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Cyprus: 31 years of Turkish invasion and occupation
2005-07-20 14:38:11

Nicosia, Jul 20 -- Cyprus payed tribute on Wednesday to those killed 31 years ago, during the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation of the islandís northern third.

Air-raid sirens wailed across the government-controlled areas of Cyprus at 5:30pm local time (2:30pm GMT) -the same time the Turkish troops landed at the island's northern shore on July 20, 1974.

A memorial service for the army officers and soldiers killed during the invasion took place at Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, in the presence of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, other officials and a delegation of the Greek parliament.

Anofficial memorial ceremony was held at Faneromeni Church in Nicosia also in the presence of President Papadopoulos. Finance Minister Iacovos Keravnos will speak at the ceremony.

Many other anti-occupation events will take place during the day. Political parties have issued statements condemning the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37 per cent of Cyprus territory.

Thousands of Greek Cypriots were killed during the Turkish invasion. Hundreds of people have been missing since then. About 200,000 Greek Cypriots, making one third of the island's population, have been forcibly uprooted from their homes and properties.

31 years have passed since the Turkish invasion and some 40,000 heavily armed Turkish troops still occupy Cyprus' northern part, ignoring numerous United Nations resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

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