Most of Cyprus was on Monday marking 43 years since the second invasion of the island by Turkish Armed Forces.
Most Greek Cypriots and Greece consider Turkey’s actions as a military invasion and a violation of human rights while most Turkish Cypriots and Turkey consider the intervention as a peace operation aimed at protecting the Turkish Cypriots.
In July 1974, Turkish forces invaded and captured 3% of the island before a ceasefire was declared. The Greek military junta collapsed and was replaced by a democratic government.
On August 14 1974, another Turkish invasion – this time in Famagusta, Karpasia and Morphou – resulted in the overall capture of approximately 40% of the island.
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A United Nations Buffer Zone was then formed and is commonly referred to as the Green Line.
Efforts to reunite the island have intensified in the last 15 years with the island going close but failing to reach a settlement in 2004 – with the Annan Plan rejection by the Greek Cypriot community.
Earlier this summer, a conference in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana failed to see Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades reach an agreement with Turkish Foreign Minister Mesut Cavusoglu and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Relations between the two sides have further deteriorated since the Crans-Montana while Turkey continues to threaten the Cypriot government over plans to begin drilling for gas within the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).