A memorial service was held at the Tomb of Makedonitissa early in the morning of Thursday, July 20, for the officers and soldiers who died during the Turkish invasion, in the presence of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, Archbishop Georgios of Cyprus, the President of the Cypriot Parliament, Annita Demetriou, and other officials, representatives of political parties and other organisations.
Many of the people present were the relatives of the heroes from Cyprus and Greece. During the ceremony, wreaths were laid at the monument where the flags of Cyprus and Greece were flying at half-mast, by the President of the Republic of Cyprus and the Deputy Minister of National Defence of Greece. A minute’s silence was also observed and the national anthem was sung, while young people laid flowers on the graves of the fallen.
Following the ceremony, the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament and other officials spoke with relatives of the fallen who were in the area.
Mr. Christodoulides, in his statements to the journalists, spoke of a “day of honour and reflection”, pointing out that “what we should do is to promise all those who sacrificed for the Republic of Cyprus, for the independence, territorial integrity of our country that we will do everything possible to reverse the abnormal current state of affairs, that is, to give meaning to their sacrifice through the reunification of our homeland.”
“Despite the difficulties, despite the challenges, the problems,” the President said, “we are here and we are doing everything possible to find a way out of the impasse and resume meaningful talks from where they were interrupted in the summer of 2017. And I think that the initiative of our side is recognised by the international community, specific initiatives have been taken, especially by EU member states, and we hope that soon we will be able to reach positive results.”
When he was asked whether, taking into account the rhetoric of the Turkish side, there can be conditions for a return to dialogue, the President of the Republic of Cyprus replied: “I heard the statements of the Turkish Cypriot leader last night, let’s see what else we will hear today during Mr. Erdogan’s presence here.” What I can say is that I do not wish and I do not see any reason why I should be starting a dialogue of accusations, criticism and many other things that may satisfy some people. All this would not contribute to our main objective; We honour the sacrifice of all those people and, therefore, we challenge the current state of affairs. So, surely the rhetoric has its own meaning, I do not downgrade it in any way, but the Cyprus problem will be resolved through negotiations. And that is where our attention is focused on.”
His Beatitude Archbishop Georgios of Cyprus said that “the sad anniversaries also have messages to send us. The main message sent by today’s anniversary is that no matter how many years pass, we do not forget our homeland nor do we recognise the fait accompli of violence.” “We will remain in our country and we and future generations will seek its liberation,” he added.