Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Location of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (red)
Location of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (red)
Location of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (pink) on Cyprus (pink, grey and beige)
Location of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (pink)
on Cyprus (pink, grey and beige)
StatusBritish Overseas Territory
Largest civilian settlementAkrotiri
Official languagesEnglish
Other languages
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
• Administrator
Major-General James Illingworth OBE ex officio
• UK government minister[a]
Alan Duncan MP
LegislatureParliament of the United Kingdom
HM Privy Council
SBA Administration[1]

17 February 1959
(Prospective; London Conference 1959)
29 July 1960
(Prospective; Cyprus Act 1960)
3 August 1960
(Prospective; The SBA Order in Council 1960 (S.I. 1960/1369))
16 August 1960
(Act and Order appointed day)
(Treaty of Establishment)
• Total
254 km2 (98 sq mi)
• Estimate
  • c. 7,700 Cypriots
  • c. 3,600 UK Personnel
  • c. 4,400 Dependents
  • c. 15,700 total
CurrencyEuro (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
• Summer (DST)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+357
  1. ^ Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with responsibility for Europe and the Americas.

The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia[2] (abbr. SBA; Greek: Περιοχές Κυρίαρχων Βάσεων Ακρωτηρίου και Δεκέλιας, Periochés Kyríarchon Váseon Akrotiríou kai Dekélias; Turkish: Egemen Üs Bölgeleri Ağrotur ve Dikelya) is a British Overseas Territory on the island of Cyprus. The areas, which include British military bases and installations, as well as other land, were retained by the British under the 1960 treaty of independence, signed by the United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and representatives from the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, which granted independence to the Crown colony of Cyprus. The territory serves an important role as a station for signals intelligence, and provides a vital strategic part of the United Kingdom communications gathering and monitoring network in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The territory is composed of two Base Areas. One is Akrotiri (Greek: Ακρωτήρι pronounced [akroˈtiri]; Turkish: Ağrotur Turkish pronunciation: [ˈɑɰɾotuɾ]), or the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA), which includes two main bases at RAF Akrotiri and Episkopi, plus all of Akrotiri Village's district (including Limassol Salt Lake) and parts of eleven other village districts.[3] The other area is Dhekelia Cantonment (Δεκέλεια Greek pronunciation: [ðeˈceʎa]; Dikelya), or the Eastern Sovereign Base Area (ESBA), which includes a base at Ayios Nikolaos plus parts of twelve village districts.[4]


Remains of the sanctuary and temple of Apollo Hylates at Kourion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Sovereign Base Areas were created in 1960 by the London and Zurich Agreements, when Cyprus achieved independence from the British Empire. The United Kingdom desired to retain sovereignty over these areas, as this guaranteed the use of UK military bases on Cyprus, including RAF Akrotiri, and a garrison of the British Army. The importance of the bases to the British is based on the strategic location of the island, at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, close to the Suez Canal and the Middle East; the ability to use the RAF base as staging post for military aircraft; and for training.

In July and August 1961, there was a series of bomb-attacks against the pipeline carrying fresh water to the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area[5] The pipeline was breached by explosions twelve times.[6]

In 1974, following a military coup by the Cypriot National Guard attempting to achieve enosis (union with Greece), Turkey invaded the north of Cyprus, leading to the establishment of the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This did not affect the status of the bases. Greek Cypriots fleeing from the Turkish forces were permitted to travel through the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area and were given humanitarian aid, with those from Achna setting up a new village (Dasaki Achnas or Achna Forest) which is still in the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area.[7] The Turkish advance halted when it reached the edge of the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area to avoid military conflict with the United Kingdom. In the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area a tented refugee camp was set up at "Happy Valley" (part of the Episkopi Cantonment)[8] to house Turkish Cypriots fleeing from Limassol and the villages surrounding the Area, until in 1975 they were flown out of RAF Akrotiri via Turkey to northern Cyprus.[9] Some Greek Cypriot refugees remain housed on land in the parts of Trachoni[10] and Kolossi[11] villages that fall within the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area.[12]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Akrotiri və Dekeliya
Bân-lâm-gú: Akrotiri kap Dhekelia
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Акратыры і Дэкелія
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ধেকেলিয়া
Bahasa Indonesia: Akrotiri dan Dhekelia
къарачай-малкъар: Акротири эм Декелия
Bahasa Melayu: Akrotiri dan Dhekelia
Nedersaksies: Akrotiri en Dhekelia
norsk nynorsk: Akrotíri og Dekélia
Simple English: Akrotiri and Dhekelia
српски / srpski: Akrotiri i Dekelija
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Akrotiri i Dhekelia
Tiếng Việt: Akrotiri và Dhekelia