WASHINGTON, July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ambassador Pavlos Anastasiades, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States, today released the following statement on the 37th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus:
"July 20th marks the 37th anniversary of the greatest tragedy in Cyprus' long history. Thirty seven years ago today Turkey illegally invaded and militarily occupied a large part of the Republic of Cyprus. Thousands were killed, injured or went missing at the hands of the Turkish army, while nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forced to flee their homes and property. Cyprus remains forcibly divided to this day.
"Since 1974 with the continuing Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, our island nation has been plagued by human rights violations and the blatant disregard of international law. Turkey occupies more than one-third of the island. Turkish troops have pillaged and desecrated holy and historic sites. The capital, Nicosia, remains partitioned and is the only capital with a military checkpoint. More than 43,000 Turkish occupation troops remain on the island. More than 37 years later, the 'Cyprus Question' remains unresolved. This is an affront to the international legal order and a threat to regional stability. Turkey's actions have been condemned by the international community, including unanimous UN Security Council resolutions.
"On the 37th anniversary of the Turkish invasion, it is important to remember these fundamental facts that have accompanied the long occupation. But, the efforts to end the occupation and division continue and we always hope that this will be the last year we will be a divided nation under foreign occupation. The Cyprus government remains fully committed to the UN-sponsored peace talks on the reunification of the island and will do its utmost to reach a comprehensive settlement that will be to the benefit of all the people of Cyprus. Success is possible, but the key to a solution remains with Turkey and its government.
"I call on the United States as a friend and ally to support these efforts. Cyprus and the U.S. share a deep and abiding commitment to upholding the ideals of freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, and the rule of law. We believe that the international community will respond to its moral and political obligation to stand with Cypriots to reunify our strategic Mediterranean island nation and end the long occupation."
SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus