Jurisdiction Project

Akrotiri & Dhekelia

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are Sovereign Base Areas(SBAs)which combine to form an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. They are located in Cyprus (a former British colony).

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are located in the Republic of Cyprus, south of the border, and comprise 3% of the island’s total land area. Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea with a total land area of 9,251 square km. The island is divided into north and south, the north being occupied by the Turkish military. The two sides are separated by a U.N. buffer zone. The highest point on the island is Mount Olympus, at 1,952m. The terrain is extremely varied, from high mountains to plains to sandy and rocky beach areas along the coast. The mountains are covered with evergreen forest, and the hills and plains have sparse, shrub-like vegetation and wild grasslands in the spring.

On the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, 40 miles south of Turkey, 60 miles west of the Syrian coast, and 220 miles north of Port Said in Egypt. Akrotiri (123 sq. km) is in the south of the island near Limassol, the island’s main port city. Dhekelia (130 sq. km) is in the southeast, near Larnaca, the site of the island’s largest international airport. Akrotiri is surrounded by territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, but Dhekelia also borders on the U.N. buffer zone and the territory controlled by the Turkish part of the island. Dhekelia has Republic of Cyprus enclaves within its territory.

Latitude and Longitude:
Akrotiri: 34 37 N, 32 58 E; Dhekelia: 34 57 N, 33 45

Time Zone:
GMT +2

Total Land Area:


Cyprus has a temperate climate with hot, dry summers and cool, damp winters. Most of the annual rainfall comes between November and March, with the most falling the mountainous regions (1,000mm) and the least in the inland plains (300mm). Average annual temperatures are around 20 degrees celsius, with snow in the mountains in winter, and extreme droughts that have increased over the last fifteen years. Mild earthquakes occur from time to time.

Natural Resources:
The SBAs have mining resources within their territories as well as a salt lake in Akrotiri.


Total GDP:

Per Capita GDP:

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary

External Aid/Remittances:
Economic activities on the SBAs are limited to the provision of services to the military community and their dependants. The budget for the bases is about 18,930,431.42 USD annually. Approximately 80% of this covers salaries and the remainder covers works services such as roads and other miscellaneous civil government expenditures. The military authorities supply goods and services to assist the SBAA (Sovereign Base Areas Administration) in performing its tasks.


Labour Force:

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)

The SBA Administration employs over 300 staff, 75% of whom are police and customs officers. 90% of the staff are locally employed Cypriots from both the Greek and Turkish communities. Family members of service personnel on the bases can secure employment also, although positions are extremely limited and there is a waiting list for positions as they open up to which those interested in working must add their names. In the past it was illegal for inhabitants on the bases to secure employment off of the bases, although with the Republic of Cyprus’ recent accession to the EU this policy may have had to be adjusted.

Niche Industry:
All products sold on the bases are imported, either from the Republic of Cyprus or from off the island. SBA service personnel and their dependants have access to many items duty free, such as household appliances, vehicles, electrical goods, as well as others. They also can purchase a number of other products at a lower level of VAT than the rest of the island’s population pays.



Imports and Exports:

All products sold on the bases are imported, either from the Republic of Cyprus or from off the island. SBA service personnel and their dependants have access to many items duty free, such as household appliances, vehicles, electrical goods, as well as others. They also can purchase a number of other products at a lower level of VAT than the rest of the island’s population pays.

Tot. Value of Imports 0.00 ()
From Eu:
Import Partners (EU:)
Partners Outside EU:
Import Partners:
Tot. Value of Exports ()
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Main Imports:
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Number of Airports: 3
There is an RAF airport in Akrotiri, on SBA territory, as well as two airports in the Republic of Cyprus that are utilized by service personnel and their families: a smaller one in Paphos which has more flights to regional British airports, and the main international airport in Larnaca.

Number of Main Ports: 1
There is one main port in the Republic of Cyprus, in Limassol. This port receives all industrial shipments as well as all large passenger cruises from the Middle East and the rest of the Mediterranean. Both Larnaca and Paphos have smaller ports which are mainly used by passengers sailboats and fishing boats.



Cyprus is very difficult to get around without a car as public transportation, off of the bases, is extremely unreliable. Most inhabitants own vehicles and rental cars and mopeds are very easy to obtain. Both individual and group taxis are available and are reasonably priced.


Other Forms of Transportation:
Bicycles can be rented, but rising them is extremely hazardous in Cyprus as there are no infrastructural provisions for cyclists at all.

Economic Zones:
While not a traditional economic zone established for the economic benefit of a region, the tax concessions given to those living and working in the SBAs are worth noting as although they cannot sell the products to people not living on the bases, SBA personnel and their dependants can purchase duty free products and then return to the UK with them without ever having to pay tax on the items.

Energy Policy:

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)


Official Currency:

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:


Financial Services:

Public communications utilities on the SBAs are provided by local island providers.

Public Ownership:

Land Use:
Crown land composes only 20% of the SBA land area, including forests, roads, rivers and the Akrotiri Salt Lake (7%). 20% is owned by the British Ministry of Defense, and about 60% is privately owned land, much of it intensively farmed. Cypriots are granted freedom of access and communications to and through the bases. They are free to be employed on the bases, to cultivate agricultural land within the SBAs, and to fish and navigate in territorial waters off of SBA coasts.


Marine Activity:


Marine Life:

Critical Issues:
Environmentally related issues are the most salient issues on the SBAs. Cyprus is a Mecca for migrating birds moving north from Africa to cooler regions. The netting and trapping of small migrant songbirds has been reported as a problem in the fall and spring. Shooting around the salt lake has been a problem for wildlife – the area is breeding ground for the loggerhead and green turtles. The only remaining colony for griffin vultures is also on SBA territory. In the last few years a very highly publicized issues has been the erection of a sizeable antenna on Akrotiri base, which raised local concerns about the effects both on the local wildlife and on the health of the local inhabitants in the area. Since the war in Iraq, the British military has announced that it is going to expand its military base at Akrotiri to increase its utility as an active launch from which to fly fighter jets into the Middle East. This has raised serious criticism from Greek Cypriots on the impact of this increased involvement in the war on acts of terrorism against the island. Water shortages and disposal of certain kinds of waste generated on the bases have also been issues raised over the last ten years.


Episkopi, in Akrotiri

Political System:
Executive Authority: Queen Elizabeth II is the Chief of State. Akrotiri and Dhekelia are an overseas territory of the U.K., administered by an Administrator who is also the Commander of the British Forces Cyprus. The head of the government on the SBAs themselves is the Administrator, who reports directly to the British Ministry of Defense. The Administration (SBAA) is in effect the civil government of the SBAs. The Headquarters of the SBAA is at Episkopi. Its range of competencies is similar to that of any other civil government except that many of its functions, and particularly those with respect to the Cypriot inhabitants of the SBAs, are carried out by officials of the Republic of Cyprus on behalf of the Administration under delegated powers. The SBAA carries out those minimum functions directly related to the exercise of Sovereignty – the enactment of legislation, maintenance of law and order, and the control of immigration and development. The Administrator has all the executive and legislative authority of a governor of a dependent territory. His advisors are senior civilian and military staff within the Administration and British Forces Cyprus (BFC). A Chief Officer is responsible to the Administrator for the day-to-day running of the civil government of the SBAs and provides policy advice on political matters related to British military activity in the SBAs. An Attorney General and Legal Advisor drafts SBA legislation, presents criminal cases in the SBA Court, and provides legal advice to the Administration and BFC. An Administrative Secretary directs the policy and planning work of the SBAA HQ staff, the Area Offices, and the Fiscal Offices. The Secretary also provides policy, political and presentational advice, and other secretariat support, to BFC. There are two Area Offices, one on each of the two bases. The offices are an integral part of the SBAA, and each is headed by an Area Officer. The Area Offices are considered the interface with the Cypriots who live and work in the SBAs. Together with the Administrative Officer in SBAA HQ, the Area Officers act as the main liaisons with the Republic of Cyprus’ authorities. The Customs Service, the Court System and the SBA Police Force makes up the remainder of the Administrative body on the SBAs. The Customs Service has as head a Fiscal Officer, whose responsibilities extend beyond those normally associated with a customs service. The Service’s main responsibilities are imports and exports; immigration and asylum matters; VAT and income tax; tax free schemes for goods and vehicles; control of NAAFI (the base stores), clubs and cafeterias; fisheries, ports and fishing shelters; marine oil pollution; sea bathing areas and ranges; business licensing, and registration of births and deaths. The SBA Customs Service has 49 personnel comprising locally recruited Greek and Turkish Cypriots as well as a small number of U.K. customs officers, and is divided into three geographical areas: Episkopi has a Fiscal Office, and is primarily involved in policy and management matters. SBA Customs Akrotiri’s activities are primarily related to the control of RAF Akrotiri, which has flights from the U.K. and third countries. The base also has 46.5km of coastline and territorial waters to patrol. SBA Customs Dhekelia has a large percentage of its employees based in the Eastern Sovereign Base Area, at the two land boundary crossing points with the Turkish controlled areas. These crossing points are guarded 24 hours a day to regulate movement of goods and people in accordance with EU regulations. The Court System administers the laws of the SBAs, which are closely aligned with, and in some cases identical to those of the Republic of Cyprus. The courts are concerned with any non-military offenses committed by any person within the SBAs, but leave offenses which are purely military up to military courts. There is a resident judge who hears cases at the two SBA courts (one in Akrotiri and one in Dhekelia). For more complex cases a senior judge is brought over as needed from the U.K. The SBAs have their own police force with primary jurisdiction over all offenses committed in the SBAs. The Chief Constable is responsible to the Administrator for good order throughout the bases, and is in charge of the SBA prison at Dhekelia. Although funded 100% by the Ministry of Defense, the SBA Police are an independent U.K. police service with no connections with the Ministry of Defense Police. It is like a miniature U.K. police force. The force is subject to regular inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. The Service currently has 264 officers, comprising seven senior British officers, and the remainder being recruited exclusively from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in accordance with the Treaty of Establishment. The police force is supported by seventeen civilian staff. The competencies and goals of the SBAs Administration, reflected in the role of the two Area Offices is threefold: to administer the SBAs in order to ensure their effective use as military bases; to secure the full co-operation of the Republic of Cyprus at local, district and central government levels; and to protect the interests of those resident and working in the SBAs. In order to fulfill these objectives, the SBAs Administration: -provides local government in the SBAs, enforcing SBA policy and legislation ad monitoring the enforcement of legislation delegated to the appropriate officers of the Republic of Cyprus; -Supports British Forces Cyprus (BFC) in effectively using the SBAs as military bases; -controls development in the SBAs by applying the provisions of SBA policy on non-military development and monitoring the enforcement of the Streets and Buildings legislation delegated to the appropriate District Officers; -acts as liaisons with the Republic’s local, district and central government authorities, the SBA Police an the BFC on a wide range of activities and issues of mutual interest; -protects and enhance the environment of the SBAs by managing the shoreline, forest land and the countryside in general; -controls hunting within the SBAs -issues birth and death certificates for civilian residents of the SBAs, conduct civil marriages and issue marriage licenses for military personnel, U.K.-based civilians and their dependents; -maintains and improve the public infrastructure of the SBAs, including public spaces, roads, rural tracks, public signs and other public amenities.

Political Parties:
The monarch is hereditary and the Administrator is appointed by the monarch, so there are no elections on the SBAs.

Important Legislation:
The SBAs do not have a constitution. Key legislation and treaties include: -Appendix O to the 1960 Treaty of Establishment (the Declaration by the British Government regarding the administration of the SBAs). The Appendix lays out the objectives of the SBAs in Cyprus as well as the fact that the bases are not to create customs posts or other frontier barriers between the bases and the Republic of Cyprus. The Appendix also states that: commercial/industrial enterprises are not to be set up unless in connection with military requirements; that no commercial air or sea ports are to be established; that no new settlement should be allowed apart from for temporary purposes; that property is not to be expropriated except for military purposes, and then only upon payment of fair compensation; that Cypriots are to be granted freedom of access and communications to and through the British bases, freedom of employment and the freedom to cultivate agricultural land, and to fish and navigate in the bases’ territorial waters. The Appendix goes on to state that Cypriot utility services are free to operate in the bases; that the Republic is invited to provide a wide range of public services to be performed for Cypriots in the bases, including education, agricultural services, co-operative development, labour and social insurance services, social welfare services, health and medical services, postal services, and forestry management and the gathering and generation of statistics. The government of the Republic is also given jurisdiction over the maintenance and administration of antiquity sites and ancient monuments on the bases; the collection of any customs duties due on goods imported through the Republic’s ports that are destined for the bases; as well as the collection of taxes, rates, and fees due from Cypriot residents working or living on the bases. The dues from any mining activities within the bases are to be collected by the Cypriot government; and the Republic is invited to register companies and develop partnerships within the bases that are considered to be within the sphere of commerce, industry, transport and employment. -Definitions Sections of Annexes B and C to the Treaty Concerning the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. This is simply a definition of terms that are however important in understanding the relationship between the Republic and the SBAs. -Cyprus Act of 1960. This Act outlines the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus as an independent sovereign country; sets out the framework for the maintenance of the British bases; states that Cypriots are not British citizens; and outlines the shift over to legislation that was drawn up by the Cypriot Government. -Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia Order in Council (1960). This is a section of the Cyprus Act outlining the position of the Administrator, succession to government, appointment of a deputy, the Administrator’s power to make laws, laws that would continue to have effect after independence of the Republic of Cyprus, the Administrator’s powers of pardon, and the offices for the SBAs. -Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865. This addresses changing colonial laws, and the alteration of constitutions, as well as defining colonial terms used in colonial and post-colonial documents. -European Convention on Human Rights, which became applicable in the SBAs as of May 1st, 2004, when the Republic of Cyprus joined the EU. -Protocol 3 to the EU Treaty of Accession, which addresses the arrangements for the SBAs in connection with Cyprus joining the EU.

Principal Taxes:

Associated Power:
United Kingdom




There are 15,700 residents in the SBAs: 7,700 Cypriots; 3,900 service and military personnel, of whom 3,600 live in the SBAs; and nearly 5,000 dependants of whom over 4,400 live in the SBAs. There are nearly 2,700 locally employed civilians.

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up



Crude Birth Rate:

Life Expedctancy:

Crude Death Rate:


Class Division:

The official language is English.

Anglican, as well as others.


Education System:
There are currently four elementary and pre-schools in the SBAs and two secondary schools. The four primary/pre-school schools are Akrotiri School, RAF Akrotiri, with 36 pre-schools students and 496 elementary school students, 2 pre-school teachers and 21 elementary teachers; Episkopi School; Dhekelia School, with 31 pre-school students and 221 elementary students; and Ayios Nicolaos Primary School, located on the Ayios Nicolaos Station, with 171 pupils (29 pre-school and 142 elementary). The two secondary schools are St. John’s School in Episkopi, with 336 students and 321 teachers; and King Richard School in Dhekelia, with 180 students. All of the schools are run by the Ministry of Defense.

Total Pre-schools:(2005) 4
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools: 2
Total Professional Schools 0
Universities: 0


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


A problem that the SBAs experience with their education system is that due to the transitory nature of the families of military personnel, a large percentage of students enroll after the academic year has already commenced and/or leave before it is over. Very few students stay in the base schools for the entirety of their elementary or secondary education. While teachers are more permanent than the students, they too are often spouses of service personnel who are only on the bases for a limited period of time – therefore there is very little continuum in perspective and relationships. For those students that do remain on the island until graduation from secondary school, there are no institutions of tertiary education on the bases, and very limited job prospects after graduation.

Medical Services:
The British bases have one hospital, Princess Mary’s Hospital, which is located near Akrotiri at Zevgari. The hospital has approximately 185 service and civilian staff and provides comprehensive secondary care to service personnel and their dependants. Speciaties include anesthetics, general medicine, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, and oral maxillo-facial surgery. The hospital at Dhekelia closed in 1974.


 The Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are usually referred to as the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA) and Eastern Sovereign Base Area (ESBA). These are parts of the island of Cyprus that remained under British jurisdiction when Cyprus became independent in 1960. The maintenance of jurisdiction over these areas of land is laid out in the Treaty of Establishment. In addition to the Sovereign Bases, the Treaty of Establishment also provides for the continued use by the British Government of certain facilities within the Republic of Cyprus known as Retained Sites, as well as for the use of specific training areas in the Republic of Cyprus. The Boundaries of the SBAs were drawn to include only military instillations, and exclude towns and villages, however there are three enclaves within the Dhekelia SBA: Ormidhia, Xylotymbou, and Dhekelia power station. As a result of the Turkish occupation and other developments, about 7,000 Cypriots now live in the SBAs as well as approximately 7,800 military and U.K.-based civilan personnel and their dependants. The SBAs are considered to be military bases – not colonial territories. Under the Treaty of Establishment, the bases remain Sovereign British Territory under the Crown until the Government of the U.K., in view of changes in their military requirements, decides to divest themselves of the control over them. There are currently no plans to withdraw from the SBAs – they enable the British to maintain a permanent military presence at a strategically situated point in the Eastern Mediterranean. RAF Akrotiri is an important take-off point for military aircraft, and the communications facilities are key for British world-wide links. The SBAs also provide the British with good training facilities in a location that has demanding terrain and reliable weather conditions. Because the SBAs are military bases and not ordinary dependent territories, the Administration reports to the Ministry of Defense in London and has only informal links with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British High Commission in Nicosia.


Recent Significant Events:
The most significant events that have affected the British military bases are Cyprus’ accession to the EU in 2004, and the war in Iraq which has made Akrotiri and Dhekelia an extremely strategic launch pad into the Middle East.

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:


http://www.objectsspace.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Akrotiri_and_Dhekelia Accessed April 13, 2005.

BOROWIEC, A. (2002), ‘Britain Sparks Fears with Upgrades of Cyprus Bases.’ The Washington Times, Tuesday, March 12, 2002.http://www.americanvoiceinstitute.org/DailyNewsBriefing03-12-02.htm Accessed April 13, 2005. CIA WORLD FACTBOOK. ‘Akrotiri.’http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ax.html Accessed April 13, 2005. CIA WORLD FACTBOOK. ‘Dhekelia.’ http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/dx.html Accessed April 13, 2005. OFSTED. Office for Standards in Education. http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/ Accessed April 13, 2005. SOVEREIGN BASE AREAS CYPRUS. http://www.sba.mod.uk/web_pages/index.htm Accessed April 13, 2005. UNITED KINGDOM PARLIAMENT. http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm199899/cmselect/cmdfence/447/447we02.htm Accessed April 13, 2005. WIKIPEDIA. ‘Akrotiri and Dhekelia.’


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