Cyprus: Remembering ‘Operation Atilla’ Across Borders

Friday, 20 July 2012, marked the 38th anniversary of Operation Atilla, a Turkish military invasion in response to a coup in Cyprus supported by the 1967 Greek military junta.

The invasion resulted in deaths and missing reports of thousands, massive deportations of Greek Cypriots from the occupied northern part and flow of Turkish Cypriots from south to north. The island has been divided since along the Green Line; in 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus(TRNC) declared independence, but it is only recognized by Turkey.

Both sides commemorate the anniversary either as a grim day or a celebration day; and every year, sentiments and events are shared through mainstream and social media.

The island of Cyprus, divided, from Wikimedia Commons, original source: CIA World Factbook. Public domain.

In a speech on Thursday night, Greek-Cypriot President Christofias said:

Vindication can only happen with the end of the Turkish occupation and settling, and the reunification of the state and its people. […] If there is partition in Cyprus, this will be a victory of our country’s enemies.

On the northern part, hundreds of Turkish Cypriots gathered to celebrate the day as the “Peace Operation”. Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said:

Greek Cypriots should “use common sense” and work towards finding a solution. […] Community is running out of patience and steps to take their place in the world will be “taken as needed”. […] If there was no “peace operation”, they would not have their state today.

@Infognomon Politika, a news blog focused on International Relations, Foreign Policy and Defense, dedicated a post [el] about the 1974 obscure events, entitled “Cyprus 1974: Five Myths About the Coup d’ Etat”.

Haberler website published the news for “Peace and Freedom Festival” and Turkish President Gul's statement that:

[…] the Cyprus Peace Operation that occurred July 20, 1974 marked the beginning of Turkish Cypriots governing themselves and Turkey will always support them.

On Twitter, Greek netizens expressed their sadness for the day, with tweets such as the following, by Greek-Cypriot singer Despina Olympiou [el]:

@DenaOlympiou: Ωραία όλα, αλλα σαν σήμερα να μην ξεχνάμε τη θλιβερή επέτειο του νησιού μας. Κύπρος μου δεν σε ξεχνούμε κ ελπίζουμε..

All fine, but today let's not forget the sad anniversary of our island. My Cyprus, we don't forget you and we hope…

Lampros Konstantaras overreacts citicizing [el] the “invasion” and big popularity of Turkish daily TV series on Greek TV channels contrary to the sad anniversary:

38 χρόνια φέτος που η Κύπρος υποφέρει από την τουρκική εισβολή. Νεκροί, αγνοούμενοι, ξεσπιτωμένοι. Δείτε SILA και ΑSI για να τους τιμάτε

38 years now Cyprus suffers by Turkish invasion. Dead, missing, deported people. Watch SILA and ASI and [that's how you] honor them

A Few Turkish netizens also commented on the 1974 anniversary with tweets like the following [tr]:

@zeynepgurcanli: Bugun 20 temmuz. Kibris baris harekatinin yildonumu.

Today 20th of July. Anniversary Peace Operation in Cyprus.

There was also a Twitter dispute between some Greek netizens that summarizes perfectly the different thoughts and feelings on the 1974 event [el]:

@potmos: 38 σήμερα από την απελευθέρωση της Β. Κύπρου.

38 today from the liberation of N. Cyprus.

@adiasistos: @potmos Ποια απελευθέρωση ρε κοπρίτη; Εξυπνάδες είναι αυτά; Η Κύπρος είναι Ελληνικιά κ άμα δε γουστάρεις τράβα στη Κούβα! Ζώο!

Which “liberation”, you scum? Is this smart or something? Cyprus is Greek, if you don't like it, go to Cuba!

@arhetypo: @adiasistos @potmos και ποιοι είστε που θ'αποφασίσετε αν η Β.Κύπρος είναι απελευθερομένη η Ελληνική, ρωτήσατε τους Κύπριους;;

And who are you to decide if Northern Cyprus is liberated or Greek, have you asked the Cypriots?

@djidjikas: @adiasistos και όμως έχω την αίσθηση ότι τουρκοκύπριοι και ελληνοκύπριοι ζούσαν ειρηνικά σε κοινά χωριά για αιώνες… @potmos

And I still have the feeling that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were living peacefully together on the same villages for centuries…

@MrPinkEyesV2: @potmos αν απελευθερωνοταν καλα θα ήταν. Στην καλυτερη άλλαξε νταβατζη

If it was liberated, it would be fine. Best case scenario, the only thing that changed is the pimp.

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