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Statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, on the 44th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Forty-four years ago today, on 20 July 1974, Turkish military forces invaded Cyprus, seizing territory and dividing the island and its people in two. They left behind many victims and missing, as well as numerous violations of the most basic human rights. Thousands of Cypriots were forced to flee their homes and become refugees in their own country. The destructive mania of the invader also failed to respect religious and cultural heritage. Many Greek and Christian monuments suffered their barbarity. The Turkish Cypriots themselves were also victims of the Turkish invasion.
Forty-four years later, Turkey continues, in Cyprus, to violate every notion of international law and to ignore the decisions of the United Nations. Cyprus, a member of the United Nations and the European Union, remains under the illegal military occupation of another member state of the United Nations.
The key to a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem is to render the reunited state of Cyprus a normal modern state, to the benefit of the prosperity of all Cypriots. A state with full sovereignty, full independence and territorial integrity, free from foreign occupation forces, foreign dependencies and unilateral interventions of third countries in its internal affairs.
These conditions are set out in the proposals the Secretary-General of the United Nations presented at the Conference on Cyprus, in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Constructive proposals that only Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community objected to, persisting in their anachronistic and intransigent stances for keeping the Turkish military forces in Cyprus and maintaining Turkey’s unilateral ‘right’ to intervene in the internal affairs of Cyprus.
We hope that the recent appointment of an envoy of the UN Secretary-General will give new impetus in the efforts to settle the Cyprus problem.Greece continues to stand supportively by the side of Cyprus, Cypriot Hellenism and the Cypriot people as a whole, with the goal of the island’s reunification into a sovereign and independent Cyprus state.