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Cyprus Honors Those Killed in 1974 Defending the Republic
2008-07-15 11:25:25

Nicosia Jul 15 - Cyprus paid tribute to those who lost their lives defending the Republic during the 1974 military coup against the democratically elected President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios.

The military coup paved the way for the Turkish invasion five days later which resulted in the occupation of 37% of the Republic's territory.

A church service for those killed during the coup was held at Saints Constantinos and Eleni Church in Nicosia, officiated by the primate of the church of Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos II in the presence of President Demetris Christofias, House of Representatives President Marios Garoyian, leaders or representatives of political parties, other political and military officials and relatives of those killed.

''These are days of remembrance which upset the soul of every honorable Cypriot, of every patriot. These are days of honor for the people who gave their most sacred thing, their life, to defend democracy and legality in this country,'' President Christofias said after the service.

He then added that: ''at the same time these are hours of indignation because these 34 years elapsed, underline the size of the crime committed on July 15 1974. A crime the wounds it created are still open.''

''It is a necessity always to remember this crime and draw examples to forge our unity and intensify our efforts to put an end to the occupation and this unacceptable situation which violates the freedom and human rights of our people,'' he said, adding that if this situation continues ''the results will be worse.''

The President also stressed that ''on our part we will do our utmost, always within the framework of the initiatives we assumed and under the umbrella of the UN to conclude a difficult task, the reunification of our country and our people, the restoration of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of a united, federal Republic of Cyprus.''

Addressing the ceremony, Cyprus Defence Minister Costas Papacostas said, ''we commemorate the dead of the 1974 tragedy with a feeling of cautious optimism that the road to a Cyprus solution may open.''

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