Commemoration of Cyprus Peace Operation

Turkish Peace Operation - 1974 - Cyprus

The 50th anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation*, will be commemorated this July, Kibris Postasi reports. Turkey’s first aircraft carrier, TCG Anadolu, will participate in the ceremony to be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Together with accompanying ships, TCG Anadolu will perform a naval parade and showcase its strength in the Mediterranean. After TCG Anadolu completes its naval parade, the Turkish Stars and SoloTürk teams will perform demonstration and salute flights.

Special Coin to be Minted

In addition to the performances by the Air and Naval Forces, and a wide variety of activities will be held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the TRNC Peace Operation, including concerts by the band and mehteran (Ottoman military band), sports competitions, conferences, seminars, symposiums, essay competitions, tree planting, exhibitions, and events with sister countries. 

Additionally, a special logo design, commemorative stamp, and coin will be produced for the 50th anniversary.

Kibris Postasi

*The Cyprus Peace Operation, also described by some as the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, was a military intervention launched by Turkey on 20 July, 1974 lasting until 18 August, in response to a coup d’état in Cyprus. 

Historical background leading up to this event:

British Rule and Independence:

Cyprus was under British colonial rule from 1878 until 1960. During this period, there was growing tension between the Greek Cypriot majority, who desired Enosis (union with Greece), and the Turkish Cypriot minority, who favoured Taksim (partition of the island).

Independence and Inter-communal Tension:

Cyprus gained independence from Britain on August 16, 1960, becoming the Republic of Cyprus. The Zurich and London Agreements established a constitution meant to balance power between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

Despite these arrangements, inter-communal violence broke out in 1963-64, leading to UN peacekeeping intervention.

Rise of Nationalism:

The 1960s and early 1970s saw rising nationalism among both communities. The Greek Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios III, sought to reduce Turkish Cypriot influence, leading to further conflict.

The Coup and Turkish Intervention

Greek Coup d’État:

On July 15, 1974, the Greek military junta backed a coup d’état in Cyprus, aiming to achieve Enosis. The coup ousted President Makarios and installed Nikos Sampson, a known supporter of union with Greece.

Turkish Intervention:

In response to the coup and fearing the potential unification of Cyprus with Greece, Turkey invoked its rights as a guarantor power under the Treaty of Guarantee. On July 20, 1974, Turkey launched a military intervention, citing the need to protect the Turkish Cypriot community.

Operation and Aftermath:

The intervention led to the occupation of about 37% of the island’s northern part by Turkish forces. This military action resulted in significant population displacements, with Greek Cypriots fleeing the north and Turkish Cypriots moving to the Turkish-controlled areas.

The intervention ceased after a ceasefire was brokered, but the island has remained divided ever since. In 1983, the Turkish-controlled area declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognised only by Turkey.

Legacy and Commemoration

The Cyprus Peace Operation is commemorated in Turkey and the TRNC as a significant event in protecting the Turkish Cypriot community and preventing the annexation of Cyprus by Greece. The 50th anniversary marks a milestone in this history, celebrating the military intervention and the subsequent establishment of the TRNC.

Conclusion

The historical background leading to the 50th-anniversary event encompasses a series of complex and interrelated political, social, and military developments. The Cyprus conflict remains unresolved, with ongoing efforts for reunification and reconciliation between the Greek and Turkish communities on the island.

Recently, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Cyprus Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar left the island following a second visit to meet the two Cypriot community leaders, other politicians and members of civil society in an attempt to initiate a new round of Cyprus talks. So far without success. [Ed.]

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