NICOSIA : Sirens wailed in Greek Cypriot towns and villages Sunday as Cyprus marked the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion still a divided island despite countless UN-brokered peace initiatives. In the breakaway north, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul joined Turkish Cypriot celebrations of the 1974 “peace operation” when mainland troops invaded with the declared aim of protecting the minority community after a Greek-engineered coup to unite the island with Greece. But in the government-held south, both events are commemorated as “black anniversaries” that led to the presence of tens of thousands of Turkish troops on the island that continues to this day.

The coup failed but within weeks Turkish soldiers had seized 37 percent of the Mediterranean island, leaving 160,000 Greek Cypriots displaced and hundreds more listed as missing, as well dislodging tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots.