The population of the Republic of Cyprus is 952.100 (2012) of whom 681.000 belong to the Greek Cypriot community, (71,5%), 90.100 (9,5%) to the Turkish Cypriot community (estimate) and 181.000 (19,0%) are foreign citizens residing in Cyprus.


Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities


The language of the Greek Cypriot community, whose presence on the island dates back to the second half of the second millennium BC, is Greek and the community adheres predominantly to the Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus.The language of the Turkish Cypriot community is Turkish and the members of the community are Sunni Muslims. The original nucleus of the Turkish Cypriot community in Cyprus were soldiers of the Ottoman army that conquered the island in 1571 and of immigrants from Turkey brought in by the firman (decree) of Sultan Selim II. Gradually, the island evolved into a demographic mosaic of Greek and Turkish villages, as well as many mixed communities. The extent of this symbiosis could be seen in the participation of the two groups in commercial and religious fairs, pilgrimages to each other's shrines, and the occurrence, albeit rare, of intermarriage.  

Armenians, Maronites and Latins are recognised by the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus (Article 2§3) as "religious groups" and, according to a referendum held on 13 November 1960, all three opted to belong to the Greek-Cypriot community, thus voting as part of that community. The members of these groups enjoy, of course, fully the same benefits as other community members and are eligible for public service and official positions of the Republic.

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