Cypriot Flag Symbolism

The flag of Cyprus is white, with the shape of the island in copper-orange accross the centre and two green crossed olive branches below it.

The white colour of the flag symbolises peace and purity, while the green crossed olive branches  represent peace and reconciliation between the two communities, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Meanwhile, the copper-orange map of the island, symbolises Cyprus and its large deposits of copper ore. After all, the name Cyprus, “Kypros” ,  did come from the greek word copper according to one legend.

The Cypriot flag was actually adopted in 1960, after the island was proclaimed an independent state from the British, and it was selected by the first president of the Republic, Makarios III. In fact, the flag was selected in 1960, after a flag competition, won by a Turkish Cypriot school teacher and artist called İsmet Güney.

The aim was to create a flag that was neutral for both communities, therefore the colour of the Greek community which is blue and the colour of the Turkish community which is red were deliberately avoided on the flag and neither a cross nor a crescent was to be portrayed. So the artist deliberately used peaceful and neutral colours, which indicate the harmony between the two communities.

The flag was rarely used before the separation of the island in 1974. Greek Cypriots, who after 1960 were striving for “enosis” or union with Greece, used the Greek flag, while Turkish Cypriots hoping for “takism” or the division of the island, used the flag of Turkey. After 1974, The flag of the republic of Cyprus was used more commonly, but only by Greek Cypriots.

Author – Maria Gojkovic