Cyprus honors those killed in 1974 to defend the Republic
Nicosia, Jul 15 (CNA) -- Cyprus remembers and pays tribute today to those killed defending the Republic during the 1974 military coup against the democratically elected President of Cyprus.
A church service for those killed during the coup was held this morning at Saints Constantinos and Eleni Church in Nicosia, in the presence of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
In statements after the service, Cyprus President stressed that today's remembrance should remind all that disunion among people brings disaster and catastrophy.
''Let us wish that today's remembrance is used as a reminder that disunion brings disaster. I appeal to you all for unity and participation at the struggle for justice in Cyprus'', President Papadopoulos said.
The military coup against the first President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece, was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the illegal occupation of 37 percent of the Republic's territory and its de facto division.
The wailing of sirens was heard at 8.20 local time, the very time when the coup occurred.
Present at the church service were among others House President Demetris Christofias, Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Demetris Rallis, Attorney General Petros Clerides, National Guard Commander Athanasios Nikolodemos, Police Chief Tasos Panayiotou, leaders or representatives of political parties, other officials and relatives of those killed in defence of the Republic during the military coup.
Addressing the ceremony Minister of Defence Kyriakos Mavronicolas said that the people of Cyprus managed to survive the coup and the Turkish invasion that followed, and to join the European Union, but noted that the tragic consequences of the twin crime remain until today.
''There are still refugees, missing persons, enclaved ones, and the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Cyprus people are still being violated'', he said.
Referring to the Turkish invasion the Defence Minister noted that its aim was to destroy the Cypriot state and to commit genocide by killing innocent women and children and violently forcing them to leave their homes.
On the Cyprus question he said that it still remains an international problem of invasion and occupation, and it should be solved within the framework of the United Nations.
He added though, that after Cyprus' accession to the EU, the problem has become a European one and stressed that Cyprus wishes to see a more active involvement of the European institutions in the efforts to solve the problem.
Referring to the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of the UN-sponsored Annan plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, he said that Greek Cypriots refused to approve an unfair solution that would not secure their future.
''Our people are interested in solving the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, because we are the ones who suffer from the effects of non-solution. But we want a functional and viable solution that is based on the international and European law'', he stressed.
Mavronicolas underlined that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership demand to upgrade the pseudostate in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus by calling for the lifting of the so-called isolation of Turkish Cypriots and by demanding legalisation of the illegal ports and airports in occupied north.
''This proves that priority of Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is not the solution but the legalisation of the occupation faits accomplis. The only one responsible for the non solution so far and the stagnation, is Turkey'', the Cypriot official pointed out.
After the church service President Papadopoulos and other officials laid wreaths at the tombs of those killed defending the Republic.