“It can not act undisturbed,” Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis noted in his message on the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
“While we mourn today, some are provocatively celebrating. They are celebrating and celebrating, as, under the pretext of restoring the constitutional order that was violated a few days earlier by the brutal July 15 coup, Turkey has illegally invaded and continues to occupy 37% of the territory of the sovereign state of the Republic of Cyprus, displacing more than 165,000 Greek Cypriots, killing thousands and leaving more than 1,500 people missing.”
This is what the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiadis, said in his speech:
Today [yesterday] marks 46 years since the illegal Turkish invasion of our country. 46 years after the ongoing crime against our country, we do not stop remembering that black summer of 1974 and mourning the painful consequences: the occupation, the violent division, the displacement from our ancestral homes, the dead and the missing, the plunder of our religious and cultural heritage. And despite the continued condemnation of these crimes by the international community, the United Nations resolutions, the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, Turkey not only continues to violate any principle of international law, but has recently become even more provocative, even more threatening and completely indifferent to its illegal actions that cause serious destabilisation in the wider region.
Acrobatic between rhetoric about the possible and claiming the desirable and leading to division, we allowed some who had criminal vanity and an unforgivable misconception about what their actions would result in, to turn their weapons against our brothers and sisters in an attempt to overthrow democracy, legitimacy and sovereignty in our country.
It is from this coup’s absurdity from the junta in Athens and those who participated in its plans, which caused the tragic results, which today we must exemplify and learn.
Let us remember and reflect that the Cypriot people, just 14 years after the end of British colonialism, have experienced and still experience pain and sorrow, as a large part of our country remains under foreign occupation.
Remember that the glorious pages in the wider History of Hellenism were the result of unanimity and the unity of actions and deeds, while the lost homelands were the result of division and the small number of deeds for their own benefit.
Because it is precisely this division that Turkey has exploited to advance and implement its long-term plans for Cyprus, arbitrarily exploiting the provisions of the Guarantee Treaty by presenting the invasion as a peace operation.
Today, as we pay our respects to those who gave their lives defending democracy and the freedom of our homeland, we must, united, overcome any divisive syndromes and traumatic experiences of the past. To behave with the utmost seriousness and responsibility, and with our words and actions to heal wounds, to remain committed to sober political thought and unformed political discourse. To fortify our homeland and build an auspicious future. To create a prosperous country, truly independent and sovereign, whose future will be managed by the legal inhabitants of the island: Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins. For more than four decades, Turkey has continued the same uncompromising stance.
46 years later, in addition to the Turkish invasion on the ground, we are experiencing a new naval invasion of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus, again under the pretext of protecting the interests of the Turkish Cypriots.
And honestly any bona fide observer wonders:
Whose interests is Turkey protecting, when its claims to a looting in favor of 44% of the Cyprus EEZ, to the detriment of the rights and interests of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
At the same time, in addition to the systematic violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, public statements and actions of Turkish officials, but unfortunately also some circles within the Turkish Cypriot community, signal plans for the settlement of the enclave.
But it is not just what Turkey is doing illegally against Cyprus.
We are all witnessing the new threats against Greece and most of the neighboring countries, while the shameful and burdensome act of turning Hagia Sophia into a Mosque has just taken place.
At the same time, the European Union as a whole is being blackmailed through the instrumentalization of immigration, while, at the same time, in complete violation of the rule of law, those considered to be opponents of the Erdoğan regime are being persecuted. And there are many other things I can say about Mr Erdoğan’s policies, both inside Turkey and abroad. Turkey, with its actions, is becoming a Troubled State in the region.
We must be honest in our positions and views:
The policy of appeasement is not going to bring the desired results in relation to Turkey.
Tried and failed.
On the contrary, instead of supporting the adoption of a rational, realistic and in line with international law, it further breeds the bigotry, illegal actions, extortionate approaches and dangerous illusions of a country that considers itself a leader.
The only way to avoid and stop such delinquent behavior is to take a decisive stance, which, through appropriate measures, will send clear messages and impose the perception that it is not possible for Turkey to continue to act as if we are in the 18th century, where the Ottoman Empire thought it could act undisturbed.
And having referred to the policy of appeasement, I must remind you that this attitude was initially adopted by Europe towards Nazi Germany.
The results are well known to everyone.
What we rightly claim as a demand and will continue to support and seek, is to achieve a solution that is fully in line with the principles and values of the EU and United Nations resolutions.
A solution of a Bi-Zonal Bicommunal Federation that will be sustainable and primarily functional, that will truly reunite the people and our divided homeland and will free it from the unacceptable state, transforming it into a truly normal state.
A modern state that will guarantee independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, beyond any anachronistic system of guarantees, invasive rights, and occupation armies.
A state that respects the human rights of all without exception its legal inhabitants and will create, first and foremost, conditions of real security, prosperity, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and co-creation.
Conditions, which were fully secured through the proposals that we have tabled over time at the negotiating table, respecting the sensitivities of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots and which at the same time created the necessary security valves for the Greek Cypriots.
We expect a similar attitude to be adopted by the Turkish side, realizing our realistic demand and not ignoring our own concerns and sensitivities, our own experiences as a result of the invasion and the ongoing occupation.
I have repeatedly stressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to our partners in the EU, to the permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council and to the wider international community, that our will to resume dialogue remains a given with determination and good mood that we have shown so far, in all the previous efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.
What is needed, of course, is the proper preparation and creation of those conditions that will allow the dialogue to take place, on the basis of the required co-operation and goodwill from all stakeholders, and in particular from the Turkish side, to ensure a positive outcome of the negotiations.
My hope is that a dialogue will take place without threats and blackmail, those conditions will be created, so that such proposals submitted will finally lead to a solution.
The history of our people was determined by extensive periods of foreign occupation, during which, however, through unity, we managed to submit to our patriotism, to survive and keep intact our language, religion, identity and traditions.
Through this same unity of all the people and the political forces, we will continue to fight for liberation from the occupation, but also for the creation of prospects for prosperity for future generations in conditions of security and stability.
This is our obligation to future generations,
This is our duty to all those who have suffered and still suffer from the brutal consequences of the Invasion:
To hand over a homeland with complete sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
A homeland free from the presence of third countries, which will be internationally recognized as a model of peaceful coexistence and prosperous cooperation, regardless of nationality and religious beliefs.
It is up to us to prove that the vision and the sacrifices of our heroes, the high expectations of the refugees, the relatives of the missing, but also of the whole people, which we invoke, were not in vain.
Justifying the expectations of the entire Cypriot Hellenism and respecting first and foremost its dignity, we will continue to work in every way to pay off our debt to end the occupation and reunite our country.
We owe this to our homeland. We owe this to future generations.