Greece, Turkey Spar Over 1964 Cyprus Napalm Bombing Anniversary

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA – Although Turkish-Cypriots were aided by the Cypriot government to attend a celebration of the 1964 napalm bombing of a village, killing women and children, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry is upset over Greek criticism of the event.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called “unfortunate” a harsh statement by Greece’s Foreign Ministry which denounced the celebrations as an “affront to international law,” while Cyprus’ government curiously remained mostly quiet.

Turkey dropped the fire bombs 53 years ago on the Tylliria region in northwestern Cyprus without any condemnation from the international community which let it go. It came during clashes on the island.

“The Greek statement contained allegations concerning the support provided by Turkey as a motherland and guarantor to the courageous and noble struggle of the Turkish Cypriots in 1964 against the common enosis aspirations and ethnic cleansing attempts of the Greek Cypriots and Greeks,” the Turkish statement said, adding that it “deplores and condemns these completely baseless and false allegations.”

On Aug. 8, some 1,000 Turkish Cypriots were bused through the Limnitis checkpoint into government-controlled areas en route to the Turkish-Cypriot enclave of Kokkina to take part in the celebration.

Cypriot Deputy Government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos described the event Aug. 9 as “a heinous anniversary” but didn’t say why the government aided in its commemoration by helping Turkish Cypriots attend.

Turkey reacted sharply.”For many years, the Greek Cypriots and Greeks resorted to every possible means of propagating fear and instigating violence with the aim of expelling the Turkish Cypriots from the Island of Cyprus through ethnic cleansing. This most recent statement probably reflects a futile attempt to cover up their feeling of guilt regarding their acts,” it added, according to the Anadolu News Agency.

Instead, Turkey said 18 Turkish-Cypriots were “martyred in Erenkoy while fighting against the Greek Cypriots aggression,” during the clashes that came 10 years before Turkey unlawfully invaded and seized the northern third of the island which it still occupies, and which only it recognizes.

Unity talks between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in July at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana collapsed when Turkey said it would never remove a standing 35,000-strong army and the right to militarily intervene and invade further when it wanted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the troops will be there “forever,” as he refuses to recognize Cyprus – a member of the European Union Turkey wants to join – and bars its ships and planes.