Cyprus marks 43 years since the Turkish invasion

Cyprus marks on Thursday the 43rd anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion which resulted in the occupation of the islands northern third and pays tribute to all those killed. A series of memorials and other events are organised today to commemorate the fallen heroes during the invasion.

Air-raid sirens sounded at 0530 local time (0230 GMT) when the Turkish invasion was launched and Turkish troops landed on the islands northern shores.

In the morning, a memorial service for army officers and soldiers killed during the invasion takes place at Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, in the presence of President Nicos Anastasiades, political party leaders, the religious leadership and other officials.

A formal church memorial service is held at Faneromeni Church in old Nicosia, to be attended by the President and the political leadership. A series of other anti-occupation events will also take place during the day.

In the evening an event will take place at the Presidential Palace marking the anniversaries of both the 1974 coup engineered by the Greek military junta in Athens and the Turkish invasion.

Political parties and other associations and groups have issued statements, condemning the Turkish invasion and the continuing occupation and reiterating their determination to fight for a just and viable solution.

This years anniversary follows a round of UN-backed talks in Crans Montana, Switzerland, which failed to produce any results. The peace talks under the auspices of the UN aim at reuniting the island under a federal roof.

Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, following a military coup that toppled the legal government of the Republic which was engineered with the Greek military junta.

In a two-phase invasion and despite repeated calls by the UN Security Council, Turkey occupied 37% of the sovereign territory of the Cyprus. Ankara continues to maintain some 40,000 troops in the northern areas of Cyprus, in complete disregard of appeals for their withdrawal and calls to contribute to a political settlement through peace talks.

The consequences of Turkey’s illegal aggression were devastating and are still felt by the Cypriot people: gross violation of human rights, with hundreds of people still listed as missing, Greek Cypriot refugees in anticipation of a solution that would allow them to return home, enclaved Greek Cypriots being deprived of fundamental rights and the island’s 9,000 year old cultural heritage being pillaged.

Source: Cyprus News Agency