On July 20, 1974 Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus in violation of American law and in violation of the UN Charter and the fundamental principles of International Law. Beyond the immense human suffering and the great material losses, the dire consequences of the invasion, and subsequent forcible division and military occupation by Turkey, are still felt today:
- 36.2 of the sovereign territory is still under illegal military occupation. Turkey maintains 43,000 heavily armed troops on the Island.
- 200,000 Greek Cypriots, over a third of the total population, who were forcibly removed from their homes are deprived of the right of return.
- 1,100 persons, civilians, are still missing. Turkey refused to cooperate in ascertaining their fate.
- 300,000 settlers were illegally transferred from Turkey in the occupied area changing the demographic structure.
- 500 churches have been destroyed or converted to mosques.
- Greek Cypriot properties have been usurped and illegal construction has taken place.
- Priceless religious and archeological treasures have been sold in the black market.
- A series of UN resolutions and resolutions adopted by numerous International organizations condemning the invasion and continued occupation have been ignored by Turkey.
- European court decision on May 12, 2014 has found the Government of Turkey responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights in Cyprus.
- Forty-two years of negotiations have led to no solution because of the intransigence of Turkey, a country who aspires to join the European Union.
- Turkey must urgently:
o Terminate the occupation.
o Remove the Illegal settlers.
o Allow refugees to return to their properties.
We aspire to see a fair and viable comprehensive settlement that will reunite the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union in line with EU laws, values and principles. We, as American citizens, are asking our Government to pressure Turkey to allow the Republic of Cyprus to become a homeland of peaceful co-existence for all its citizens.
*** Declaration by the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) on the 42nd anniversary of the Turkish invasion.