THE 39TH ANNIVERSARY of Turkey’s second offensive against Cyprus was being marked on Wednesday.
On August 14, 1974, Turkish troops expanded their occupation to include the tourist resort of Famagusta in the east and the rich citrus-growing area of Morphou in the west. In total, almost 37 per cent of the island ended up under Turkish occupation.
Turkish troops first invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, five days after the legal government of the late Archbishop Makarios III was toppled by a military coup engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece.
Two unproductive conferences in Geneva followed; the first between Britain, Greece and Turkey and the second with the additional attendance of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot representatives.
On August 13 the Turkish Foreign Minister called for the respective enclaves to be divided into cantons, and demanded an immediate response.
Greece, Britain and America all saw this as unreasonable. The next day the Turkish army mounted a second full-scale offensive, three weeks after a ceasefire was declared on July 22, and despite the fact that talks were still being held and agreement seemed about to be reached.
President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu are due to resume stalled Cyprus talks in October.