Supreme President of the AHEPA, Carl R. Hollister, has marked the 44th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Cyprus by Turkey that took place July 20, 1974.
On Friday, he said: “Today we observe a somber day — the 44th anniversary of the illegal invasion and occupation of the Republic of Cyprus by the Republic of Turkey, a NATO-member country.
“This was, and remains to this very day, an intolerable act; one that is a gross violation of the rule of law, human rights, and democratic ideals.
“We pause to remember the innocent civilians who lost their lives and the individuals who went missing, including five American citizens, four of whose investigations remain incomplete.
“The illegal invasion and occupation caused the displacement of at least 180,000 Greek Cypriot refugees who to this day are unable to return to their homes which is also a violation of human rights as determined by the European Commission on Human Rights.
“Moreover, Turkey’s restrictions upon religious freedom and destruction of Cyprus’ cultural and religious heritage in Turkish-occupied Cyprus have been well-documented by the U.S. Helsinki Commission, the Law Library of Congress, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and several media publications.”
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA) is the leading membership-based service association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Hellenic heritage and Philhellenes.