The National flag of Cyprus (Greek: Σημαία της Κύπρου simea tis Kipru, Turkish: Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti bayrağı) came into use on August 16, 1960.
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Under the Zürich and London Agreements, whereby a constitution was drafted and Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state. The flag was designed by Turkish Cypriot art teacher İsmet Güney.
The state flag features a map of the entirety of the island, with two olive branches below (a symbol of peace) on white (another symbol of peace). The olive branches signify peace between the Turks and Greeks. The map on the flag is a copper-orange colour, symbolizing the large deposits of copper ore on the island (chiefly in the form of chalcopyrite, which is yellow in colour), from which it may have received its name.
The flag deliberately chose peaceful and neutral symbols in an attempt to indicate harmony between the rival Greek and Turkish communities, an ideal that has not yet been realized. In 1963 Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities separated because of Cypriot inter communal violence.
Before the flag of Cyprus was introduced, the flags of Greece and Turkey were used. The current flag was created as the result of a design competition in 1960. Under the constitution, the flag should not include either blue or red colours (the colours of the flag of Greece and the flag of Turkey), nor portray a cross or a crescent. All participants deliberately avoided use of these four elements in an attempt to make the flag “neutral”.
The winning design was based on a proposal by İsmet Güney, a Turkish Cypriot art teacher. The design was chosen by Makarios III, the first President of the Republic, with the consent of Fazil Küçük, the first Vice-President.
Flag of Cyprus outside Ministry of Finance in Nicosia
Under the constitution of Cyprus, the flag of Cyprus may be flown by state institutions, public corporations, and citizens of the country. State institutions, public bodies and corporations may fly the flag of Cyprus along with both the flag of Greece and the flag of Turkey. Private citizens may fly the flag of Cyprus alongside either the Greek flag, the Turkish flag, or both.
Despite the attempt at a neutral design to promote unity amongst the constituent communities, this flag is most often used only by the Greek Cypriots, since it is associated by the Turkish Cypriots with the Greek-dominated Republic of Cyprus. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the establishment of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkish-Cypriots use the Flag of Northern Cyprus. (See also Flag of India, Flag of Ireland, and Flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina.)
In the design of August 1960, the colour of the map is copper (Pantone 144-C). Both the crest and the two olive-tree leaves are olive green (Pantone 336-C). The background is white with the 3:5 ratio. In April 2006 the design was updated, using Pantone 1385 for copper and Pantone 574 for green and the ratio was changed to 3:2.
Flags produced on Cyprus often differ from the original specifications, both regarding the size of the map and the colours used. The government announced in October 2005, that it would take steps to “start from scratch” and assure that only flags complying with the official specifications would be produced. Wikipedia