Forty-nine years since the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

Today marks the forty-ninth anniversary since the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, during which the Turkish military forces that invaded the island on July 20, 1974, seized more areas of the Republic of Cyprus, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, becoming refugees in their own homeland.
On August 14 1974, the Turkish forces, despite the truce that was agreed, furthered their expansionist plans, violating repeatedly every rule of international law. That was another dreadful day in the modern history of the Republic of Cyprus, marking the launch of the “Attila II” operation.
By the afternoon of August 16, the Turks captured 37% of the Cypriot territory. Within less than three days they had concluded the occupation of Pentadaktylos mountain. Moreover, they seized the Mesaoria plain, Morphou and Karpasia.
In the early hours of August 14, the Turks bombed Famagusta. Its inhabitants left the city, when they heard the bombings. The city was seized without any substantial military resistance. Capturing the city was not at it seems initially within Turkey’s plans.
After being pillaged, the city was closed by the Turkish troops and no one was allowed to enter. Gradually it became a “ghost town”. The announcements and the actions taken during the last years by the Turkish side to open part of the fenced off area (Varosha), with a view to create new faits accomplish, have sparked reactions both by Nicosia and the international community.
The status of the fenced off area of Famagusta is being protected by UN Security Council resolutions 550 and 789, is being blatantly violated by Ankara’s expansionist policy.
The UN has with many resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council demanded respect to the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus, the return of refugees to their homes and the withdrawal of foreign troops from the island, however all resolutions have provocatively been ignored by Turkey.
The Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly throughout the years demanded the respect of the resolutions and the return of Famagusta to its legitimate inhabitants, while it has submitted proposals to this end, however all efforts were hindered by the Turkish side’s denial.
Despite the claims which the Turkish side has for some time now been putting forward for a “two state solution”, the Greek Cypriot side underlines that the only option is a Cyprus settlement according to the UN parameters and that it remains committed to the effort to find a viable solution to the Cyprus problem, on the basis of the agreed framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as defined by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulides, speaking during the recent anti-occupation rally of the Famagusta Municipality, at the Municipality’s Cultural Centre, in Dherynia, referred, among others, to Turkey’s provocative stance and its illegal actions in Famagusta, noting that contrary to this Nicosia clearly aims to create conditions that will lead to the resumption of substantive talks from where they were left off in the summer of 2017.
He stressed that he works intensively for a settlement on the basis of the UN relevant resolutions, that will be compatible with the principles and values of the EU and the EU acquis, a settlement providing for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as provided in the UN relevant resolutions, a settlement that will be functional and viable, for a state with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship without occupation troops and guarantees.
The President also announced that he had talked with the President of the Reconstruction and Resettlement Council, and an updated study is underway for the occupied city of Famagusta, with an emphasis on the fenced-off town. President Christodoulides said that this study is expected to be completed in September and will include specific actions required to be taken immediately after the solution for the reconstruction and resettlement of the area.
He said that this proves that in addition to the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, the government is working for the day after the solution. He announced that this study will be handed to the European Union which has previously been involved in similar cases in other member states.