A national memorial liturgy and a memorial event were held in New York to mark the 45th anniversary since the 1974 coup d’ etat and Turkish invasion of Cyprus, which resulted in the occupation of the island’s northern third.
The memorial liturgy was held in Port Washington and was attended by the diplomatic missions of Cyprus and Greece in New York, the leadership of the Cypriot community and others.
Speaking at the event, Cyprus’ Consul General Alexis Phedonos referred to the victims of the Turkish invasion and those who lost their lives since 1974 protesting against the occupation.
He noted that Turkey is once again provoking with drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, adding that the government of the Republic of Cyprus would do everything in its powers to create conditions that would allow the resumption of talks to solve the Cyprus problem
Phedonos pointed out it was useful to remember that during the 400 years of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot coexistence, 380 were peaceful.
President of the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations Kyriacos Papastylianou said “we can forgive but we must not forget” the history of the island, taking lessons from the mistakes of the past, adding that national problems can only be solved through dialogue and unanimity.
President of the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) Philip Christopher said the Turks invaded Cyprus with US-made weapons and today Turkey is threatening with a second invasion. He added that Turkey’s policies are ridiculing US principles and ideals, and that something should be done about it.
Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis referred to the difficulties caused by the 45 years of Turkish occupation, noting that memories were short and it was difficult to inspire people who had no recollection of the events into action. Nevertheless, he said, the struggle will continue to reunify the island.
Greece’ Permanent Representative in New York Ambassador Maria Theophili said that Cyprus is still experiencing the barbarity of the illegal military occupation, adding that Greece will never accept the situation and that the Cyprus issue was its top priority.
Greece’s Consul in New York Lana Zochiou said that everyone must keep the memory alive and that Hellenism continue to strive for a liberated, safe and unified Cyprus.
Archbishop of America Elpidoforos, speaking as a Greek from Constantinople, said the people of Cyprus have suffered the consequences of the invasion, noting that no Greek could consider the Cyprus issue as a matter that solely concerned the Greek Cypriots. “We paid dearly for the Cyprus problem and it concerns us all,” he pointed out.