Greek-speaking Cypriots make up about 85 of the population. About
12 of the population is of Turkish extraction, and the remainder
is made up of Armenians and other ethnic groups. Both the Greek
and Turkish communities retain the customs, and, to a great extent,
the national identity of their counterparts on the mainland.
Greek and Turkish are both official languages, though Greek is the
primary language in the Greek Cypriot zone and Turkish is predominant
in the Turkish sector. English is widely spoken in the main towns.
Cypriot Greek, although related to the language of the Greek mainland,
is a dialect believed by language scholars to resemble more closely
the speech of ancient Greece than any modern Greek dialect.
Members of the Greek community adhere to the Church of Cyprus, which
is in doctrinal agreement with the Eastern Orthodox church, but is
independent and has no allegiance to any patriarch. The archbishop
primate, who is bishop of Nicosia, and the three other bishops of
the Cypriot church are elected by the church membership. The Turkish
minority is mostly Muslim. Other small religious groups include Maronites
(Christian Arabs), Roman Catholics, and Jews.