1. GENERAL COUNTRY INFORMATION
1.1. Geography and Population
Cyprus is situated in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, at the hub of three continents where the trade routes intersect. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and the Sardinia.The total area of the island covers 9,251 square kms. The area of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is 3,242 square kms. The nearest neighbouring country to Cyprus is Turkey which lies at a distance of 65 kms to the north. Cyprus is located 100 kms west of Syria and 420 kms north of Egypt.
According to the final results of the Census of Population and Housing Unit, which was held on 30 April 2006, the de-facto population of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is 265,100. The population density is 82 persons per square km.
The capital Nicosia is the largest city of the TRNC. The other major towns are Famagusta and Kyrenia which are located on the coast. Guzelyurt and Lefke are two towns which are famous with the large citrus orchards.
The official language is Turkish but English is widely spoken and understood in official and commercial circles. The religion is Islam, with Muslims making up 99% of the population.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has a typical Mediterranean climate with about 300 days of sunshine per year. It enjoys dry, warm summers and mild winters. The bulk of the rain falls during the period from November to March. The coldest month is January having minimum and maximum mean temperatures of 6 oC and 16oC respectively. In the hottest month August the corresponding minimum and maximum mean temperatures are 21oC and 35oC.
1.3. Political System
There is a multi party of democracy in the TRNC where human rights, political pluralism and private property are safeguarded. The head of the state is the President of the Republic who is elected by universal suffrage for a period of five years. Legislative power is exercised by the Assembly of the Republic which consists of fifty deputies. The country is managed by a Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister who is appointed by the President. Elections are held freely every five years, based on universal suffrage.
1.4. Money and Banking
The official currency in the TRNC is Turkish Lira (TL). Real persons and corporate bodies are free to keep and save foreign currency , to use foreign currency as a means of foreign exchange and to express in foreign currency figures appearing on payment orders and contracts. The official rates of exchange are fixed daily by the Central Bank and announced. Banks, foreign exchange bureaux and the Central Bank are free to fix different rates of exchange for the purchase and sale of foreign currency.
There is a developed banking system in the TRNC. In addition to the Central Bank and the Development Bank there are 23 onshore commercial banks and 15 offshore banks. Banks are free to keep foreign currency, act as intermediary in import and export transactions, accept foreign currency savings, engage in purchase and sale of foreign currency, deal in bonds required to be paid in foreign currency, give foreign currency loans, engage actively in money and foreign currency markets and in compliance with international banking usage, to deal in every kind of foreign currency transactions.