July 20, 2018

Address by The President of the Republic of Cyprus H.E. Mr. Nicos Anastasiades at the memorial event on the occasion of the Turkish military invasion at the Presidential Palace

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I wish at the outset to warmly welcome, as well as express the gratitude of the Cypriot Hellenism, to the relatives and the families of the Greek heroes and missing persons, who honour us tonight with their presence, as their very own people did with their struggle and the sacrifice of their lives.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

During the memorial event of last year, I stated that, and I quote: “…… today a part of our country mourns, while another celebrates”.

 

We mourn our dead heroes, our missing persons, our occupied ancestral homes, our places of worship and the monuments of our cultural heritage.

 

At the same time, Turkey and some of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots are celebrating because, on the pretext of restoring the constitutional order, they invaded and displaced 167,000 Greek Cypriots, murdered thousands and as a result of their actions more than 1,500 Greek Cypriots went missing, while Turkey still illegally occupies 37% of the Republic of Cyprus with the presence of 40,000 Turkish troops.

 

Turkey unfortunately continues the violation of all UN Resolutions, all the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and every principle of International Law.

 

And then I continued, and I quote again: “……. I would have been inexpressibly ignorant of history if I did not refer to the events that preceded the invasion, and more specifically the questioning of the internal legal order, which as a result led to the internal strife which was later exploited by the military Junta of Athens to proceed with its criminal coup d’état.

 

The righteous condemnation is necessary, in order not to bring in surface old wounds but to finally receive the necessary lessons from a long history which has taught us that division leads to lost homeland whereas unity is the reason behind the most glorious chapters of our history.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I felt obliged to repeat last year’s remarks because they constitute historical truths that no one can distort or twist. 

 

Because, it’s this internal division which Turkey took advantage in order to promote and implement its long-term plans, and by arbitrarily exploiting the provisions of the Treaty of Guarantees used as a pretext the so-called alleged unilateral right of intervention by presenting the invasion as a peacekeeping operation.

 

An alleged peacekeeping operation that instead of restoring the constitutional order, led to the unacceptable situation currently experienced by the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot.

 

Regrettably, Turkey has been demonstrating the same unacceptable and intransigent stance for more than four decades, by arguing in fact that the illegal usurpation of the occupied properties, the violation of human rights, the illegal implantation of Turkish citizens, and the demand for a permanent presence of Turkish troops are the result of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots not feeling safe and secured.

 

They intentionally ignore and disregard the fact that the Greek Cypriot community, as a result of a painful compromise, accepted the bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, while refuting and violating at the same time the EU acquis and the principles of International Law, upon which the protection of the citizens of each state is based, irrespective of ethnic origin or religious beliefs.

 

And I am extremely saddened by the fact that the pretext used by Turkey is in complete contrast to the already agreed principle during the negotiating process: The security and safety of one community cannot constitute a threat to the other community.

 

A principle that determines that a member state of the United Nations and the European Union cannot be considered truly independent and sovereign if it is subject to anachronistic guarantees and rights of intervention by any third country.

 

A position that is fully embraced by the United Nations within the framework set by the General-Secretary.

 

It is within this context that our proposals were submitted during the last Conference on Cyprus at Crans Montana, with the proposal for a new comprehensive system of security and guarantees that would replace anachronisms and the strategic aspirations of third countries against Cyprus.

 

 

 

Of course, apart from the vital security issues, for a settlement to be functional and viable, full respect of the human rights and the fundamental freedoms of every legitimate citizen of the Republic of Cyprus is required, without the creation of privileges that will reverse fundamental democratic principles, as recognised by the constitutions of all member states of the United Nations and the European Union.

 

And its saddens me that, without any intention of confrontation, I am obliged to respond to the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Akinci, that our respect towards our Turkish Cypriot compatriots is granted, as fully demonstrated by the acceptance of the political equality and the effective participation in governance.

 

However, this does not necessarily imply that we are in position to accept any provisions that refer to arithmetic equality in all structures of the governance or which will create a state where one community, and in particular the less populous one, will enjoy such privileges that will constitute the solution not only not viable but non-functional as well.

 

A state that, instead of creating conditions for peaceful co-existence and collaboration, will inherently be in jeopardy to collapse as a result of the continuous deadlocks caused by constitutional provisions that are not included in any federal member state of the United Nations and the European Union.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

On a numerous occasion, I reiterated in the clearest terms to the UN Secretary-General, our partners in the EU, the Permanent and non-Permanent Members of the Security Council and the international community in general, that I remain strongly committed to resume negotiations, with the same determination and goodwill we have demonstrated since the beginning of the negotiating process.

 

What is of course required, is to create those necessary conditions that will allow the dialogue to resume on the basis of good will and constructive stance from all stakeholders, in particular the Turkish side, in order to safeguard the positive outcome of the negotiations.

 

Within this context, I do hope that the arrival of the special envoy of the United Nations of the Secretary-General on Monday and the consultations that will take place with all parties involved will allow the Secretary-General to be in a position to embark in a new dialogue.

 

I truly wish that both our Turkish Cypriots compatriots and Turkey will respond positively to the new prospect that is presented again upon us, taking into account in a comprehensive manner and, without being selective, the provisions set by the Secretary-General at the Conference in Crans Montana. At the same time we should also not ignore the remaining significant differences on the other chapters of the Cyprus Problem.  

 

Differences that can be easily resolved by adopting, and respecting, what is considered as our obligation: The European acquis.

 

This is the reason why I urge the Turkish Cypriot leader and our Turkish Cypriot compatriots to realise that the Greek Cypriot community, aims at reaching the soonest possible a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem that will create the conditions for peaceful co-existence and joint synergies.  

 

A solution based on the principles of International Law and the acquis of the European Union, in which the Republic of Cyprus is and will remain a Member State.

  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

On my own behalf, I wish to reiterate, yet again, my determination and commitment to immediately engage in a new dialogue on the basis of the framework set by the Secretary-General on June 30, 2017 and clarified on July 04, without disregarding at the same time all the other aspects of the Cyprus Problem as I have already elaborated upon.

 

I wish to clarify that what I am conveying constitutes neither any precondition nor prerequisite for resuming negotiations. They, constitute the fundamental principles for the creation of a modern state, with valid prospects for long-term prosperity for all its legitimate citizens, in conditions of security and stability.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

In closing, I would like to stress that despite any differences between us, we all share the same values and principles, but above all, the common concern for the termination of the illegal occupation and the creation of prospects of prosperity for the future generations in conditions, I repeat of security and stability.

 

With this in mind, the unity of all the political parties and the Cypriot people remains the only solid foundation that can lead us to freedom, security and independence that we all seek to eventually enjoy.

 

I wish to reassure you that we will continue to work tirelessly and with prudence, far from populism, far from unattainable aspirations, but with complete conscience and respect for what the majority of our proud people demand and expect. People who through an inconceivable tragedy and destruction managed to prove the greatness of their soul, their hard-working spirit and their inclination towards progress.

 

This is our obligation, and the least of our minimum debt towards all those who have given their lives, towards the missing persons and towards all those who have suffered, and still do, from the brutal consequences of the Invasion.

 

An obligation which dictates to deliver a truly free and independent country, that will justify the aspirations of the entire Cypriot people, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. 

 

Thank you.