NICOSIA – The 43d anniversary of a second onslaught in an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion was commemorated Aug. 14 on Cyprus, which remains divided as 35,000 Turkish troops are bunkered on the north third their country occupies.
Aug. 14, 1974 was the day the Turkish military launched a second offensive, taking over much of Mesaoria, Famagusta, Karpasia and Morphou, which remain in enemy hands.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who walked away from unity talks in July at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said his country would not remove its army and would keep the right to invade further, again in vain called for Turkey to pull out.
“This day evokes dark memories” said Deputy Government Spokesman Viktoras Papadopoulos, in a written announcement, the Cyprus Mail reported. Papadopoulos said Anastasiades and the government condemned the continuous occupation, a statement made annually on the date and ignored by Turkey.
Papadopoulos said despite the collapse of the talks that Anastasiades is ready to return to the negotiating table “even tomorrow” if Turkey withdraws its demand to keep its army and military intervention rights.
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 ruling Greece.
Two meaningless 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 with the talks going on, Turkey invaded again and was not stopped by the international community amid reports then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger looked the other way and let the invasion happen.