President of the Republic," while article five states that Greek and Turkish Cypriots have a right to celebrate their holiday's.

Fundamental rights and liberties

Articles 6–35 of the constitution deal with Fundamental Rights and Liberties.

Article six prohibits the discrimination of either Greek or Turkish Cypriots based on their race, while article seven asserts the right to life and states that an individual may only be deprived of his right to life except for when being sentenced by a "competent court" for an offense which provides the death penalty by law.

Article eight banks the issuing inhumane or degrading punishment, and prevents torture, and Article nine states that "every person has the right to a decent existence and to social security."

Article ten prohibits slavery and forced labour, in all cases other than in cases of compulsory military service or work while being imprisoned lawfully by the state. It also allows for "any service exacted in case of an emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the inhabitants."

Article eleven contains several limits on who can be imprisoned. It states that people may only be imprisoned when they have been convicted by a court, detained to force them to appear before a court, detained to prevent them from committing an offense or detained to avoid the spread of disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

s. The article also ensures that "every person who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation."

Article 12 ensures that Habeas Corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

 is followed, that no person may be charged twice for the same offense, that the punishment is proportional to the crime, and that people have the right to a defence while in court.

Article thirteen says that any person has the right to move freely around Cyprus, and leave when they wish, subject to "reasonable conditions" imposed by law, while article fourteen states that no person shall be forced to leave the country.

Article fifteen defines the right to privacy. Is states that every individual has a right to a private life except when infringing on someone's privacy is in accordance of the law and in the national interest. Article sixteen prohibits entering someone's property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 without their prior consent without an arrest warrant, unless you are rescuing the individual from danger. Article seventeen also discusses privacy, with its main focus being an individual's right to privacy in all lawful communication.

Articles eighteen, nineteen and 21 secure freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and assembly respectively, while twenty and 22 deal with the right to free education
Free education
Free education refers to education that is funded through taxation, or charitable organizations rather than tuition fees. Although primary school and other comprehensive or compulsory education is free in many countries, for example, all education is mostly free including...

 and marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...


Article 23 adds to the rights laid out in article sixteen, by allowing citizens of Cyprus to purchase property and receive compensation for any damage to it.

Article 24 requires citizens to pay taxes. It states that "every person is bound to contribute according to his means towards the public burdens." It also states that no organization may collect a tax without permission in a court.

Article 25 ensures that every individual in Cyprus has the right to work, subject to conditions that may be in the law. Article 26 states that people may freely enter into contracts, and avoid be exploited by people with "commanding economic power."

Article 27 states that, subject to conditions in the law, citizens have a right to take part in industrial action
Industrial action
Industrial action or job action refers collectively to any measure taken by trade unions or other organised labour meant to reduce productivity in a workplace. Quite often it is used and interpreted as a euphemism for strike, but the scope is much wider...

. It also states that members of the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 and gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

are not allowed to strike.
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