Monday 20 July marks the completion of 46 years since the day that Turkish troops invaded Cyprus.
The bleak anniversary is commemorated every year to honour the fallen and mourn the losses and the trauma of displacement, keeping alive the flame of demand for justice.
In its announcement on the occasion of the day, the Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia, notes that “46 years after the invasion the island still does not forget and remembers the atrocities it suffered.”
Turkey had launched the invasion invoking Article 4 of the Guarantee Treaty, claiming that it gave it the right to defend the Turkish Cypriots and to guarantee the independence of Cyprus.
What preceded five days earlier, on 15 July, was a coup instigated by cooperatives of the Greek junta overthrowing the then President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios.
Until the Security Council reached a ceasefire on 22 July (Security Council Resolution 353), Turkish forces were in control of the port of Kyrenia. Roughly 40,000 Turkish soldiers carried out the “Attila” plan by invading and violating the UN Security Council charter.
Thousands died or went missing while more than 200,000 people were displaced from their homes.
“Attila 2” followed on August 14, 1974 with the occupation of almost 40% of the island.
Recalling the timeline of tragic events, the Pontian Federation’s announcement stresses that “the wounds remain open, 46 years later.”
“Although a number of resolutions have been issued by the UN to date, they have not been able to find an agreeable resolution. The people of Cyprus became refugees on their own land and their human rights, supposedly defended by the ‘UN’, continue to be violated 46 years later,” they note.
“We fully share the pain of our Greek Cypriot brothers and as Greek Pontians who suffered and felt in our own skin the same persecutor, the uprooting and genocide of our ancestors, we declare unequivocally and with knowledge of all the consequences, that we support your struggle for a free Cyprus.
Brothers, we were, are and will always be by your side.
As much as some people want it, WE DO NOT FORGET!,” the statement concludes.