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Turkish Cypriots to mark Kokkina battle anniversary

Some 30 buses with Turkish Cypriots are expected to cross over at Limnitis on Monday to mark the 53rd anniversary of the bombing on Tylliria by the Turkish air force.

The buses carrying the Turkish Cypriots will cross in the morning and make their way to the small enclave in the government-controlled areas between Pyrgos and Pomos.

The event will be attended by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who will arrive by helicopter. Other Turkish Cypriots are expected to go the area by boat.

Following the inter-communal violence which erupted in December 1963, Turkish Cypriots established a bridgehead at Kokkina in 1964, providing them with arms, volunteers and materials from Turkey.

Seeing this incursion of foreign weapons and troops as a major threat, the Cypriot government launched an attack on the bridgehead. Turkey retaliated by dispatching its fighter jets to bomb Greek positions.

For three days in August, Turkish warplanes bombed the Tylliria area, hitting residential areas and a hospital. Over 50 people were killed, including 19 civilians.

The threat of a Turkish military escalation and a resolution of the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire ended the standoff on August 10, 1964.

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