Photos of Akrotiri

Introduction

Background

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.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Eastern Mediterranean, peninsula on the southwest coast of Cyprus

Geographic coordinates

34 37 N, 32 58 E

Map references

Middle East

Area

total: 123 sq km

note: includes a salt lake and wetlands

country comparison to the world: 223

Area - comparative

about 0.7 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 48 km

border countries (1): Cyprus 48 km

Coastline

56.3 km

Climate

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

Population

approximately 18,195 on the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia including 11,000 Cypriots and 7,195 Service and UK-based contract personnel and dependents (2020)

Languages

English, Greek

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Akrotiri

etymology: named for the village that lies within the Western Sovereign Base Area on Cyprus

Dependency status

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

Capital

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

etymology: "Episkopi" means "episcopal" in Greek and stems from the fact that the site previously served as the bishop's seat of an Orthodox diocese

Constitution

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

amendments: amended 1966

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 Robert J. THOMSON (since 25 September 2019); note - administrator 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/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; administrator appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Ministry of Defense

Judicial branch

highest courts: Senior Judges' Court (consists of several visiting judges from England and Wales)

judge selection and term of office: see entry for United Kingdom

subordinate courts: Resident Judges' Court; Courts Martial

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description

the flag of the UK is used

National anthem

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

Economy

Economic 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

Communications

Broadcast media

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

Transportation

Airports - with paved runways

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2017)

Military and Security

Military - note

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