Overview: The Republic of Cyprus collaborated closely with the United States, the EU, and other countries — bilaterally and multilaterally — in international counterterrorism efforts in 2021. Since 1974, the island of Cyprus has been de facto divided into the Republic of Cyprus government-controlled area in the southern two thirds of the island, and the northern third administered by the Turkish Cypriots (TCs). A UN peacekeeping force patrols a buffer zone, also called the “Green Line,” that separates the two sides. The buffer zone is largely open to civilian traffic and remains a significant route for the illicit transit of persons, narcotics, and other contraband. The division of the island has impeded counterterrorism cooperation between the two communities and between the Republic of Cyprus and Türkiye, which do not maintain diplomatic relations. This report covers only the Republic of Cyprus. It does not address terrorism or counterterrorism efforts in the areas under the administration of TCs.
2021 Terrorist Incidents: There were no reported terrorist incidents in the Republic of Cyprus in 2021.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: There were no changes since 2020 to the Republic of Cyprus legal system as it pertains to counterterrorism. Republic of Cyprus authorities arrested six individuals suspected of planning an attack on a prominent businessman residing in Cyprus. The individuals were charged with terrorism and are awaiting trial.
In January, the Department of State’s Export Control and Border Security program began construction of a U.S.-funded training facility, known as the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS). This $7.5 million facility will strengthen regional border security, counterterrorism, and nonproliferation efforts, including customs and export controls, port and maritime security, countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD), counter-improvised explosive device training, and cybersecurity. CYCLOPS was expected to open in 2022.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: The Republic of Cyprus is a member of FATF and MONEYVAL. In December, MONEYVAL released its first enhanced follow-up report to its 2019 Mutual Evaluation Report. The follow-up report found the Republic of Cyprus to be compliant with 16 FATF recommendations, largely compliant with 20, and partially compliant with four. The Republic of Cyprus has no “noncompliant” ratings. The Republic of Cyprus’s Financial Intelligence Unit, known as the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (and as MOKAS), is a member of the Egmont Group.
Countering Violent Extremism: There were no significant changes in Cyprus’s CVE efforts in 2021.
International and Regional Cooperation: The Republic of Cyprus participates in regional and multinational counterterrorism exercises with partners including Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.