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Cyprus commemorates tragic anniversary of the Turkish invasion
2011-07-20 07:30:01

July 20, 2011, marks 37 years since the Turkish military invasion and subsequent occupation of 37% of Cyprus` territory by Turkey.

Cyprus pays tribute to those killed during the invasion and those still missing, with memorials and other commemorative events in the government-controlled areas of the Republic.

Air-raid sirens wailed at 0530 local time (0230 GMT), the same time at which the Turkish invasion was launched 37 years ago after Turkish troops landed on the island`s northern shores.

This morning a memorial service for army officers and soldiers killed during the invasion took place at Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, in the presence of Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, Greek National Defence Minister Panayiotis Beglitis, representatives of the Hellenic Parliament and other officials. An official memorial service was also held at Faneromeni Church in Nicosia in the presence of President Christofias.

A series of other anti-occupation events took place during the day. Political parties have issued statements condemning the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation.

Turkish troops invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974, following a coup that toppled the legal government of the Republic which was engineered by the Greek military junta. In a two-phase invasion and despite repeated calls by the UN Security Council, Turkey occupied 37% of the sovereign territory of the Republic.

Ankara continues to maintain some 40,000 troops in the northern areas of Cyprus it occupies,completely disregarding appeals for their withdrawal and calls to contribute to a political settlement through peace talks.

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