Chapter 9: Secularism, law and religion within the Cypriot legal order
The Republic of Cyprus was established as an independent and sovereign republic on 16 August 1960, when its Constitution came into force and the British sovereignty over Cyprus, as a crown colony, ceased. On 20 July 1974 the Republic of Turkey, one of the powers guaranteeing the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus, invaded the country and occupied the northern part the island. As a result of the occupation, the Greeks and the other Christians of the region became displaced persons, having fled to the southern part of the island. Likewise, the Muslim Turks of the southern part of the island were induced to relocate to the north. The area occupied by Turkey amounts to 36.4 per cent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish occupation in Cyprus continues to the present day and therefore the Republic of Cyprus is prevented from exercising its powers over the occupied territory. Cyprus became a full member of the European Union on 1 May 2004. However, the application of the acquis communautaire in the occupied areas has been suspended, until a solution to the Cyprus problem is found.
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