On July 20, 1974, the serene island of Cyprus was shattered by the Turkish military invasion, forever altering the lives of Greek Cypriots and leaving a lasting scar on our collective memory. As we approach the anniversary of this tragic event, it is crucial to examine the history of Cyprus, the two invasions that transpired, and the ongoing negotiations that aim to bring justice and reconciliation to our people.

Cyprus, a land with deep ties to Hellenic culture, has a storied past marked by Greek civilization, Byzantine heritage, and British colonialism. In 1960, Cyprus gained independence from British rule, envisioning a united republic shared by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

On July 15, 1974, Greek Cypriots witnessed a coup orchestrated by Greek nationalists seeking Enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece. This reckless action triggered the subsequent Turkish military invasion on July 20, displacing thousands of Greek Cypriots from their homes. Turkish forces occupied approximately 37% of Cyprus, establishing the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Following the invasion, numerous attempts have been made to address the Cyprus conflict and find a peaceful solution. The United Nations has played a pivotal role in facilitating negotiations between the two sides, aiming to restore the rights and lands of Greek Cypriots affected by the invasion. Efforts have been made to ensure the return of displaced persons and the restoration of property rights, allowing for a comprehensive reconciliation process.

Despite sincere intentions, progress has been hindered by the complex nature of the conflict. Greek Cypriots advocate for a reunified Cyprus with power-sharing mechanisms that protect the rights and interests of all communities. However, challenges persist, including the presence of Turkish troops, territorial disputes, and the refusal to acknowledge the suffering endured by Greek Cypriots.

Today, the island remains divided, with Greek Cypriots inhabiting the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus in the south. However, the TRNC, identified only by Turkey, maintains control over the island’s northern part, predominantly inhabited by Turkish Cypriots.

Negotiations continue, but Greek Cypriots face significant obstacles in pursuing justice and reunification. The presence of Turkish troops, which are a constant reminder of the occupation, must be addressed to build trust and foster lasting peace. Additionally, restoring property rights and returning displaced Greek Cypriots are critical components of any just settlement.

As we approach the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, it is essential to remember and honor the lives lost, the homes destroyed, and the suffering endured by Greek Cypriots. It is also a time to reiterate the unwavering commitment to justice, truth, and reconciliation.

Greek Cypriots believe in a future where the wounds of the past can be healed through dialogue, understanding, and compromise. We acknowledge the importance of recognizing the pain and losses suffered by both communities and strive for a reunified Cyprus that respects all its people’s rights, dignity, and aspirations.

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 inflicted immense pain and suffering on Greek Cypriots, leaving an indelible mark on our history. However, through ongoing negotiations and a steadfast commitment to justice, we remain hopeful for a future where Greek and Turkish Cypriots can coexist in peace, harmony, and genuine reconciliation. As we commemorate the anniversary of this tragic event, let us reaffirm our dedication to a united Cyprus that upholds the rights and aspirations of all its people.