The Cypriot political leadership, representatives of the Greek government and parliament, honored on Friday the officers and soldiers who gave their lives defending the Republic of Cyprus on 20 July 1974, when the Turkish invasion of the island began.
A memorial service was held at the military cemetery of Makedonitissa Tomb in Nicosia, in the presence of President Tassos Papadopoulos, for those who died during the invasion.
Also present were President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, Ministers, leaders and representatives of political parties, Greek Ambassador Demetris Rallis, the leadership of the National Guard and the Police, representatives of combatants during the invasion and relatives of those who lost their lives.
Greece was represented by Minister of National Education and Religion Marietta Yiannakou and a parliamentary delegation.
After the memorial service, led by Archbishop Chrysostomos II, wreaths were laid at the monument of those who died, followed by a muster roll and a minute’s silence in their memory.
The ceremony ended with the national anthem.
Today our mind and our heart must be with those who lost their lives defending and saving our national dignity, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed here Friday on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Turkish invasion against Cyprus, which took place on July 20th, 1974.
“I believe that today, our mind and our heart should be with those who sacrificed their lives, defending with their sacrifice, our national and human dignity”, President Papadopoulos said.
His statement came after an official memorial service at Faneromeni Church in Nicosia, for those who lost their lives during the Turkish invasion, in the summer of 1974.
In his statement, the President of the House of Representatives urged all Cypriots to be united with a view to avert a new fait accompli in Cyprus.
“Todayʼs message should be our common struggle to avert any new fait accompli in Cyprus, to free our country from the Turkish occupation and from the illegal settlers, so that better days come for us”, he said.
On behalf of the Greek government, Minister of National Education and Religion said that the achievement of a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem is the common goal of the Greek and Cypriot governments.
“Cyprus has made much progress, Cyprus is a member of the EU. What is pending now is the achievement of a just solution and the reunification of Cyprus, based on the EU principles”, she added.
In his speech at the memorial service, Cypriot Minister of Defense Christodoulos Pashiardes said that although time is working against the Greek Cypriot side, “we must achieve a functional and viable solution” and not just any solution for the sake of closing the Cyprus problem.
He also noted that while Greek Cypriots “commemorate their dead and count again with a lot of pain their missing, their enclaved people and the thousands of refugees, right beside us the Turks celebrate their crime against Cyprus”.
In the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus many events are being held Friday to ʽcelebrateʼ the Turkish invasion of 1974, in the presence of Turkish political and military officials.