Europe :: Akrotiri (UK Sovereign Base Area)

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By terms of the 1960 Treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cyprus, the UK retained full sovereignty and jurisdiction over two areas of almost 254 square kilometers - Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The southernmost and smallest of these is the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area, which is also referred to as the Western Sovereign Base Area.


Eastern Mediterranean, peninsula on the southwest coast of Cyprus

Geographic coordinates:
34 37 N, 32 58 E

Map references:

Total: 123 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 224
note: includes a salt lake and wetlands

Area - comparative:
about 0.7 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
Total: 48 km
Border countries: Cyprus 48 km

56.3 km

temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool winters

Environment - current issues:
hunting around the salt lake; note - breeding place for loggerhead and green turtles; only remaining colony of griffon vultures is on the base

Geography - note:
British extraterritorial rights also extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus; of the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) land, 60% is privately owned and farmed, 20% is owned by the Ministry of Defense, and 20% is SBA Crown land

People and Society

English, Greek

approximately 15,700 live on the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia including 7,700 Cypriots, 3,600 Service and UK-based contract personnel, and 4,400 dependents
Country comparison to the world: 223


Country name:
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Akrotiri

Dependency status:
a special form of UK overseas territory; administered by an administrator who is also the Commander, British Forces Cyprus

Name: Episkopi Cantonment (base administrative center for Akrotiri and Dhekelia)
Geographic coordinates: 34 40 N, 32 51 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

presented 3 August 1960, effective 16 August 1960; amended 1966 (The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Order in Council 1960, serves as a basic legal document) (2013)

Legal system:
laws applicable to the Cypriot population are, as far as possible, the same as the laws of the Republic of Cyprus; note - the Sovereign Base Area Administration has its own court system to deal with civil and criminal matters

Executive branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952)
Head of government: Administrator Major General Richard CRIPWELL (since January 2013); note - reports to the British Ministry of Defense; the Chief Officer is responsible for the day-to-day running of the civil government of the Sovereign Bases
Elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; the administrator appointed by the monarch

Judicial branch:
Highest court(s): Senior Judges' Court (consists of several visiting judges from England and Wales)
Judge selection and term of office: judges appointment and tenure NA
Subordinate courts: Resident Judges' Court; Courts Martial

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

National anthem:
note: as a United Kingdom area of special sovereignty, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview:
Economic activity is limited to providing services to the military and their families located in Akrotiri. All food and manufactured goods must be imported.

Exchange rates:
note: uses the euro


Broadcast media:
British Forces Broadcast Service (BFBS) provides multi-channel satellite TV service as well as BFBS radio broadcasts to the Akrotiri Sovereign Base (2009)


Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK; Akrotiri has a full RAF base, headquarters for British Forces Cyprus, and Episkopi Support Unit


Flag of Akrotiri

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Flag description:
the flag of the UK is used