Kokkina exclave

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For other places named Erenköy, see Erenköy.
Kokkina
Κόκκινα (Greek) Erenköy (Turkish)
Kokkina 2.JPG
Kokkina is located in Cyprus
Kokkina
Kokkina
Coordinates: 35°10′45″N 32°36′42″E / 35.17917°N 32.61167°E / 35.17917; 32.61167
Country De jure  Cyprus
De facto  Northern Cyprus
District De jure Nicosia District
De facto Güzelyurt District
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Kokkina (Greek: Κόκκινα, Turkish: Erenköy) is a village in Cyprus, administered by the internationally unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It was one of the Turkish Cypriot enclaves prior to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. It is bordered on three sides by mountainous territory to the Greek part of the island, with the Mediterranean sea (Morphou Bay) on its northern flank. The exclave sits several kilometres away from the mainland of the TRNC and is a place which has special symbolic significance for the Cypriots because of the events of August 1964.

History[edit]

The Tylliria/Dillirga region, where Kokkina is situated, had been a place of intense confrontation between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities during the inter-communal struggle of 1963–1964. On 4 April 1964, armed groups originating from both communities had fought over a strategic location overlooking the region's only highway. There had also been several sporadic incidents of gunfire between villages of the region. On 8 April 1964, the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) managed to arrange a ceasefire which was enforced by stationing UNFICYP troops at several critical points.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus viewed Kokkina as a point of insertion for Turkish paramilitaries and weaponry in Cyprus because about 500 Turkish Cypriot volunteers who had been trained and armed in Turkey had landed there. So, on 6 August 1964, elements of the Greek Cypriot National Guard and Greek Army units led by General George Grivas attacked the area around Kokkina and surrounded the village forcing its defenders and the civilian population to retreat to a narrow beachhead. The defenders consisted of elements of the Turkish Resistance Organization and a number of the volunteers mentioned above. A heavy artillery barrage (with naval support) of the beachhead followed causing a number of casualties and heavy damage to the village.

The defenders, while completely out-powered and lacking supplies, managed to hold their positions until 8 August when Turkey decided to intervene. Turkish jet fighters bombed military and civilian targets. Among the civilian targets, most notable was the bombing of a nearby hospital resulting in many deaths and horrific injuries to a number of civilians. The threat of a Turkish military escalation and a resolution of the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire, ended the stand-off. The intervention of the Soviet Union prevented any military escalation by warning Turkey that if they invade Cyprus, the USSR will respond in an appropriate fashion. The President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, a Greek Cypriot, also issued an ultimatum to Turkey, threatening to attack every Turkish Cypriot village in Cyprus if the air raids were not stopped.[citation needed] A ceasefire was declared on 9 August 1964 and UNFICYP forces were once again deployed to the area.

Turkey claimed that the aerial attack and threat of further intervention were justified by her right to protect the Turkish Cypriot population under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. The village was heavily damaged by the artillery barrage and UN forces declared it a disaster area and brought in much-needed supplies for the civilians.

Significance[edit]

Since December 1963, thousands of Turkish Cypriots became concentrated in enclaves, as a result of the intercommunal fighting (see Cyprus dispute). Kokkina was one of the last port areas under Turkish Cypriot control and a vital supply link with Turkey for Turkish Cypriot fighters.

In the eyes of the Greek Cypriot authorities, Kokkina was a threat to the nation's security posed by Turkish Cypriot paramilitaries, and cutting it off would have severed Turkish Cypriot armed groups from resupply and reinforcement.

When the Turkish military staged their operation in Cyprus in 1974, Kokkina was a specific objective. The exclave became part of the Turkish Federative State of North Cyprus in 1975, then the TRNC when it declared UDI in November 1983. However, this declaration of independence was condemned as legally invalid by United Nations Security Council Resolution 541 (1983) and has yet to be recognized by any sovereign state except Turkey.

Today[edit]

Today, within the exclave at the village cemetery, there are 13 carefully tended graves of Turkish Cypriots who were killed at the siege at Kokkina. The village itself still carries heavy battle damage. A museum memorializing the defenders and the Turkish military is also at the village. Kokkina is the site of annual memorial ceremonies attended by high-ranking dignitaries of both the TRNC and Turkish governments. On Greek Cypriot maps, the village is referred to by its Greek name of Kokkina.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°10′45″N 32°36′42″E / 35.17917°N 32.61167°E / 35.17917; 32.61167