I was just sixteen then, on July 20 1974. That was when Turkey invaded Cyprus from land, sea and air without the slightest warning. On Saturday July 20 1974, at 5:30 am,we woke to an air-raid wondering what the heck was going on. Turkey DID NOT declare war against Cyprus. My sweet sixteen turned out to be my "bitter" sixteen. I hated all Turks then. One day, just before the second invasion on August 14, 1974, Dad said that a man was killed in Turkey. I asked him if he was a Turk and Dad said yes. "Then", I said, "they didn't kill a man, they killed a Turk." Dad said: "I think we should talk." And we talked in the back yard. This is what he said to me: " The Turks, the people, are not responsible for what is happening here. Blame the politicians - both Greek and Turks - but not the people. Listen, beautiful, there are good Turks and bad Turks, just like there are good Greeks and bad Greeks." He was right, that's why I stopped hating the Turks. On the other hand, I can't forget, I won't forget - Turkey committed so many unspeakable crimes in Cyprus!
This said, the Turkish Cypriots have nothing to do with these crimes. They were victims just like us Greeks. Many of them were forced by the Turkish troops to leave their hometowns in order to populate the occupied areas. My heart bleeds today as I recall all the crimes committed by Turkey in 1974.
Honestly, I don't expect any one of you to understand how I feel because you have never experienced war. And my most heartfelt wish to you all, no matter where you come from, is never, NEVER experience war.
May our heroes rest in peace.