On the 20th of July, 1974, Turkey, using the coup d’état as a pretext, invaded Cyprus in violation of the UN Charter and the principles governing international relations, supposedly to restore constitutional order. Instead, it occupied 36.2% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey has since continued to flout a plethora of UN resolutions demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the island.
The consequences of the Turkish invasion were tragic. Thousands dead, while approximately 180,000 Greek Cypriots living in the north of the country where most Greek Cypriots lived, more than a third of the population were forcibly expelled from their homes and properties and became refugees in their own homeland.
Another 20,000 Greek Cypriots who were enclaved in the occupied areas in 1974 were gradually forced, by intimidation and deprivation of their basic human rights, to leave their homes and find refuge in the government-controlled area of the island.
At the same time, the Turkish Cypriots were forced to go to the occupied areas as part of the Turkish policy of ethnic segregation.
Much of the rich cultural heritage in the occupied part has been destroyed and vandalized, while places of worship have been desecrated. The destruction of the cultural heritage has been largely committed by the Turkish army and Turkish nationals and continues today with the complicity of the occupying power.
A series of resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations, as well as other international organizations, condemn the Turkish invasion and other aggressive actions by Turkey against Cyprus, call for the return of all refugees to their homes under secure conditions and the verification of the fate of the missing persons as well as the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from the island and demand the restoration of human rights and the respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus. In addition, the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey responsible for massive and systematic human rights violations in Cyprus.
The United Nations has taken various initiatives to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island through successive rounds of intercommunal talks held since 1974. Progress has unfortunately been undermined, in various ways, by the Turkish side and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, seeking a settlement that would leave Cyprus permanently divided. The Greek Cypriot side, on the other hand, insists on a real reunification of the country. NEVER FORGET