12° Nicosia,
22 July, 2024
Home  /  News

Cyprus marks 49 years since Turkey's dramatic military expansion

Looking back at the impact and fallout from the 1974 Turkish invasion

Newsroom / CNA

Today commemorates the forty-ninth anniversary of the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In this phase, Turkish military forces, having initially invaded the island on July 20, 1974, extended their control over additional areas of the Republic of Cyprus. This action forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, becoming refugees within their own homeland.

On August 14, 1974, despite the agreed truce, Turkish forces continued their expansionist agenda, consistently violating principles of international law. This date remains a somber milestone in modern Cypriot history, marking the initiation of the "Attila II" operation.

By the afternoon of August 16, Turkish forces had captured 37% of Cypriot territory. Within an astonishingly short span of under three days, they solidified their occupation of the Pentadaktylos mountain, as well as the seizure of the Mesaoria plain, Morphou, and Karpasia.

During the early hours of August 14, Famagusta suffered Turkish bombings. The residents fled the city upon hearing the blasts. The seizure of the city unfolded with minimal military resistance, a development not initially within Turkey's plans.

Following pillaging, Turkish troops cordoned off Famagusta, forbidding entry to anyone. Gradually, the city transformed into a desolate "ghost town." Recent Turkish announcements and actions aimed at partially reopening the fenced-off area (Varosha) have elicited strong reactions from Nicosia and the international community, viewing it as a strategic maneuver to establish irreversible facts on the ground.

The status of the fenced-off Famagusta area enjoys protection under UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789, yet Ankara's expansionist policy blatantly disregards these safeguards.

Numerous resolutions from the UN General Assembly and Security Council have consistently demanded respect for Cyprus' independence, unity, and territorial integrity, along with the return of refugees to their homes and the withdrawal of foreign troops from the island. Regrettably, Turkey has consistently ignored these resolutions.

The Greek Cypriot side has persistently advocated for resolution adherence and the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants. It has put forth proposals to this effect, but all such endeavors have been impeded by Turkey's refusal.

Despite Turkey's promotion of a "two-state solution," the Greek Cypriot side underscores the sole viable option remains a Cyprus settlement conforming to UN parameters. This approach aligns with the agreed framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as outlined in pertinent UN Security Council resolutions.

President Nikos Christodoulides, speaking at the Famagusta Municipality's recent anti-occupation rally, emphasized Turkey's provocative stance and its illicit actions in Famagusta. In contrast, Nicosia is resolute in cultivating conditions for resuming substantive talks from where they were halted in the summer of 2017.

He stressed his commitment to pursuing a settlement in harmony with UN resolutions and aligned with EU principles and values. The envisioned settlement entails a functional and sustainable bizonal, bicommunal federation, void of occupation troops and guarantees, maintaining a single sovereignty, international identity, and citizenship.

President Christodoulides announced ongoing discussions with the Reconstruction and Resettlement Council's president, aimed at creating an updated study for the occupied Famagusta city, particularly focusing on the fenced-off region. This study, anticipated to conclude in September, will outline immediate steps required following a resolution, highlighting the government's forward-looking stance.

He confirmed the intention to submit this study to the European Union, which has previously engaged in similar cases across member states.

Cyprus  |  Turkey

News: Latest Articles