Turkish invasion troops on Cyprus finished securing the eastern end of their partitional 'Atilla Line' -- thus almost completing the entire line -- on Saturday (17 August) when they finally relieved thousands of Turkish Cypriots from the walled enclave of Old Famagusta.
Turkish invasion troops on Cyprus finished securing the eastern end of their partitional 'Atilla Line' -- thus almost completing the entire line -- on Saturday (17 August) when they finally relieved thousands of Turkish Cypriots from the walled enclave of Old Famagusta. The Turkish Cypriots, defended only by a thousand or so irregulars manning sand-bagged positions with a motley collection of weapons, had been holed up against the strong Greek community in New Famagusta since the original Turkish invasion on 20 July.
Almost immediately after the first wave of Turkish troops swept into Famagusta a cease-fire was accepted by Greece and the heavily outnumbered Greek Cypriot forces. But it was broken within 24 hours as Turkish troops tied up the western end of the Atilla Line at Morphou, to give Turkey control of one-third of Cyprus -- and a much greater proportion of the island's economy, largely located in the now-Turkish sector north of the Line.
Fighting had resumed on the island in the middle of last week after the collapse of the British-Turkish-Greek-Cypriot peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland.
Visnews cameraman Guenter Lahmann was with Turkish troops on Saturday as they completed the relief of Old Famagusta, and he sent back this film.
SYNOPSIS: Turkish invasion troops on Cyprus tied up the eastern end of their so-called 'Atilla Line' on Saturday when they finished a two-day battle to take Old Famagusta. This is the sixteenth-century walled enclave where several thousand Turkish Cypriots had been holed up by the bigger Greek community in New Famagusta since the Turkish invasion on July the twentieth. Visnews cameraman Guenter Lahmann was with this detachment of Turkish troops on Saturday making their approach to Old Famagusta through villages on its perimeter.
The Turkish fight for Famagusta, which left only a few miles at the western end of the Atilla Line for the Turks to complete their division of the island, began after the breakdown of the peace talks in Geneva between Britain, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. Turkey precipitated the breakdown by refusing to give the other parties more time to try and solve a deadlock, and resumed the fighting on the island. It claimed this was only an extension anyway of its legitimate July invasion to protect Turkish interests on the island after a Greek-led coup overthrew Archbishop Makarios and put former Greek gunman Nicos Sampson in power. Sampson resigned after the invasion, but this did not bring peace. Turkey demanded, and has taken, the northern third of the island -- which is also the richest part.
Turkish Cypriot civilians in Old Famagusta showed their delight at being relieved. They'd been there in steadily worsening conditions, running short of food, and protected only be a thousand or so irregulars armed with a motley collect on of old weapons. New Famagusta, meanwhile, had been hurriedly evacuated by the Greek Cypriot population just before the Turks reached the city. For the Turkish Cypriots, it was a moving moment.
Shortly after the first wave of Turkish troops swept into Famagusta, Greece and the Greek Cypriots agreed to a cease-fire. But this was broken several times during the weekend as Turkish troops carried on to tie up the western end of the Atilla line around the town of Morphou. But in Old Famagusta on Saturday, it was all over -- for the moment.