This post was most recently updated on December 13th, 2020
Yes, there are foreign military bases in Cyprus. When Cyprus got its independence from the UK, they signed an agreement with the British government. Within the agreement, two British Sovereign Military Base Areas at Akrotiri and Dhekelia were identified as real estate that would remain British sovereign territory and remain under British jurisdiction.
Along with that, the UN peacekeeping force has been in Cyprus since 1964. It was established after the outbreak of intercommunal conflict in December 1963 and threats of Turkey’s invasion.
Today in this article, we will discuss some more about these foreign bases in Cyprus.
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is a British Overseas Territory in the island country of Cyprus.
According to Wikipedia, “The territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia serves an important role as a station for signals intelligence and provides a vital strategic part of the United Kingdom communications gathering and monitoring network in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.”
Akrotiri and Dhekelia were created as base areas in 1960 when Cyprus got its independence from the UK.
Akrotiri is called the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA), and Dhekelia is called the Eastern Sovereign Base Area (ESBA).
Many people think these two bases must be close to each other, but they are wrong. Akrotiri and Dhekelia are 112 km far from each other, and it takes around an hour to reach from one place to another by car. You can have a look at the map to understand it better.
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)
UNFICYP is one of the longest-running UN Peacekeeping missions. It was set up in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island and bring the situation to normal conditions.
After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) extended and expanded the mission to prevent the dispute from turning into war, and UNFICYP was redeployed to patrol the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus and assist in the maintenance of the military status quo.
UNFICYP is headquartered at the Blue Beret Camp next to the abandoned airport of Nicosia.
UNFICYP supports the fullest possible resumption of normal civilian activity in the buffer zone, keeping in mind that this is still an area under permanent armed watch by the military on both sides. To this end, it facilitates the resumption of farming in the buffer zone and assists both communities on matters related to the supply of electricity and water across the lines.
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