A woman mourns for a relative during a memorial service for soldiers who lost their lives in the military operation by Turkey in 1974 at the Tymvos Makedonitissa military cemetery in Nicosia, Cyprus, July 20, 2020. Cypriots on Monday marked the 46th anniversary of the military operation by Turkey that led to the partition of the eastern Mediterranean island. Meanwhile, the prospects of the island's reunification remain dim. (Photo by George Christophorou/Xinhua)
NICOSIA, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Cypriots on Monday marked the 46th anniversary of the military operation by Turkey that led to the partition of the eastern Mediterranean island. Meanwhile, the prospects of the island's reunification remain dim.
People were awakened by the shrill of air-raid sirens at 5:30 a.m. in the morning that marked the exact time when Turkish troops started firing in a military operation on July 20, 1974.
Turkey sent its troops to Cyprus five days after the Greek military junta had staged a coup aimed at overthrowing the government of Archbishop Makarios, invoking its right to intervene as one of the guarantor powers under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. The other two guarantor countries, Greece and Britain, disputed this move.
The Turkish troops established a beachhead on the northern shores of Cyprus, from where they fanned out in mid-August to expand their control over 37 percent of Cyprus' territory, resulting in one of the most intractable international problems on the United Nations (UN) agenda.
Since 1964, a UN peacekeeping force has been deployed in Cyprus to prevent conflicts between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Following the 1974 coup and the ensuing Turkish operation, the UN Security Council extended and expanded this mission. Today, UN peacekeepers control the 185-kilometer buffer zone that divides the two parts of the island.
In the Greek Cypriot part of Cyprus, which is controlled by the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus, commemorative events were held on Monday to pay tribute to the thousands of soldiers and non-combatants who died in the fighting 46 years ago.
Today, almost 100,000 Greek Cypriots live displaced from their homes and properties, and over 800 people are still listed as missing, local media reported.
In a message sent from Brussels, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said his government remains committed to finding a solution in line with international law, the relevant UN resolutions on Cyprus and the EU's principles.
On the other side of the so-called "Green Line" that divides the island, Turkish Cypriots held a military parade to mark the anniversary.
Several rounds of negotiations held since 1976 between the south and the north have failed to provide a solution to the "Cyprus problem." At an international conference held in Switzerland in 2017, the UN declared the talks deadlocked.