The fall of Varosha remembered

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Monday marks the 49th anniversary of the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus that seized larger areas of the Republic, including the second city Famagusta.

On August 14 1974, Turkish forces ended the truce to further their expansion across Cyprus, known as “Attila II”.

By the afternoon of August 16, the Turks captured 37% of the Cypriot territory.

Within less than three days, they had occupied the 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.

Famagusta was seized without any substantial military resistance. Capturing the resort of Varosha was not initially within Turkey’s plans.

Varosha was closed off by the Turkish army, and no one was allowed to enter. Gradually it became a “ghost town”.

The status of the fenced-off area of Famagusta is protected by UN Security Council resolutions 550 and 789, but the Turkish is determined to reopen Varosha, which was predominantly Greek Cypriot.

The Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly demanded the respect of the resolutions and the return of Famagusta to its legitimate inhabitants.

President Nikos Christodoulides pledged to intensify further promoting his initiative to resume Cyprus talks.

A Presidency said: “Today marks 49 years since the completion of the crime against Cyprus; it is a day of commemoration and condemnation of the barbaric Turkish invasion”.

It said while talks were ongoing at a diplomatic level in Geneva, Turkey proceeded to execute its plan by occupying the city of Famagusta, Morphou and other areas on August 14, 1974, expanding the occupation, bringing more destruction, death, more missing persons, and a new wave of refugees.

“The new advance of the Turkish troops was condemned by the UN Security Council, which convened on August 15 and 16 requesting a ceasefire and the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.”

Furthermore, it notes that after 49 years, the desire for liberation, reunification and return remains, and the “unacceptable current status quo cannot be the future of Cyprus and its people”.

“The only path to which the President remains exclusively committed is breaking the deadlock and resuming talks from where they were interrupted in Crans Montana.

“He has undertaken to break the deadlock and to restart the talks with a more active involvement of the EU, always under the auspices of the UN, for a positive outcome.”