Social Organization. In the Greek Cypriot communities, individual families and the relations established between families on the basis of friendship or ceremonial kinship ties provide the framework for organized action. Leadership Beyond the family level is achieved by establishing a reputation for reliability, wisdom, strength, success in business, and honor.
Political Organization. The Republic of Cyprus, formed in 1960, adopted a constitution that provided for the election of a president (chosen from the Greek Cypriot community) and a vice president (chosen from the Turkish Cypriote), each to serve five-year terms; a cabinet; and an elected house of representatives. The ethnic composition of the last two bodies was to be regulated by constitutional provisions as well, reflecting the majority position of Greek ethnics in the general populace. The events of the 1970s and 1980s have produced a number of changes, particularly the declaration of the independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 1983. The most apparent change in the recognized constitutional government has been an increase in the number of governmental positions held by ethnic Greeks. Local government officials are either appointed (district officers) or elected (mayors, council members).
Social Control. Both the Greek and Turkish communities have a formal police body, and a UN civil police force acts as liaison between the two. Roman law forms the basis for the formal Cypriot justice system; community courts are still in use in Turkish communities, although the government Officially abolished them in 1964.
Conflict. Cyprus has had a turbulent history over the last three decades, with ethnic separatism often leading to violence. The UN has been involved with the republic, in mediating and peacekeeping roles, since the 1959 Zurich-London agreements that led to the republic's formation. Because of the breakdown in relations between the Turkish and Greek communities beginning in the early 1960s, the UN has had to maintain a continuous presence on the island since 1963.