Cyprus gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, but since then has experienced violence and tension between the Greek and Turkish communities. A Greek military coup in 1974 resulted in the division of Cyprus between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot Republic of Cyprus. The country remains divided to this day, as Turkey continues to occupy the northern part of the country.1 Cyprus is ranked seventh in the world for the number of guns per capita in 2017. Though mass shootings are rarely recorded during peacetime, incidents of family violence occur every few months.2 Moreover, Cyprus serves as a trans-shipment point for small arms, which poses a threat to the country’s security system.3
The country’s guiding gun control legislation includes the Law on Firearms and non-Firearms of 2004. Cyprus has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Firearms Protocol.4 The South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) has cooperated with the country on ensuring effective stockpile management and the destruction of surplus ammunition.5
1 “What Caused the Division of the Island of Cyprus?” Imperial War Museums, 2022, https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-caused-the-division-of-the-island-of-cyprus; “Cyprus: Military Occupation of Cyprus by Türkiye,” Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project (RULAC), Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, updated March 2, 2023, https://www.rulac.org/browse/conflicts/military-occupation-of-cyprus-by-turkey#collapse3accord.
2 Nick Theodoulou, “Cyprus 7th in World for Number of Guns per Capita,” CyprusMail, June 3, 2022, https://cyprus-mail.com/2022/06/03/cyprus-7th-in-world-for-number-of-guns-per-capita.
3 Eric G. Berman, Small Arms Transfers: Importing States (Geneva: Small Arms Survey, 2011), https://smallarmssurvey.org/sites/default/files/resources/SAS-Research-Note-12.pdf.
4 Philip Alpers and Marcus Wilson, Cyprus – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (GunPolicy.org, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022), https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/cyprus.
5 “The Blast in Cyprus and SEESAC Activities”, SEESAC, July 11, 2011, https://www.seesac.org/News-SALW/The-Blast-in-Cyprus-and-SEESAC-Activities.
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Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, two accidental explosions have been reported in Cyprus.
Table 1. Accidental explosions in Cyprus (1979–2021)
Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021, https://smallarmssurvey.org/database/unplanned-explosions-munitions-sites-uems.
Cases of diversion
Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Cyprus.
In cooperation with SEESAC, the country has disposed of its small arms, light weapons and ammunition since 2002.
Source: “The Blast in Cyprus and SEESAC Activities,” SEESAC, July 11, 2011, https://www.seesac.org/News-SALW/The-Blast-in-Cyprus-and-SEESAC-Activities.
No needs have been reported for Cyprus.
Source: Cyprus, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN, 2020), https://unoda-poa.s3.amazonaws.com/reports/CYP-English-1040-SUBMITTED.pdf.