History

The activities of the National Archive commenced in 1969, following a number

of requests by intellectuals.  Its mission is to house the historical and cultural 

heritage of Cyprus in general and of the Turkish Cypriot Community in 

particular and to preserve the collective national memory. The proposal for its 

foundation was submitted to the Executive Council on 9 August 1971 by the 

late Rauf Raif Denktaş. This was approved and it was decided that a Turkish 

Cyprus National Archive and Research Centre should be established and 

operate as a branch of the Department of Youth, Sports, Village and Public 

Education. The National Archive was formally opened to the public on 18 

June 1973. It was originally housed at the Top Hisarı (Cannon Bastion) in 

Nicosia.  On 11 January 1975, the National Archive moved to its present 

premises in Kyrenia.


Approximately 10,000 documents about Cyprus were selected from the 

archives of the Prime Ministry and the Topkapı Palace Museum in Istanbul, 

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate General of Foundations and the 

Directorate General of Land Registers in Ankara, as well as from various 

museums. These were microfilmed and brought to Cyprus in December 1971.

During this process, the Department of Youth, Sports, Village and Public 

Education started to collect newspapers, magazines and documents from the 

community. Documents from Turkish institutions and organizations, offices 

and some houses, which were abandoned after the Peace Operation, were 

also added to the collection.


The National Archive and Research Department achieved the status of an 

official department under Law 15/1990 and Mr. Haşim Altan was appointed as 

director of the department on 1 July 1991.


In spite of the in-service training, the materials collected from the institutions, 

organizations and the community proved impossible to properly sort and 

organize. To resolve this situation, two additional storage buildings (No. 1 and 

No 2) were constructed in 1987 and in 2000 respectively and a special room 

for manuscripts was constructed in 1998.


After the retirement of Mr. Haşim Altan in 2000, Mr. Gökhan Şengör was 

appointed as the new director. The continuing task to classify and organise 

the collections soon revealed the need for a new building with real archival 

standards. Thus, it was decided to construct a new modern storage building, 

which was put into service on 20 July 2012. The new building has a shelf 

length of 10 kilometres and is fully air conditioned.



On 1 January 2008, the National Archive and Research Department became 

an independent section of the Presidency.  It was also tasked with preserving 

the archives of non-governmental organisations, commercial partnerships 

(such as the Cyprus Turkish Airlines, the Personnel Charity Fund, etc.) and 

political parties.