It was 15 July 1974 when the Greek military regime attempted to unify with Cyprus resulting in Archbishop Makarios being overthrown and consequently fleeing to Britain. In retaliation, Turkey instigated an invasion of the island on 20 July claiming that an ‘enosis’ could harm the Turkish Cypriot community. A ceasefire was reached on 23 July 1974, however in those days, the island of Aphrodite was partitioned with Turkish troops occupying the northern part of Cyprus.

The green line buffer zone signifies the division, stretching all the way from the tragic village of Morphou to Amohostos. More than 160,000 Greek Cypriots fled to the south during the attacks.

Less than a year later, in February 1975, Ankara announced the establishment of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, appointing Rauf Denktash as president. On 15 November 1983, Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared their independence under the name of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a motion that was rejected by the UN, Greece, and the Republic of Cyprus.

Tony Kyriacou, acting president of SEKA Victoria, expressed his deep condolences to the family members of Cypriot Australians who have lost loved ones as a result of the unwarranted invasion of the island.

READ MORE: Pre and post-invasion Cyprus

“We also recognise the families that have been displaced and traumatised, as a result of such an invasion of human rights, and we extend to them, our heart of love and our hand of support,” he said, while condemning the Turkish government’s recent decision to convert Hagia Sophia, a World Heritage Christian Museum into a Turkish mosque. “This is yet another example of Turkish government aggression and total disrespect and disregard of humanity,” he said. “Another symbolic invasion on civilisation and to human rights.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions SEKA Victoria will limit this year’s commemorations. The events being held are as follows:

Saturday 18 July 2020
2.00 pm
One minute silence in memory of fallen Heroes through the Greek radio 3XY Radio Hellas 1422AM. Tune in with the Cypriot Program hosted by Lambrini Lambrou Christopher from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm and candles will be lit from people’s homes during the one minute silence in memory of all those who lost their lives during the invasion.

Sunday 19 July 2020
9.00am to 11.00am
Memorial service for our fallen Heroes at Saint Efstathios Church to be livestreamed via Channel 31 as attendance will not be permitted due to COVID-19.

12.00 noon to 2.00pm
A special program on Cyprus on 3XY Radio Hellas 1422AM. During this Program Community Leaders will have the opportunity to call and express their support on (03) 96021422.