On this day in 1996, Tasos Isaac was brutally murdered by Turks in Cyprus

Tasou Isaac Tasos Tassou

On August 11, 1996, a Berlin-to-Cyprus peace ride by motorcyclists from around Europe ended at the Greek Cypriot village of Deryneia. Among the riders that day was Tasos Isaac from Protaras. The village adjoins the Green Line that divides Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus from the Republic of Cyprus.

During the riders’ protest at the Green Line, a melee ensued to show their ongoing frustration at the continuing occupation of the north by Turkish forces. Clashes between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots broke out in the UN Buffer Zone, separating the two communities.

In the chaos, Tasos Isaac was cut off from his fellow demonstrators and surrounded by Turks. Even though he was unarmed, he was set upon and beaten to death. Isaac's body was later recovered by UN personnel.

Three days after Isaac’s funeral, a crowd gathered at the Deryneia checkpoint to protest against the death. Among the protesters, this time was Solomos Solomou, a 26-year-old who was enraged at the death of his friend, Isaak. Despite repeated attempts to hold him back, Solomos eluded the UN peacekeepers and slipped across no man's land to one of the flagpoles carrying the flag of the illegal and unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Cigarette in mouth, he climbed halfway up the flagpole before being struck by five bullets. The shots came from the nearby Turkish Cypriot guard post and quite possibly from bushes sheltering armed soldiers. Solomon's death was captured on video and is replayed at the viewing points that overlook the tragic site of the Deryneia deaths.

From their peaceful protests, Turks in Cyprus killed two Greeks in cold blood.

In 1974, Turkey invaded the northern parts of the island to prevent Cyprus from uniting with Greece and continuing an illegal occupation. The occupation is to maintain the quasi “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” recognised by no other state in the world bar Turkey. It is recognised by United Nations Security Council Resolution 541 and UN Security Council Resolution 550 as illegal.

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