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Cyprus

Turkish Cypriots expected to cross for Kokkina anniversary

Scores of Turkish Cypriots are expected to travel to enclaved Kokkina on Wednesday to attend the 54th anniversary of the bombing of Tillyria by the Turkish air force in 1964.

According to reports, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the commander of the Turkish armed forces and other officials will be present.

In recent years, more than 1,000 Turkish Cypriots have crossed the Limnitis checkpoint by bus to commemorate the event. Others travel there by boat.

Following 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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