Turkish, Greek Cypriot communities mark 1974 coup anniversary

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-21 01:00:37|Editor: yan
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NICOSIA, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Military jets roared at low altitude and sirens sent out shrills as the estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on Saturday marked the 45th anniversary of a Turkish military action that led to one of the world's longest and most intractable problems.

Turkish troops mounted a major military action on July 20, 1974, in response to a coup by the military rulers of Greece at the time, occupying more than one third of Cyprus's territory.

To mark the event, Turkey sent pairs of F-16s to fly at dawn over the northern coast near the city of Kyrenia where its troops beached from landing crafts.

It also sent its deputy president Fuat Oktay to address a celebration gathering of Turkish Cypriots, and watch a military parade, along with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Oktay, making a direct reference to the latest confrontation between Turkey and Cyprus -- the drilling by Turkish drillships, said Turkey will continue its exploration for hydrocarbons.

He also said that Turkey wants what he called a just solution to the Cyprus problem which will guarantee political equality for Turkish Cypriots, making up 20 percent of the island's population and will also address security concerns.

For Greek Cypriots, who were waken by sirens which went off at 5:22 a.m. to mark the time attacking Turkish troops started firing, the anniversary was dedicated to the memory of over 3,000 soldiers and civilian killed in plane bombing and in the fighting and those who are still missing since 1974.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides told a memorial ceremony in Nicosia that Cypriots "do not forget the invasion and occupation of their lands and hope for new negotiations which will lead to the reunification (of Cyprus) in a federal solution and to the end of the occupation of the island."

According to a United Nations source, Cyprus's President Nicos Anastasiades and Akinci are to meet at the end of this month or in early August, after a long hiatus in their talks, to examine how to proceed with the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations.