Cyprus. On March 9, Cypriot authorities demolished the
concrete wall that had divided the capital of Nicosia since
the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn called the demolition "brave".
Foreign Minister Giorgio Lillikas called on the Turkish
Cypriot side to respond to the outcry, saying that the
transition between both parts of the city would not be open
to the public until Turkey had withdrawn its soldiers from
CountryAAH, the largest party in the country's governing tripartite
government, the Communist Workers Progress Party (AKEL),
left the government on July 10 since the party's government
partner, the Democratic Party Center and the Social
Democratic EDEK, had refused to support AKEL's candidate for
the 2008 presidential election, AKEL- leader Demetris
Christofias. Instead, DIKO and EDEK supported the incumbent
President Tassos Papadopoulos.
In February, the Government of Cyprus invited foreign
companies to tender for oil and gas extraction in the sea
south and west of the island. Turkey protested, claiming
that Cyprus did not have the right to sign agreements on
deposits that lay within the waters claimed by the
self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The widespread poaching in Cyprus was noticed in the fall
since more than 50 evening falcons, a species that is
protected throughout the EU, were found shot dead in the
Akrotiri peninsula in early October.
Cyprus - Nicosia
Nicosia, Greek Leukosiʹa, Neo- Greek Levkosia,
Turkish Lefkosa, capital of Cyprus; 217,600 residents (2009). Nicosia
is located on the Messori plain, about 20 km from the island's north coast.
Business is dominated by trade, administration and light industry, e. g. food
and textile industry. The city's main attractions are the Gothic Cathedral of
Saint Sofia and the Cyprus Museum with many archaeological finds. The 1974
Turkish invasion divided the city into two parts, interrupting it during the
1950s and 1960s, very rapid growth.
In ancient times, the city was called Ledra. It belonged to the
Byzantine Empire in 1191, then the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus in 1489, Venice in
1571, the Ottoman Empire in 1878 and the United Kingdom in 1959–60. Nicosia
became the capital of Cyprus in 1960.