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 Erenköy 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 Erenköy/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 in the area employing among other weapons napalm bombs. 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 standoff. 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. 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.


Since December 1963, many thousands of Turkish Cypriots were forcibly moved from 103 villages island-wide into enclaves. This happened during the period of intercommunal struggle (see Cyprus dispute). The Greek Cypriot authorities saw it as a Turkish Cypriot attempt to consolidate power over some regions with a dense Turkish population, while Turkish Cypriots regarded it as an organized plan to marginalize the Turkish Cypriot community. Turkish Cypriot villages and farms before 1963 had covered roughly a tenth of the island's surface but by late 1964, most of the island's Turkish Cypriot population lived in these enclaves, which covered roughly 3% of the island, in substandard living conditions [citation needed] Erenköy/Kokkina was one of the last port areas under Turkish Cypriot control and a vital supply link with Turkey for Turkish Cypriot fighters, as well as food and medicine for the Turkish Cypriot civilians. In the eyes of the Greek Cypriot authorities, Erenköy 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 intervention in Cyprus in 1974, Kokkina/Erenköy 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 declared to be illegal by UN resolutions 540 and 541 and has yet to be recognized by any sovereign state except Turkey.


Today, within the enclave at the village cemetery, there are 13 carefully tended graves of Turkish Cypriots who were killed at the siege at Erenköy/Kokkina. The village itself still carries heavy battle damage. A museum memorializing the defenders and the Turkish military is also at the village. Erenköy 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.