There are two different school systems in Cyprus, one for
the Greek-Cypriot population and one for the Turkish-Cypriot
area. In the Greek Cypriot areas, schooling is compulsory
and free for 9 years for children aged 6-15. The 6-year high
school is also free, of which the first three years are
compulsory. English is compulsory for everyone in high
school, and French for everyone for four years. The
University of Cyprus in Levkosia (1992) has both Greek and
Turkish as its teaching language. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Cyprus.
In the Turkish-Cypriot area there is free and compulsory
education for 8 years for all children between 7 and 15
years. The 3-year high school is free, but not compulsory.
Eastern Mediterranean University (1986) in Gazimağusa (Famagusta)
has English as a language of instruction.
As a result of these difficulties, the EU decided that
the Greek part of the island could be admitted as an
independent member, while the Turkish part would be
excluded. Denktash, on the other hand, felt that the EU had
to recognize the legitimacy of Northern Cyprus and allow the
whole of Cyprus to be admitted into the Union.
The Foreign Ministers of the 15 EU Member States agreed
after three days of hard discussions in March 1998 to begin
negotiations on the accession of the Greek Cypriot part of
After a bitter election campaign in February, Klerides
had been re-elected as Greek Cypriot president by 50.8% of
the vote, while his rival, George Iavacu of the center-right
party IKOS, gained 49.2%.
In 1999, Greece decided to lift its veto against Turkish
membership of the EU, and at the same time provided
considerable relief to the Turkish government following the
earthquake that hit the country that year. These changed
relations between the two hereditary enemies at the same
time changed the political situation in Cyprus.
With UN assistance, negotiations between Clerides and
Denktash were resumed in February 2000. The negotiations
were conducted on the basis of the 'close discussions'
method, in which there was no direct contact between the
parties. In the Turkish-Cypriot part of the country,
Denktash reaffirmed his power when he was re-elected in
April with 43.7% of the vote.
The third round of negotiations ended in August without
any progress, and in September, Klerides decided to boycott
the negotiations following a statement by UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which gave equal weight to the
governments of the Turkish and Greek controlled parties.
Annan changed his statements, declaring that any agreement
on Cyprus must be based on a common sovereignty over the
island. The parties were still facing each other on the
question of the future structure of Cyprus. The Greek
Cypriots advocated a reunited federation, while the Turkish
Cypriots advocated shared sovereignty. Following the
conclusion of a negotiation meeting in Geneva in November,
Denktash declared that he would not return to the
negotiations until the international community recognized
As a sign of a willingness to improve relations with
Greece, Turkey on 3 December 2001 vetoed an agreement
between the EU and NATO on the future security structure of
Europe - but not without defining certain conditions. Only
three days later, Cyprus's two heads of state held a
historic meeting. For the first time in 27 years, Klerides
crossed the green line between the two parts to meet with
his Turkish Cypriot colleague. In January 2002 negotiations
between the two parties were resumed with the UN acting as
mediator. However, the negotiations did not progress, and in
November 2002 Kofi Annan presented a proposal for a parallel
referendum in the two parts on the reunification of Cyprus
under the name of the United Cypriot Republic. But this
proposal was also rejected by Denktash, and Annan therefore
had to give up the mediation efforts.
In February 2003, presidential election won by opposition
candidate, center-right politician Tassos Papadopoulos, who
got 51.5% of the vote. In addition to his own party,
Papadopoulos also has the support of KISOS, AKEL and KOP.
The election took place a few weeks before the UN
reunification deadline expired. The deadline was exceeded
and Annan had to admit that the reunion plan had failed.
With the prospect of joining the UN, the right-wing
Greek-Cypriot government had no interest in seeking union.
The same year, the green line between the two parts of
Cyprus was first crossed by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
17,000 crossed the border.