There is an interesting fact that due to its strategic location in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, an island, has been Britain’s initial interest. Since 1925, the island was a crown colony but the unrest growing in the 1950s made tight control untenable. As it is located in the South Asia Minor or the Middle East, the island is geopolitically divided into four segments namely The Republic of Cyprus, The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, The United Nations and the two bases under British sovereignty – Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Considering that having bases on Cyprus would be adequate instead of using Cyprus as a base, the island was granted independence in 1960 but retained sovereignty over both these bases. Let’s discuss about Akrotiri. Also known as the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA), Akrotiri is located to the south of the island near Limassol. Since it has become a British establishment, multi-channel satellite TV service as well as radio broadcasts are provided by the British Forces Broadcast Service (BFBS). Also, it is the responsibility of the UK to provide adequate defence and has a full RAF base with its headquarters for British Forces Cyprus and Episkopi Support Unit.

Where is Akrotiri located?

Centred on the Akrotiri Peninsula, the Western Sovereign Base Area is a straightforward exclave containing the southernmost point of the Cyprus. It tapers out westward including most of the coast along Episkopi Bay. The agglomeration of Asomatous to remain within Cyprus proper is one of the salient intruding factors on the WSBA. Akrotiri lies between the geographic coordinates 34°37’N and 32°58’E and is about 0.7 times the size of Washington, DC. With an area of about 123 sq. km, Akrotiri has a larger town of Trachoni within its borders which is just to the north of it. 

How was Akrotiri established?

The completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 by the French took roots for Britain to establish the island of Cyprus. The construction of Suez Canal provided Britain with much shorter sea route to India and hence, it took up this opportunity of expanding its port to Cyprus, which was like Gibraltar and Malta, a link in the chain of communication with India through the Mediterranean. In 1960, UK took complete control over two areas of almost 254 sq. km – Akrotiri and Dhekelia. This was as per the terms of 1960 treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cyprus. However, now a British Overseas Territory, Akrotiri is the southernmost and smallest sovereign Base Area, which is also referred as Western Sovereign Base Area.

How is the topography of Akrotiri and its climate conditions?

Stretching a coastline of about 56.3 km, Akrotiri enjoys temperate, Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and comparatively cool winters. The island has a number of wells and salt lakes. Hence, there has been hunting activities around these salt lakes. Also, there are extraterritorial rights of the British that are extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus. Out of the total land of the Sovereign Base Area, about 60% of it is privately owned and farmed, about 20% by the Ministry of Defence and the remaining 20% is SBA Crown Land. One may find breeding place for loggerhead and green turtles and only colony of griffon vultures is on the base. 

Are there inhabitants on this island?

Population of this country is limited to the military people and their families, which might be around 15,700 living at the Sovereign Base Areas, Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Of these 7,700 are Cypriots and 3,600 Service and UK based contract personnel and about 4,400 are their dependents. People here speak either English or Greek. Comparatively, the country ranks 223 in the world. 

How does the economy of Akrotiri function?

With an exchange currency of Euro, economic activities are confined to providing services of food and manufactured good that is required to support the military and their families is imported from UK.

Add/View Comment
The most wonderful and precious element of universe is the human life which can only be guided by the right knowledge and right attitude. So, here is an ocean of knowledge, both in English and Hindi encompassing every detail and each facet of human life which ‘one must know’ in order to grow and attain the summits of success. A team of around 200 dedicated members is working ceaselessly to turn such a colossal dream into reality. We are confident that this portal will help bring change in people across the world.

Content creation, research, development and execution done in-house at Aatman Innovations.