General Info

Army’s foundation year and mandatory military service?

The Articles 129 to 132 of the 1960 Democratic Constitution of Cyprus, foresaw the formation of an army force for the Republic, consisting of 2,000 men, from whom, 60% were of Greek-Cypriot nationality, and 40% of Turkish-Cypriot nationality. Shortly after the declaration of independence of the Republic of Cyprus, upon the Zurich agreement, the formation of the Cyprus Army began. Military service was not obligatory, and conscription could only be imposed via a mutual agreement between the Greek-Cypriot President and the Turkish-Cypriot Vice-President. Concurrently with the attempted formation of the Cypriot Army, the Special Mixed Cyprus Staff (SMCS) was founded, which in 1964 was renamed to the National Guard. The Cypriot Parliament adopted in June 1964 the “National Guard” law, through which the obligatory military service was ratified, hence initiating the establishment of the Army of the Republic of Cyprus. The Military service was determined to last up to 18 months. Military service in the Republic of Cyprus is mandatory for males with age 18 and over (Efthymiou 2016). Today, the obligatory service period is 14 months. Currently, only Greek Cypriots serve in the military. 

Independence Day

In Cyprus, Independence Day falls on 1 October. It is celebrated by festivals at schools and a large military parade in the capital. Cyprus became independent from the British in 1960 after Cyprus won full sovereignty from Britain.

Year of accession to Finabel
The National Guard was inducted into the FINABEL Committee in 2008 and has since been actively involved in its meetings and endeavours. In June 2010, the National Guard organized a gathering of Standard Military Experts in Larnaka, and in April 2013 took over the Presidency of the Committee, which culminated in April 2014 following the conclusion of an annual meeting between army commanders in Nicosia.

Nato Accession

Cyprus remains the only European Union member who is not even a member of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, due entirely to the outstanding reunification problem. Immediate NATO membership for a reunified island, however, would automatically embed, and therefore replace, a joint Greek-Turkish-British security guarantee within an Alliance commitment to the entire island without any need for alternative mechanisms.

However, Cyprus is bound by the mutual assistance clause of Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union.


Budget: Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Cyprus was reported at 1.5722 % in 2018, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources. Cyprus – Military expenditure (% of GDP) – actual values, historical data, forecasts and projections were sourced from the World Bank on May 2020.


Minister of defence:  Savvas Angelides

Chief of the Cypriot National Guard: Lieutenant General Dimokritos Zervakis prior to his appointment as Chief of the Cypriot National Guard, was, for two years the Commander of the 1st Army/EU OHQ, Hellenic Army.

Forces Composition

The Cypriot Armed Forces are grouped into the national guard and comprise of the Active Armed Forces (land, navy and air forces), their support branches (support and common corps), the Home Guard, the Reserves and the conscripts.

Land Forces

These consist of formations at Brigade and Regimental Combat Group levels.

Naval command

The Cyprus Naval Command is the armed sea wing of the Cyprus National Guard. This force does not possess any capital ships or other major warships, but is equipped with patrol boats, landing craft, surface-to-surface missile systems and integrated radar systems, as well as SEALs – type naval underwater demolitions units. The Naval Command, comprising the Staff and the Naval Units, answers directly to the Chief of the National Guard General Staff.

Air Force Command

The mission is maintaining a high degree of operational readiness, with appropriate organization, staff training and maintenance of the means and systems available or assigned for the successful conduct of air operations, in accordance with the current military plans. The Airforce Command, comprising the Staff and the Aviation Units, such as Helicopter and Aircraft Squadrons, Air Defence Squadrons, Air Control Squadrons and Support Squadrons, answers directly to the Chief of the National Guard General Staff.

Operations and Missions

EU operations and activities

Cyprus is pursuing the support of the Common Security and Defense Policy of the EU; it participated and until today still participates in a series of missions conducted by both the EU and the UN. Particularly, in the missions “ARTEMIS”, “EUFOR RD Congo” and “EUSEC Congo” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in “EU Support to AMIS II” in Sudan/Darfur of Africa, “EUPOL PROXIMA” in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in “EUFOR Tchad/RCA” in the Republic of Chad, “EUBAM Moldova-Ukraine” in Moldova- Ukraine and in “EUFOR Central African Republic”. Currently, Cyprus participates with officers in the headquarters of “EUTM MALI”,“EUNAVFOR ATALANTA” and “EUNAVFOR MED SOPHIA”

Additionally, the National Guard contributes to the European Union’s Battle groups, which make up multinational, rapidly development, military battle groups that can operate either autonomously, or as part of a wider operation. Specifically, the National Guard participates with Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine in «HELBROC» Battle group. The “HELBROC” Battle group was in operational readiness in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2018, as it is currently, in the first semester of 2020.

Furthermore, officers of the National Guard are serving in the Military Representation to the EUMC as well as the European Defense Agency, the EU Military Staff and the European Security and Defense College.


Cyprus has been a member of the United Nations since the 20th of September 1960.

Because of the situation in Cyprus the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was created with the consent of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus since the 27th of March 1964. The creation of the Force was done by a mandate of the United Nations Security Council in its resolution adopted on 4 March 1964 [186, (1964)], following the outbreak of inter-community conflicts on the island and the threat of immediate intervention by Turkey.


The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus, by investing in Bilateral Relations, has furthered cooperation in areas of common interest with both neighboring and more remote countries. In addition, it has concluded Bilateral Defense Cooperation Agreements with the following countries.   • United Kingdom • Austria • Armenia • Israel • Lebanon • Egypt   In addition, it maintains special military cooperation with the United States of America, France, Russia, Serbia, Jordan, the Netherlands and Italy.

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