NEW YORK – Numerous public officials, Greek and Non-Greek alike, have issued statements marking the “Black Anniversary” – the 40th year of the illegal Turkish occupation of Cyprus. The remarks of New York State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas follow:
This Sunday, July 20th, marks the 40th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Cyprus by Turkish
armed forces. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the illegitimate partition of Cyprus
between the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey. Since then, the United Nations and the international
community have repeatedly condemned Turkey’s military occupation of Cyprus and called for
an end to the conflict. However, despite near universal criticism, the illegal occupation of
northern Cyprus by Turkey continues.
While a political solution does not appear to be on the horizon, I strongly believe that the current
situation is unacceptable. In addition to the illegal occupation of nearly a third of the country,
Turkey must answer for the atrocities committed in 1974, including the thousands of Greek
Cypriots killed and the more than 100,000 who were displaced as a result of the invasion. For too
long Cyprus has been unable to reach its full potential as a nation, hamstrung by the illegitimate
presence of a foreign power. I hope one day to see Cyprus unified and liberated from
occupation, but until then I will do what I can to draw attention to this entrenched conflict.