Last Updated: 24 August 2014

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

The Republic of Cyprus is contaminated by antipersonnel and antivehicle mines. The island has been divided geographically and politically by a heavily mined, 180km-long buffer zone since 1974 when Turkish Armed Forces occupied the north of the island. Minefields were laid within and outside a UN buffer zone by both the Greek Cypriot National Guard and the Turkish Armed Forces. The exact extent of residual mine contamination is not known.

As of November 2013, Cyprus reported that no minefields under Cypriot control remained in the buffer zone after having completed the clearance of two mined areas in Dali in 2012 and a further single minefield located at Potamia by July 2013 in accordance with its National Plan.[1] The sole remaining minefield in the buffer zone is located in Turkish-controlled area.[2]

The extent of contamination in areas controlled by Turkish Armed Forces is not known, although Cyprus has claimed in its latest Article 7 transparency report that 21 minefields laid by Turkey’s occupation forces, mostly next to the buffer zone, “are known not yet to be cleared of anti-personnel mines…Precise information on their size, on their composition (whether they include mines other than anti-personnel mines) and on how much land can be safely treated as arable when mines have been cleared are unknown.”[3]

Cyprus further reported that “before and during the invasion of 1974, the National Guard laid…28 minefields north of Nicosia towards the Pentadaktylos mountain range, which are today located in the Turkish-occupied areas. The latter minefields included 1,006 anti-personnel mines, but the Republic of Cyprus is not aware of the current condition of these minefields and whether they have been cleared by the Turkish Armed Forces or not.”[4]

Mine Action Program

There is not known to be an operational mine action program in areas under the control of Turkish forces.

Land Release

In 2013 through July, Cyprus cleared 1,130 antipersonnel mines from a mined area near Potamia village.[5] It is not clear whether there has been any clearance on territory controlled by the Turkish Armed Forces.

Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with a three-year extension granted by States Parties in 2012), the Republic of Cyprus is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but no later than 1 July 2016.

Turkey’s original Article 5 clearance deadline was 1 March 2014. In 2013, States Parties granted Turkey an eight-year extension but it did not request the additional time for clearance in Cyprus.



[1] Response to Monitor questionnaire by George Stavrinou, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 25 November 2013.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., Form G.