Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Cyprus on the 45th anniversary since the Turkish invasion of the northern part of the island.
“The Turkish army will never hesitate to take the same step as 45 years ago if needed for the lives and security of Turkish Cypriots,” President Erdogan said on 20 July in a written statement issued by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate.
“Turkey launched the peace operation in Cyprus to protect rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots who are one of the equal owners of the island.
“The entire world is watching our determination. No one should doubt that the heroic Turkish army, which sees [Northern] Cyprus as its homeland, will not hesitate to take the same step it took 45 years ago if needed for the lives and security of the Turkish Cypriots.
“Those who think the wealth of the island and the region only belongs to them will face the determination of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.”
Mr Erdogan added that Turkish Cypriots are an integral part of the Turkish nation.
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Celebrations following the invasion that lead to bloodshed, confiscation of people’s property and belonging and missing people that have yet to be found took place on the northern part of the island that has been occupied by Turkey for 45 years.
Turkish leader Mustafa Akinci laid a wreath at the memorial of Ataturk at the coastal town of Girne. In the memorial book, he wrote that the Cypriot Turkish leadership “continues both its development efforts and also its efforts to maintain permanent peace on the island in line with your [Ataturk’s] principle of ‘Peace at home, peace in the world’.”
Thousands of Turkish Cypriots attended a dawn vigil in the northern part of the island. The island’s self-proclaimed prime minister Ersin Tatar and veterans from the occupation of the island attended the ceremony at a beach in northern Cyprus where the Turkish forces first invaded the island.
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“We have gathered here to celebrate the freedom and peace that came at the dawn of July 20, and to commemorate those who died and suffered for this cause,” Fevzi Tanpınar, the head of Dawn Vigil Organization Committee said during the event. Addressing Greek Cypriots, he said: “Never forget that your fate will always depend on our fate on this island. Notice that our freedoms are inextricably tied to your freedom. Never forget that peace is the only way to live as good neighbors on this Island and live.”