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Cyprus

Yearbook 2011

Cyprus. An explosive fire in an armory at the naval base Evangelos Florakis in southern Cyprus July 11 had far-reaching political and economic consequences. Nearly 100 containers of seized Iranian explosives, mostly gunpowder, were over-torched and 13 people, among them the navy's highest commander Andreas Ioannides, were killed. The fire spread to the country's largest electric power plant, located right next door. It was switched off, which led to recurring power cuts for several months.

2011 Cyprus

The accident caused political chaos. According to Countryaah official site, thousands of Cypriots demonstrated against the government having allowed the gunpowder to be stored in the solar gas on the fleet base. Defense Minister Costas Papacostas and Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou resigned. The middle party DIKO (the Democratic Party) left the government coalition and the left party AKEL (Workers' Progress Party) was forced to form a new government based on only 19 of 56 seats. In the May 22 parliamentary elections, the right-wing party DISY (Democratic Assembly) had become the largest party with 20 seats, an increase of two. AKEL had lost a mandate but was able to continue to govern together with DIKO.

The power outages hit the economy hard while the country's banks had large sums lent to the crisis-hit Greece. Three credit rating agencies downgraded Cyprus during the year.

Cyprus announced in December that natural gas had been found on its own water off the southeast coast near an Israeli gas field. Turkey, which believes that Cyprus' natural resources should also benefit the Turkish Cypriots, protested against the Cypriot drilling plans and sent its own vessels to nearby waters. No breakthroughs were reached during the year in the negotiations for a united island nation between President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu.

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