Northern Cyprus, officially known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is distinct and different from the Republic of Cyprus although they both comprise the island of Cyprus (the third-largest island in the Mediterranean). Northern Cyprus is a de facto state which is only recognized by Turkey but considered as part of the Republic of Cyprus by the international communities.
Administratively, Northern Cyprus is subdivided into six districts: Lefke, Lefkosa, Iskele, Gazimagusa, Guzelyurt, and Gime. Additionally, there are 12 sub-districts and 28 municipalities. The president and the prime minister are head of state and government respectively. There are three arms of government – an independent judiciary, the legislature, and the executive. Because of its reliance on Turkish support, Northern Cyprus’ politics is heavily influenced by Turkey.
Northern Cyprus is only recognized by Turkey which also facilitates its contact with other countries. Since its declaration of independence from the Republic of Cyprus, the relations between Northern Cyprus and the international community have further been complicated by a series of UN resolutions which declared the independence invalid. Countries such as Gambia and Azerbaijan have expressed intentions of formally recognizing Northern Cyprus but have not yet followed through. After the UN Referendum of 2004 on settling the Cyprus dispute, the EU declared its intention to offer assistance to Northern Cyprus. However, the pressure from the Republic of Cyprus and Greece ensures that the funds from the EU are not used on Greek Cypriot land nor public places. Thus, the funds can only be used on about 20% of the territory.
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