See what the flag of Cyprus looks like, what it represents and why it may have to change
The Cyprus flag most commonly recognised in the world is the national flag of the Republic of Cyprus.
It was adopted in 1960 when the island gained its independence.
The design represents peace with its white background and the green olive branches beneath the map of the island. Interestingly, Cyprus is the only country in the world to have its land mass depicted on its national flag. The colour on the flag of Cyprus is copper coloured, in keeping with the countries heritage.
The current national Cyprus flag flown in the South of the island was adopted as a result of a graphic design Cyprus competition and was chosen by the then president Archbishop Makarios. Ironically, the winner was a Turkish Cypriot called Ismet Guney.
Turkish Cypriot Flag
This Cyprus flag is not seen in the north of the island, otherwise known as the TRNC - the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. There the Cyprus flag flown is a reverse of the Turkish flag.
It is white and has a red star, a crescent and two red lines at the top and bottom of the flag.
This flag was adopted in the North after the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. In a gesture of defiance, the Turkish army painted huge TRNC flags on the Pentadactylos range of mountains (now in Northern Cyprus) which are clearly visible from the capital Nicosia and other parts of southern Cyprus.
There is also a red flag painted on the side of the hill at Kokkino, the tiny Turkish controlled enclave in the midst of Greek Cyprus on the far west of the island. This Cyprus flag can be seen from Relax beach at Pomos, a few hundred metres away.
Should there ever be a solution to the Cyprus problem which results in a unified island, a new Cyprus flag will need to be produced.
The Annan plan, a proposal to unify the island put to the Cypriot people in 2004, carried with it a new national flag of Cyprus.
Unlike the flag of the (Southern) Republic of Cyprus, the Annan plan flag carried the colours of red and blue (the colours of Turkey and Greece). These colours were expressly banned from any flag design in the 1960 competition in order to show Cypriot independence.
The Annan flag was chosen from over 2000 entries in a UN sponsored competition in 2003 and symbolized the separation and division of Cyprus along ethnic lines.
The recent 2008 presidential election represents a key point in Cyprus' history. With the departure of the incumbent president Papadopoulos and a more forward thinking new president in the form of Christofias, there is real hope of a solution to the Cyprus problem.
We await to see whether the current national flag of Cyprus will have to change.