Sunday marks the 48th anniversary of when the Turkish military launched its second offensive on Cyprus occupying the best part of Mesaoria, Famagusta, Karpasia and Morphou.
Turkish troops 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. Three weeks after the ceasefire of July 22, and despite the fact that talks were still being held and just as an agreement seemed about to be reached, the Turkish army mounted a second full-scale offensive.
As a result, Turkey increased its hold to include the booming tourist resort of Famagusta in the east and the rich citrus-growing area of Morphou in the west.
In a post on Twitter, President Nicos Anastasiades spoke of the “continuation of the occupation”.
“For 48 years Turkey insists on occupying and violating the rights of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and their desire to live in a homeland free from occupying troops and reunited.”
Political parties and organisations also issued statements condemning the invasion.
Ruling Disy said August 14 was a day that “awakens dark memories for the Cypriot people”. It also said that 48 years of illegal invasion and occupation was “not enough to forget our occupied territories”.
Paying tribute to those who fought and died on that day, the refugees who fled their homes, and those still missing, the party “once again” called for unity, “drawing lessons from the past to strengthen our will to fulfill our historical debt for the liberation and reunification of our homeland”.
Main opposition Akel said the anniversary of the beginning of the second phase of the Turkish invasion “completes the black anniversaries that mark the Cypriot people and the modern history of the country”.
“Turkey took advantage of the betrayal of the coup d’état and obtained the green light from the US-Nato in order to lead, with its unacceptable claims, to the sinking of the Geneva Conference in order to launch a new military offensive on 14 August,” the party said.
“The Cypriot people remember that during the second phase of the invasion, a second betrayal took place. The coupists abandoned the city of Famagusta to the advancing Turkish army, who occupied it even though it was not included in their plans so that he could use it as a bargaining chip, as they are doing to this day.”
Akel said the dangerous and disheartening phase in which the Cyprus problem finds itself today must awaken every Cypriot and that the illegal actions of Turkey in Varosha, the enclosed city of Famagusta are part of a new cycle of aggression with the aim of finalizing the partition of Cyprus.
The party said the resumption of negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem on the agreed basis and framework could cancel these plans and called on both Cypriot peoples not to give up the struggle for a solution.
Other political parties also issued announcements condemning the continued Turkish occupation of the northern third of the island.