48th anniversary of Cyprus Peace Operation marked
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar laid a wreath at the Atatürk memorial in the coastal town of Girne.
Officials from Türkiye, including Celal Adan, the deputy speaker of the Turkish parliament, and from TRNC, including Zorlu Töre, the speaker of the Turkish Cypriot parliament, attended the celebrations.
“Finally, 48 years ago today, our country has shown the whole world that we will never compromise the independence of the Turkish Cypriots,” Oktay wrote in the memorial book.
“On the 48th anniversary of the operation, in which the great struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people and the resistance they continued with the great support of Türkiye resulted in victory, we promise once again, in your [Atatürk’s] presence, that we will never give up our state, independence and sovereignty,” Tatar wrote in the memorial book.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sent a message of congratulations to Tatar. “On the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the operation, which forever buried the attempt against the rights, law, existence and sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot people, I congratulate your excellency and all the Turkish Cypriot people with my most heartfelt feelings.”
“The peace that Türkiye established in Cyprus 48 years ago is the guarantee of the tranquility both on the island and in the region today. Happy Peace and Freedom Day,” Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop said on his Twitter account.
The July 20 Peace and Freedom Day in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus commemorates Türkiye’s Cyprus Peace Operation - a huge military intervention to protect Turkish Cypriots from the violence which struck the island in 1974.
Türkiye’s military intervention as guarantor power stopped years-long persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.
The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the north, and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at its annexation by Greece.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries - Türkiye, Greece, and the U.K. - ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.
Talks have focused on a federal model based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots’ rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.
In a recent report, current U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said that “new ideas” may be needed for a settlement on the island.