The modern history of the TRNC begins with the gaining of independence of a united Cyprus from British rule in August 1960. Independence was only achieved after both Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed to respectively abandon plans for 'enosis' (union with Greece) or partition. The agreement involved Cyprus being governed under a constitution which apportioned Cabinet posts, parliamentary seats and civil service jobs on an agreed ratio between the two communities. However, the Constitution of Cyprus , while establishing an independent and sovereign republic, was, in the words of Stanley Alexander de Smith , an authority on constitutional law, "unique in its tortuous complexity and in the multiplicity of the safeguards that it provides for the principal minority; the Constitution of Cyprus stands alone among the constitutions of the world." Within three years, tensions between the two communities in administrative affairs began to show. In particular, disputes over separate municipalities and taxation created a deadlock in government. In 1963 President Makarios proposed unilateral changes to the constitution via thirteen amendments , which some observers viewed as an unconstitutional attempt to tilt the balance of power in the Republic.
Government and politics
Politics of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic , whereby the President is head of state and the Prime Minister head of government , and of a multi-party system . Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Assembly of the Republic . The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
The president is elected for a five-year term. The current president is Mehmet Ali Talat who won the presidential elections on April 17, 2005. The legislature is the Assembly of the Republic, which has 50 members elected by proportional representation from five electoral districts. In the elections of April 2009, the right-leaning pro-independence National Unity Party defeated incumbent Republican Turkish Party and won an overall majority.
Geography and climate
The winter in Northern Cyprus is cold and rainy, particularly between December and February, with 60% of annual rainfall. These rains produce winter torrents that fill most of the rivers, which typically dry up as the year progresses. Snow may fall on the Kyrenia Range, but seldom elsewhere in spite of low night temperatures. The short spring is characterized by unstable weather, occasional heavy storms and the "meltem", or westerly wind. Summer is hot and dry enough to turn low-lying lands on the island brown. Parts of the island experience the "Poyraz", a north-westerly wind, or the sirocco , a wind from Africa, which is dry and dusty. Summer is followed by a short, turbulent autumn.
There are six universities in Northern Cyprus, including Near East University , Girne American University , Middle East Technical University , European University of Lefke , Cyprus International University , and Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU). EMU is an internationally recognised institution of higher learning with more than 1000 faculty members from 35 countries. There are 15,000 students in EMU comprised of 68 different nationalities. EMU has been approved by the Higher Education Council of Turkey. It is a full individual member of the European University Association, Community of Mediterranean Universities, Federation Universities of Islamic World and International Association of Universities.
The economy of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is dominated by the services sector (69% of GDP in 2007), which includes the public sector, trade, tourism and education. Industry (light manufacturing) contributes 22% of GDP and agriculture 9%. The economy operates on a free-market basis, with a great portion funding of the administration costs offered by Turkey .
Between 2002 and 2007, Gross National Product per capita more than tripled (in current US dollars): US$4,409 (2002) US$5,949 (2003) US$8,095 (2004) US$10,567 (2005) US$11,837 (2006) US$14,047 (2007, provisional)
Communications and transport
Direct flights to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the trade traffic through the Turkish Cypriot ports are restricted as part of the embargo on Turkish Cypriot ports. The airports of Geçitkale and Ercan are only recognised as legal ports of entry by Turkey and Azerbaijan . In addition, the TRNC's seaports in Famagusta and Kyrenia have been declared closed to all shipping by the Republic of Cyprus since 1974.  Nevertheless, by agreement between Northern Cyprus and Syria , there is a ship tour between Famagusta and Latakia (Syria). Since the opening of the Green Line, Turkish Cypriot residents are allowed to trade through Greek Cypriot ports.
According to a census carried out in the beginning of 2006 by the Turkish Cypriot administration, the TRNC has a population of 265,100. of which majority is composed of indigenous Turkish Cypriots , with the rest including a large number of settlers from Turkey. Of the 178,000 Turkish Cypriot citizens, 82% are native Cypriots (145,000). Of the 45,000 people born to non-Cypriot parentage, nearly 40% (17,000) were born in Cyprus. The figure for non-citizens, including students, guest workers and temporary residents stood at 78,000 people.