President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday the government remains focused on achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem in line with international law, UN resolutions and EU values.
“A viable and functional solution that will reunite our divided homeland and free it from the unacceptable state of affairs, transforming it into a normal state, whose fortunes will be managed by the legal inhabitants of the island, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, and Latins,” he said in a post on social media, on the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion.
He added that Turkey and its invasion on the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its threats to colonize Varosha ‘blatantly violate’ the Republic of Cyprus’s rights and undermine the goal of the UN secretary-general to create a more conducive environment for productive talks.
Commenting on Turkey’s recent actions, the president called on the EU to take a more decisive stance.
Anastasiades is still in Brussels for an EU Council conference, preventing him from attending the ceremonies held on Monday.
Earlier, a ceremony for soldiers killed during the invasion at the Makedonitissa cemetery was attended by House president Demetris Syllouris and Greek Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
The officials laid wreaths at the graves on the site.
At a formal church service at Phaneromeni church in the old part of Nicosia after visiting the cemetery, Syllouris said: “We are still struggling for a just and viable solution.”
Regarding Turkey’s actions, he said despite the provocative stance, Cyprus must continue to fight by all peaceful means.
In the evening, an event will occur at the Presidential Palace, where the foreign minister will be the keynote speaker on behalf of the president.
Political parties and various associations and organized groups have issued statements, condemning the Turkish invasion and the continuing occupation and reiterating their determination to fight for a just and viable solution.
Earlier in the morning, air-raid sirens sounded at 05.30 am to mark the time 46 years ago when the Turkish invasion was launched, and Turkish troops landed near Kyrenia on the island’s northern shores.
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus came only five days after the coup engineered by the Greek military junta, then ruling Greece, that toppled the president of Cyprus, the late Archbishop Makarios III.
As a military dictatorship was established in Greece in 1967, relations between Cyprus and Greece became strained.
The junta was meddling with internal politics in Cyprus, much to the dismay of President Makarios.
The situation culminated on July 15, 1974, when the Athens regime instigated a coup by Greek army officers in Cyprus, seeking to achieve ‘enosis’ – or union with Greece. Makarios was overthrown and fled to Britain and then to New York.
As President Makarios was addressing the UN Security Council on July 19, he urged the Council to intervene to restore democracy on the island.
Turkey used this and the military coup as a pretext to invade and impose its partitionist designs on Cyprus. On July 20, 1974, claiming to act under article 4 of the Treaty of Guarantee, the Turkish armed forces launched a full-scale invasion against Cyprus.
The Turkish invasion began at 05.30 on July 20, with heavily armed troops landing in Kyrenia on the northern coast. Around 40,000 Turkish soldiers took part.
A cease-fire was agreed on July 23. In the absence of Archbishop Makarios, the then-President of the House of Representatives and Greek Cypriot negotiator Glafcos Clerides stepped in as acting president.
On August 14, after failed talks in Geneva, Turkey launched its second offensive, Attila II, occupying Morphou, Famagusta, and Karpasia.
Makarios returned to Cyprus in December that year.
Repeated UN-led attempts to reunite the country have so far failed.
Turkey insists on retaining its right of intervention, its role as a guarantor power, and a military presence on the island.