The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades urged everyone on Thursday to reflect on the causes that led to Turkey’s invasion, on July 20th, 1974.
He said that the international community is beginning to realise that the fundamental cause of Cyprus’ division is the presence of the Turkish occupation army.
”Forty-three years later some mourn but others cheer. Those who mourn are those who have lost their loved ones, their homes, their religious and cultural heritage by the force of arms but also those whose next of kin are still listed as missing,” the President said.
Some others, but mainly Turkey, are cheering, because under the guise of being a guarantor power, they invaded and forcibly displaced 167 thousand Greek Cypriots, murdered thousands, left behind missing persons and vandalised sacred sites, the President noted speaking to the press after attending an official church memorial service held at Faneromeni Church in Nicosia, for those killed during the invasion.
The President said that the solution of the Cyprus problem must respect everyone’s human rights.
The termination of the guarantees system, he stressed, is a sine qua non if one wants to create a truly independent state which will not serve third parties, but its own citizens.
”The 20th of July is a dark day and we must all reflect on its causes,” Anastasiades said and referred to the coup that took place on the 15th of July 1974, engineered by the Greek military junta in Athens against the then President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios III, that preceded the Turkish invasion.
Asked how Turkey will be forced to abide by international law, the President answered: “slowly but gradually”.
Anastasiades said that the international community, especially the EU, but not only the EU, is beginning to realise that the main cause of the division of Cyprus is the presence of Turkey’s occupation army, the system of guarantees and the right to intervention, as some claim.
He expressed the conviction that ”gradually but firmly Turkey’s behaviour is creating the need to exert pressure on Ankara exactly because of its attitude,” the President said in his remarks after attending the annual official memorial service for those who fell during the Turkish invasion of 1974, at the Panayia Faneromeni church in Nicosia officiated by Archbishop Chrysostomos II.
Wreaths were laid by the President of the Republic, the Archbishop, House President Demetris Syllouris, Ambassador of Greece in Nicosia Elias Fotopoulos on behalf of the Greek government, on behalf of the Greek Parliament by Second Vice President Giorgos Varemenos, political party leaders, the National Guard and Police chiefs, organisations of the relatives of missing persons, students’ organisations and other organized groups.
Lawyer Christos Triantaffilides, in his speech, said that at the Conference on Cyprus in the Crans Montana resort in Switzerland no breakthrough was achieved because Turkey reaffirmed its long standing plans for Cyprus which include the maintenance of its control over the whole of Cyprus, ”militarily through the guarantees system and its army and institutionally through its demand for a Turkish Cypriot positive vote for all substantial decisions, a vote that will be guided by Turkey”.
”Our goal must be to bring the Cyprus issue back to its real basis, which is the illegal invasion of Turkey, 43 years ago, and the continuous illegal occupation of the northern part of the island,” he added.