Saturday, February 14, 2015


Photo courtesy - the article it accompanies is worth reading

Are you making some of these countries up?

The CIA website (always a great place to look for factual information, though you can generally find it quicker on Wikileaks’ website), states:

“By terms of the 1960 Treaty of Establishment that created the independent Republic of Cyprus, the UK retained full sovereignty and jurisdiction over two areas of almost 254 square kilometers - Akrotiri and Dhekelia. The larger of these is the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area, which is also referred to as the Eastern Sovereign Base Area.”

254 square kilometres! Is that enough to constitute a country? Or maybe just enough to constitute a military base in the middle of the Mediterranean. How convenient! For those of you who think a holiday there might be nice, it’s on the east coast of Cyprus, near Famagusta. It’s very peaceful too, politically speaking, in spite of the other minor conflict taking place on the island – Greeks versus Turks if you need reminding; though there is a serious on-going dispute about the netting and trapping of small migrant songbirds in the spring and autumn (the CIA bothers to note this so it must be code for something).

The place is run by an Administrator, who just happens also to be the Commander of British Forces Cyprus. It has a capital, named Episkopi Cantonment, which is in Akrotiri – yes, this country is large enough that it actually has two provinces. Its flag is the Union Jack and it is ultimately ruled by the Queen, yet, highly ironically, it uses the Euro, which Britain does not, all food has to be imported, and economic activity outside the necessities of the military basis increased last year by a significant percentage, going up from nothing to zero, or it may have been a recession and it went down from zero to nothing.

And no, stop looking for cheap tickets on Travel Advisor; you can’t go there as a tourist, unless you count people who are transiting through the base as a stage in their extraordinary rendition (I have no evidence to support this allegation; it is merely an allegation; I apologise in advance to Her Majesty, the Prime Minister and the President of the USA for even daring to make the accusation).

See also Akrotiri.

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