20 July and 14 August marked the grim anniversary of the two Turkish invasions of Cyprus in 1974. 24 years on, Turkey occupies one third of the Republic of Cyprus in violation of over 90 United Nations and Security Council resolutions. Today, Turkey continues to threaten yet again Cyprus and the long term security of the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey invaded Cyprus using the spurious excuse of "safeguarding the Turkish Cypriots". Time has exposed the dishonesty of this argument with the subsequent colonisation of the occupied territories of Cyprus and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Turkish Cypriots by Ankara's illegal occupation regime.
This time, the proposed delivery of the S-300 defensive anti-aircraft missile system is being used as the pretext for likely armed aggression. It should not be forgotten that Turkey has over 30,000 heavily armed troops in Cyprus and over 400 tanks and other hardware. In addition it controls the skies over Cyprus. It would therefore not be unreasonable to ask who is threatening whom?
Clearly Turkey's military threats are nothing more than a thinly veiled game plan aimed at wider strategic and political goals than simply knocking out the S-300 ground to air missiles. It is no coincidence that Turkey's threats have increased in direct proportion to the continued failure of Turkey and the Denktash regime in occupied Cyprus to achieve recognition for their illegal regime and the failure of Turkey to be considered as suitable for European Union application let alone membership.
What is driving this aggression coupled with obduracy? It would seem that at the core of their concerns is the land issue. Denktash and Turkey know that in law the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees have the inalienable right to reclaim and repossess their stolen lands. As the European Court of Human Rights recently confirmed (Titina Loizidou v Turkey Judgement, July 1998) the refugees are also entitled to hundreds of thousands of pounds of compensation for loss of use of their properties and for moral damages.
So long as the refugees are determined to return to and reclaim what is legally theirs, Turkey and Denktash will never agree to a negotiated solution given that the demands of the Greek Cypriot refugees are fully endorsed by the courts. Consequently, Denktash places one precondition after another to sabotage the peace process. Denktash is hoping that obtaining recognition will in some way retrospectively annul the rights of the refugees and legitimise the theft of the Greek Cypriot lands.
Since diplomacy has however dismally failed to deliver to Turkey and Denktash what they crave, in a manner entirely consistent with Turkey's history of aggression and genocide they have now begun to seriously consider further military attacks on Cyprus to deliver "sovereignty".
But Turkey and Denktash should note the following:
• The international community will not continue to turn a blind eye to Turkey's contempt for human rights and for its reckless disregard for the peace and security of the region. The western world will not be taken in by their posturing and pretexts any longer.
• Further aggression in Cyprus will lead to war with Greece and will obliterate any lingering ambitions that Turkey had to join the EU.
• Theft and denial of human rights have no place in international law.
Turkey certainly has the military capability and the will to commit further aggression in Cyprus for its own short sighted objectives. However, Turkish actions are likely to open up Pandora's box. The world cannot sit back idly as it did in 1974 and allow history to repeat itself.