The flag of the Republic of Cyprus adorns government buildings and the Presidential car. It stands side by side with the European flag and other flags on state visits. It is a flag we associate with Cyprus, a flag designed to state peace between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. That after all is why it was picked out in a competition in 1960, designed by Turkish Cypriot art teacher Ismet Guney, when Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state, when a new future was envisioned for the island, one of peace and reconciliation, of a bridging of gaps and differences.
The flag came into use on August 16th 1960, under the Zurich and London Agreements when Cyprus became an independent state. The flag chose peaceful and neutral colours to indicate harmony between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. It is the only flag in the world to show the entire country on it and the two olive branches are a symbol of peace on the white background which is also a symbol of peace. The map on the flag is copper-orange, symbolizing the large deposits of copper on the island.
Before the flag of Cyprus was created, the flags of Greece and Turkey were used. Under the Annan Plan for Cyprus which was rejected by public referendum in 2004, a new national flag would have been adopted by a reconstituted confederal republic of Cyprus. A future settlement will adopt a new flag.
If a settlement and solution is reached what will a new flag look like? Will we look at it proudly? We would hope it would represent a unified island. In the background work is being done to achieve a settlement for lasting peace for this island and hopes are high that this will be achieved in the next year. With it will come a new era for Cyprus. Many hope peace and unification will bring all this. We hope and hope is always the last thing to die.