As UN backed talks between the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to reunite the island under a federal roof continue, Cyprus marks on Wednesday the 42nd anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion.
Cyprus pays tribute to all those killed during the invasion, which resulted in the occupation of the island’s northern third.
The political and religious leadership remembers and condemns the continuing illegal occupation of Cyprus’ northern part and holds memorials and other commemorative events in the southern government-controlled areas of the Republic.
Air-raid sirens sounded at 0530 local time (0230 GMT) when the Turkish invasion was launched and Turkish troops landed on the island`s northern shores.
In the morning, a memorial service for army officers and soldiers killed during the invasion takes place at Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, in the presence of President Anastasiades.
A formal church memorial service is held at Faneromeni Church in old Nicosia, to be attended by the President and the political leadership. A series of other anti-occupation events will also take place during the day.
In the evening an event will take place at the Presidential Palace marking the anniversaries of both the coup and the Turkish invasion.
Political parties and other associations and groups have issued statements, condemning the Turkish invasion and the continuing occupation and reiterating their determination to fight for a just and viable solution.
Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, following a military coup that toppled the legal government of the Republic which was engineered with the Greek military junta.
In a two-phase invasion and despite repeated calls by the UN Security Council, Turkey occupied 37% of the sovereign territory of the Cyprus. Ankara continues to maintain some 40,000 troops in the northern areas of Cyprus, in complete disregard of appeals for their withdrawal and calls to contribute to a political settlement through peace talks.
The consequences of Turkey’s illegal aggression were devastating and are still felt by the Cypriot people: gross violation of human rights, with hundreds of people still listed as missing, Greek Cypriot refugees in anticipation of a solution that would allow them to return home, enclaved Greek Cypriots being deprived of fundamental rights and the island’s 9,000 year old cultural heritage being pillaged.