In the early hours of this morning, for the 39th year in a row, Cyprus was awoken by the familiar but awful sound of war sirens. They go on every year on the same day and time, on the sad anniversary of the Turkish invasion on the island.
The 14th of August 1974 was one more day that marked the turbulent timeline of our small but historic island-nation. Following the first phase of the Turkish invasion on the 20th July of that year, 40000 Turkish troops raided the northern part of the island. Not able to be stopped by the 12000 strong Greek and Cypriot army, they occupied 36% of Cypriot territory. Thousands were killed or are still missing today, in despair of their loved ones. The invasion, and ongoing occupation, dislocated hundreds of thousands of people from their homes making them refugees within their own country. Among them, my twenty-year old parents who fled their homes taking nothing in search of a shelter from the bombs, and had to start their adult lives in refugee camps. Today, 39 years later, they have yet to be allowed to return to that little place they called home.
A tragic, constant reminder of Turkey’s violation to our basic right of self-determination is the huge Turkish flag that provocatively decorates the mountainside of “Pentadaktylos”, a mountain range in the north.