On the 15th of July 1974, the military junta then ruling Greece organised a coup to overthrow the President of the Republic Archbishop Makarios, and to do so, used the Greek forces stationed in Cyprus to protect the island against a possible Turkish attack. President Makarios managed to flee abroad, where he continued his struggle for justice. Under the pretence of restoring peace, Turkey invaded Cyprus on the 20th of July with a landing fleet and air force and by July 23, when the ceasefire was achieved, managed to establish an assault bridge in the north in the Kyrenia region. From this assault bridge, military equipment and soldiers began to land on the island and on the 14th of August, the Turkish invasion forces launched a new attack, thus having about 37% of the island under their control.
Ankara tried to present the invasion as a peace operation which aimed at restoring the constitutional order that had been violated by the coup. However, even after the restoration of the constitutional order and the return of President Makarios in December 1974, the Turkish troops remained and promoted Turkey’s plans to colonise Cyprus as a first step towards annexation. With force (cold-blooded murders, rapes, assaults, torture) 200,000 Greek Cypriots, 40% of the total Greek population of the island were forced to abandon their homes in the occupied areas and become refugees in their own homeland. The few thousand Greek Cypriots that remained in their homes after the invasion were forced to abandon them gradually via blackmailing and other despicable actions. Out of the approximately 20,000 that had originally remained, only a few hundred are still living in their homes in the northern part of the island, mainly in the Karpasia region
Creation of fait accompli
The efforts of the Greek Cypriot side to achieve a negotiated settlement always stumbled on Turkish intransigence. On February 13, 1975, Rauf Denktash moved a step further towards the division of Cyprus, declaring the occupied area the “Turkish Federal State of Cyprus”.
The Turkish Cypriot leader clearly demonstrated his intentions to consolidate the fait accompli instead of seeking a solution when in July 1982, he decided to give Turkish Cypriots and settlers from Anatolia “title deeds” for Greek Cypriot properties. Furthermore, the occupational regime created “ministries” and “services”, started issuing “travel documents” and established the Turkish pound as the currency in the occupied area. They also proceeded to create a “central bank” as a further step towards the steadfast implementation of Ankara’s policy to annex the occupied area of the island.
In addition, while the UN Secretary General was in the midst of developing a new initiative to begin substantial talks for a just solution of the Cyprus problem, Denktash proclaimed the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” on the 15th of November 1983
The UN Security Council, as per resolutions 541 and 550, has deemed the proclamation of the pseudostate as legally invalid and has and called upon all countries not to recognise it. Only Turkey has recognised the pseudostate.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE TURKISH INVASION AND OCCUPATION IN FACTS AND FIGURES
37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus is illegally occupied.
200,000 Greek Cypriots – one third of the total population – were displaced from the occupied northern part of the island where they comprised 80% of the inhabitants, and are being kept away from their homes and properties while the Turkish Cypriots in the free areas were forcibly transported by their leadership to the occupied areas.
1,491 people continue to be missing to date, and the Turkish side refuses to cooperate to determine their fate.
Only a few hundred trapped locals (out of 20,000 at the end of 1974) still stay in their occupied villages, and are living under abhorrent oppression.
40,000 Turkish troops, equipped with modern weapons and backed by the air force and navy continue to be stationed in the occupied region.
About 120,000 settlers from Anatolia have been transferred and installed in the occupied area, aiming at the changing the island’s demographics.
40,000 Turkish Cypriots out of 103,000 have abandoned the occupied areas since 1974 (according to Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen, 30/8/94) due to the economic, social and moral decay there.
The occupational regime is methodically implementing a long-term plan to eradicate the 9,000-year-old cultural and historical heritage of the occupied areas:
- At least 55 churches have been transformed into mosques.
- About 50 other churches and monasteries have turned into warehouses, barns, inns, museums, cinemas, and public toilets, or have been demolished.
- The cemeteries of at least 25 villages have been desecrated and ruined.
- Innumerable icons, church vessels and all kinds of archaeological treasures are being stolen and sent abroad.
- Illegal excavations and flagrant exploitation of antiquities is happening.
- Greek place names have been turned into Turkish names.
78 UN Security Council resolutions and 13 General Assembly resolutions on Cyprus between 1974 and 1999 are being blatantly ignored by Turkey.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE MISSING PERSONS FROM THE TURKISH INVASION, PLEASE VISIT THE FOLLOWING SITE.