The President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos was declared an honorary citizen of Messolonghi on Sunday, during his visit to the city on the occassion of the 193rd anniversary of the Exodus of Messolonghi of 1826.
The President praised the ‘free besieged’ for their heroic actions and the values they died during their struggle in Greece’s War of Independence.
“Our heroic ancestors teach and inspire us, the Greeks throughout the world, to defend, together and on terms of unbroken unity, our country, our freedom, our national issues and our nation’s rights,” said the President.
The President referred to the sacrifices of the people of the city during their seige by the Ottoman Turks and stressed that they still teach and inspire, especially during a critical and turbulent time for humanity, the need for all people to unite in the defence of humanity, democracy and justice, especially social justice, on the basis of the complete body of international law.
“Furthermore, particularly during this time when the future of our great European family is at stake, they teach and inspire every thinking European regarding the need to defend the European edifice against those that seek to do it harm, openly and without concealment, while at the same time seeking to undermine European democracy and European culture,” he added.
Pavlopoulos also sent a message to neighbouring Turkey “that the past must not divide us but teach us what we must each avoid in order to live in peace, on terms of friendship and good neighbourhood.”
“It is well known that we Greeks are ready to extend a hand in friendship and good neighbourliness; we are, in any case, among the few that support Turkey’s European prospects. But Turkey must know that friendship and good neighbourhood are based on one fundamental condition: the full and sincere respect of international law and of European law in their entirety.”
If Turkey fails to understand this, he added, then “neither friendship nor good neighbourhood, nor any European perspective can exist…let me be absolutely clear on this, because recently we are hearing positions from highly-placed individuals in Ankara’s hierarchy concerning international law, which range from “provocative ignorance and unprecedented gall in terms of disputing international law.”
“We say to those …tryng to circumvent international and European law that we Greeks can inspire an we have proved this in our history, our respect for international and European law and, if necessary, we can impose this and will.”