In commemoration of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus by Turkish forces on July 20 1974, the sirens wailed across the island on Thursday at 5.30am, the time of the first attack on the town of Kyrenia.
In July 1974, Turkish forces invaded and captured 3% of the island before a ceasefire was declared.
The Greek military junta collapsed and was replaced by a democratic government before another Turkish invasion took place in August and resulted in the capture and occupation of around 40% of the island.
The people of northern Cyprus suffered greatly during the invasion of the Turkish forces. Since that day, their lives have forever been changed. The destruction, persecution, loss of homes, jobs and lives are constant reminders of those very dark days which still persist 43 years later.
Even today, Turkish aircraft and warships are flagged on the shores of Kyrenia. In the occupied areas, they celebrate the crime, which they called a “peacekeeping operation”, while in the free areas, memorials and religious ceremonies in memory of those fallen soldiers defending against the Turkish invaders are constant reminders that not all the island is free. The parents of soldiers missing in action are dwindling away. Most are left with the sorrow of never knowing the fate of their loved ones.
While citizens in the free southern part of the island, the Republic of Cyprus enjoy many freedoms and rights as citizens of the EU and a democratic country, many other parts of the world are suffering under oppression.
In the evening, the Cypriot presidential palace will organise an event on the black anniversaries of the military coup on the island and the Turkish invasion, with President Nicos Anastasiades being the main speaker. The Greek government will be represented by the Parliament;s vice-president George Varemenos.