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The ongoing dispute over the issue of Cyprus, a tiny island in the Mediterranean caught in a tug-of-war between Turkey and Greece over who both claimed possession of the island once again escalated when Turkey staged full-scale invasion of the island in 1974.
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, code-named by Turkey as Operation Atilla, was launched on 20 July 1974, following the Cypriot coup d’état on 15 July 1974.
The coup had been ordered by the military Junta in Greece and staged by the Cypriot National Guard in conjunction with EOKA-B. It deposed the Cypriot president Archbishop Makarios III and installed Nikos Sampson. The aim of the coup was the union (enosis) of Cyprus with Greece, and the Hellenic Republic of Cyprus to be declared.
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. In August 1974 another Turkish invasion resulted in the capture of approximately 37% of the island. The ceasefire line from August 1974 became the United Nations Buffer Zone and is commonly referred to as the Green Line.
Around 150,000 people (amounting to more than one-quarter of the total population of Cyprus, and to one-third of its Greek Cypriot population) were expelled from the occupied northern part of the island, where Greek Cypriots constituted 80% of the population. A little over a year later in 1975, roughly 60,000 Turkish Cypriots, amounting to half the Turkish Cypriot population, were displaced from the south to the north. The Turkish invasion ended in the partition of Cyprus along the UN-monitored Green Line, which still divides the island, and the formation of a de facto autonomous Turkish Cypriot administration in the north. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared independence, although Turkey is the only country that recognizes it. The international community considers the TRNC’s territory as Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law, amounting to illegal occupation of European Union territory since Cyprus became its member.
UN General Secretary Kurt Waldheim came to Nicosia on 25-26 December 1974, immediately after the 2nd Peace Operation , and demanded that bilateral talks be initiated between the two communities. After the Temporary Turkish Cypriot Administration was declared on 28 December 1967, the second phase was put into effect on 13 February 1975 with the declaration of the Turkish Federal Republic of Cyprus.
In this situation, the Autonomous Turkish Administration Assembly of Cyprus convened on 13 February 1975 in order to establish the Turkish wings of the federal units necessary for a federation based on equity and adaptation of a multi-partial democratic parliamentary system. The Assembly unanimously proclaimed the Turkish Federal Republic of Cyprus and decided upon the establishment of a Constitutional Assembly with the participation of the representatives of all institutions and agencies of the Turkish community to pen the State Constitution and the election law.
The foundation declaration of the Turkish Federal Republic of Cyprus which was declared on 13 February 1975 was announced by the Chairman of the Administration Rauf Denktaş in the Autonomous Turkish Administration Assembly of Cyprus.
On February 21, 1975 Secretary General Kurt Waldheim delivered an address to the assembly, in which he outlined the principles of the ceasefire and a hoped-for solution to this decades-old crisis.
Here is that address.