Nicosia, July 20, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
The official memorial service for those who lost their lives during the Turkish invasion against Cyprus on the 20th of July 1974 as well as a prayer for justice in Cyprus took place on Wednesday in the Panayia Faneromeni Church in Nicosia, officiated by Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus Chrysostomos II, in the presence of President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
The memorial service was attended among others by President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris, Second Vice President of the Hellenic Republic Giorgos Varemenos, Minister of Defence Christoforos Fokaides, Ambassador of Greece Elias Fotopoulos, political party leaders or representatives, the Mayor of Nicosia, the leadership of the police and the National Guard, the families of the dead and the missing persons and many others.
In his memorial service speech, Presidential Commissioner Fotis Fotiou said that today we pay tribute to those killed during the Turkish invasion, to those who are still missing, to the enclaved, to the refugees and all those who suffered and still suffer as a result of the Turkish invasion.
That bitter morning of the 20th of July 1974 influenced our lives and gave the generations that followed a constant struggle against injustice, he said.
“Forty- two years have passed after the Turkish invasion, 42 bitter years. Once more we express our determination for struggle for liberation and the reunification of our country, for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins”, Fotiou continued.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Fotiou said that President Anastasiades` efforts focus on the achievement of a functional and viable solution based on the relevant UN SC resolutions, the international law, the values and principles of the EU, a solution without occupation armies or demarcation lines, a solution that will reunify our country.
Reiterating Cyprus` stance that Turkish guarantees or the presence of Turkish troops after a solution of the Cyprus problem are unacceptable, he stressed that this position is enforced by the recent developments in Turkey.
Fotiou also referred to the persons whose fate is still unclear after the Turkish invasion in 1974.
He said that 42 years later, the relatives of the missing continue to suffer due to Turkey`s refusal to cooperate for the investigation of their whereabouts.
“Unfortunately, 42 years have passed and we are still looking for 1,014 out of the 1,508 Greek Cypriots and Greeks who were registered as missing”, he stressed.
On July 20th 1974 Turkish troops, violating international law, invaded against Cyprus and since then Ankara occupies 37% of Cyprus` territory, which is situated in the north.
UN – led Cyprus talks resumed in May 2015 between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus with an aim to reach a solution in Cyprus that would reunify the island under a federal political system.
Ankara continues to maintain some 40,000 troops in the northern areas of Cyprus, in complete disregard of international appeals for their withdrawal and calls to contribute to a political settlement through peace talks.
The consequences of Turkey’s illegal aggression were devastating and are still felt by the Cypriot people: gross violation of human rights, with hundreds of people still listed as missing, Greek Cypriot refugees in anticipation of a solution that would allow them to return home, enclaved Greek Cypriots being deprived of fundamental rights and the island’s 9,000 year old cultural heritage being pillaged.