What Does The Cyprus Flag Represent? (Cypriot Flag & Symbolism Behind It)

This post was most recently updated on November 7th, 2020

The Cyprus Flag represents peace among Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities that don’t get along. The national flag features the shape of the entirety of the island. The background of the Flag is White which represents Peace and Purity. The copper-orange map of the island symbolizes Cyprus and its large deposits of copper ore. The green crossed olive branches represent peace and reconciliation between the two communities.

Today in this article we will discuss some more about Cyprus Flag, its history, creation, and representation.

History of Cyprus Flag

The history of Cyprus goes way back in the past. In fact, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC.

Many of the countries and Empires colonized Cyprus over the years. Only in 1960, Cyprus was recognized as an independent country as it got its independence from the UK.

Then after independence, the National Flag of Cyprus came into use on the 16th of August, 1960.

Before that, Cyprus didn’t have its own flag. The Greek Cypriots used to use the flag of Greece and the Turkish Cypriots used to use the flag of Turkey.

Design of the Flag

The former British colonial administration of Cyprus suggested a flag that will have a white background and a rust-browned K will be featured in it.

The then President and the Vice-President of Cyprus rejected that idea and created a competition in the country for people to draw a flag for Cyprus.

The aim was to create a flag that was neutral for both communities, therefore the color of the Greek community which is blue, and the color of the Turkish community which is red were designedly avoided on the flag and neither a cross nor a crescent was to be portrayed.

The competition was won by İsmet Vehit Güney, who was a Turkish Cypriot artist, cartoonist, teacher, and painter.

The specification of the Cyprus Flag (1960):

  • Island Color: Copper (Pantone 144-C)
  • Crest and the two olive-tree leaves: Olive green (Pantone 336-C)
  • The background is white with the 3:5 ratio

Re-Design of the Flag

The Cypriot Flag was again re-designed in 2006.

No significant changes were made to the initial flags, the latest flag of Cyprus features a slightly extended map of the island, and the olive branches are a bit longer.

Different Flag Versions of Cyprus

The specification of the Cyprus Flag (2006):

  • Island Color: Copper (Pantone 1385)
    After all, the name Cyprus, “Kypros”, came from the Greek word copper.
  • The olive branches: Dark green (Pantone 574)
  • The background is white with the 3:2 ratio

Constitution of Cyprus (Flag)

The Republic of Cyprus constitution about the flag of Cyprus refers to the national flag as follows:-

The Republic shall have its own flag of neutral design and color, chosen jointly by the President and the Vice-President of the Republic.

The authorities of the Republic and any public corporation or public utility body created by or under the laws of the Republic shall fly the flag of the Republic and they shall have the right to fly on holidays together with the flag of the Republic both the Greek and the Turkish flags at the same time.

The Communal authorities and institutions shall have the right to fly on holidays together with the flag of the Republic either the Greek or the Turkish flag at the same time.

Any citizen of the Republic or anybody, corporate or unincorporated other than public, whose members are citizens of the Republic, shall have the right to fly on their premises the flag of the Republic or the Greek or the Turkish flag without any restriction.

Use of Flag

According to the constitution, private citizens may fly the flag of Cyprus alongside either the Greek flag, the Turkish flag, or both.

Other provisions also allow municipalities, educational institutions, and the National Guard to do so as well.

The flag was rarely used before the separation of the island in 1974.

Greek Cypriots, who after 1960 were striving for the union with Greece, used the Greek flag, while Turkish Cypriots hoping for the division of the island, used the flag of Turkey.

Cyprus and Greece

After 1974, The flag of the Republic of Cyprus was used more commonly, but only by Greek Cypriots.

The flag of Greece is usually flown together with the flag of the Republic of Cyprus. Whereas, in the Northern part of Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots fly the flag of Turkey.

Northern Cyprus and Turkey

Cyprus Coat of Arms

What is a Coat of Arms?

A Coat of Arms is an emblem visual design that represents an individual person, family, state, organization, or corporation.

The coat of arms of the Republic of Cyprus depicts a dove carrying an olive branch, symbolizing peace between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and independence gained from the UK.

Both the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has different Coat of Arms.

The style is similar except that the ‘1960’ was removed from the shield underneath the dove, replaced with the year ‘1983’ at the top of the shield, in reference to the Declaration of Independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by Turkey after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, as well as the Turkish star and crescent emblem was being added above the shield.

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms of the President of Northern Cyprus

Coat of arms of the President of Northern Cyprus

Coat of Arms of the Cyprus Prisons Department

Cyprus Prison Department Flag

Cyprus Reunification Proposed Flag

The Cyprus Reunification Plan also known as Annan Plan is was a proposal from the United Nations to resolve the Cyprus Dispute.

The proposal was to restructure the Republic of Cyprus as a “United Republic of Cyprus”.

The proposal was approved by 65% of Turkish Cypriots and it was rejected by 76% of Greek Cypriots.

As the majority of the vote did not approve the Plan, and implementation of the Plan was dependent on its approval by both communities, the Annan Plan, according to its own terms, became null and void.

A flag was proposed if Cyprus was to reunite.

Unlike the current official flag, this version consciously incorporates colors representing Greece (blue) and Turkey (red) alongside a large copper-yellow band for Cyprus.

Cyprus Reunification Proposed Flag

The Annan flag was chosen from over 2000 entries in an UN-sponsored competition in 2003 and symbolized the separation and division of Cyprus along ethnic lines.

The plan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots, therefore the plan was not put into place. Hence, the flag couldn’t be born.

You may also like to read:

Is Same-Sex Marriage Legal In Cyprus? 

How Different Is Cyprus From Greece?

Is Cyprus a Developed Country?

What Languages Are Spoken In Cyprus?

Is Cyprus An Arab Country?

Is Cyprus Bigger Than Crete? (Comparison)

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