Speech by the General Secretary of AKEL A.Kyprianou at the memorial service for the fallen heroes of Chloraka, Paphos
20 June 2021, Chloraka, Paphos
Andreas Ellinas was member of the Special Reserve Force set up by the Makarios government to combat the armed fascist underground organisation of EOKA B. He fell in an ambush of EOKA B.
Theodoros Petrou was a National Guardsman. He died defending the Republic during the coup d’état.
Charalambos Kirillou was a member of the Special Reserve Police Force. He and other colleagues were victims of an EOKA B ambush at Akrotiri.
Dimitris Zinieri was a staunch democrat. He ran to defend democracy when the coup d’état occurred. He was ambushed by EOKA B.
Christodoulos Polydorou was a soldier in the 398 Battalion during the Turkish invasion. He fell in the Tziaos area. For thirty years he was buried in the cemetery of Lakatamia, without anyone knowing it.
Leonidas Theocharous was a soldier in the 251st Battalion. He ran to fight on the front line against Turkey’s invading army. He died fighting for his country’s freedom. He was missing until recently when his remains were found in Voni.
This is yet another a roll call of the heroes of democracy and freedom.
But after all these years, who remembers? That is what some people are asking, especially young people who did not live these events.
So many years have gone by, but we still remember.
We remember mourning mothers dressed in black.
We remember children left behind who grew up with a black and white photo on the wall, with an empty chair on the table.
We remember grandchildren who grew up learning from their parents about their own beloved person. A part of them, from their blood, simple people who at the critical moment chose the correct path and became Heroes.
Throughout all these years, we still remember.
So long as mass graves still lie open.
So long as pieces of our beloved ones remains and our country’s history, are still reverently spread out on the tables of anthropological laboratories of the Committee on Missing Persons.
So long as the memory of brave young lads who couldn’t all fit through the door, but are now “returning” closed in a horrible little box with their remains.
All these years later, we haven’t forgotten.
So long as there are still refugees and missing persons.
So long as there are still barbed wires of division that hurts our country; divide our homeland and people.
How can we forget?
About the democracy and freedom of this land, during those troubled years, when the flower of Cyprus’ young sons were sacrificed. People full of dreams and hopes. People who put their beliefs, the ideals of freedom and democracy above their own lives.
It is our duty to remember, to pass on from generation to generation our debt to them so that their sacrifice will not have been in vain. In a country that was unfortunate to give birth to traitors often baptized them as “heroes”, “great men” and “patriots”, we owe it to them to remember who the real heroes were.
The real heroes were people who did not want their lives to be set apart from the many, but to join forces with them to fight for Cyprus’ future. People who stood out, finally, with their death. They stood out because at the critical moment they remained faithful to the ideals and values of democracy and freedom. Because they fought courageously against treason and the crime that was ordered by the enemies of Cyprus.
As revealed by the testimonies contained in the Conclusion on the Cyprus File commissioned by the House of Representatives, our country was sacrificed to serve the powerful interests of the US and NATO. They did so not out of “ignorance”, nor out of “foolishness” as certain forces and circles insist on claiming to this day, but because of the deliberate treasonous actions of the Greek Junta and EOKA B, which were executing the plans of imperialism as submissive tools.
What else but conscious betrayal could the reference in the Conclusions of the Greek General Bonanos’ testimony to the Committee of Inquiry of the Greek Parliament be described as? According to this testimony, Bonanos knew about the Turkish invasion from 6 a.m. on 20th July 1974, but he did not inform anyone because “he had prioritized other things to do”…
What else but treason can the reference to the testimony of National Guard chief Georgitsis be described as, who reported that the Greek Junta staff had been told – for reasons of “honour and prestige” – to allow the Turkish army to land somewhere in the Kyrenia area? A few days earlier the US expressed to Turkey “its sympathy, understanding and readiness to assist in an appropriate manner and in any way”…
However, unfortunately, it wasn’t just the US, Turkey and the Greek Junta that played a leading role in the betrayal of Cyprus. All of them would have achieved nothing had they not had willing allies and collaborators in Cyprus. The Parliamentary Conclusion on the Cyprus File certified the shameful and criminal role of the Greek Junta and EOKA B.
The Right and the extreme right of Cyprus, acting with the support of the “deep state”, in the years after Cyprus independence, undermined the prospect of our people living in a stable, independent and sovereign state. The state was infiltrated, nationalist propaganda was rampant in military camps and our schools, murders were being committed, police stations blown up, ambushes and kidnappings carried out, weapons stolen, while the crimes and illegal actions of the extreme right were all preparing the ground for the culmination of the treason against Cyprus and its people. The treasonous coup d’état of the Greek Junta and EOKA B on the 15th July 1974 paved the way for the Turkish army invasion of 1974 on the 20th July.
Turkey’s invasion in Cyprus was completely illegal. It led to thousands of dead, refugees and missing persons. In just one summer our people were drowned in blood and suffered untold pain.
Almost half a century later, the completion of the crime with the final partition of Cyprus has never been more visible than it is today. Unfortunately, we are now closer than ever to the nightmare scenario of Cyprus having a land border with Turkey within our own country. Everyone must realise that partition does not mean that life will simply go on as it is today. Inevitably, Turkey will at some stage seek to expand, with all that this implies for the survival of the Cypriot people in the land that gave birth to them. Already in Famagusta, fait accompli are being imposed and Turkey’s provocativeness is intensifying with actions in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey has always prevented a solution from being found with its unacceptable and intransigent positions for a two state solution. This was its original objective and it has persisted on this goal to this day. The challenge for us is to manage to render this objective unattainable. We will achieve this by sticking to our just positions – without contradictions and regressions, with consistency and determination in what we have agreed with the international and the Turkish Cypriot community.
The outcome of the Geneva talks was disappointing. The situation is becoming extremely dangerous. Now is the time for seriousness and reflection. There is no room for any illusions. All those who pretend that there are other solutions must now realize that if we want to get rid of the occupation there is no other way. No one is discussing anything other than the solution that we had agreed decades ago with both the Turkish Cypriots and the international community, namely bi-zonal, bicommunal federation. The other option is partition and hence the unconditional surrendering of half of Cyprus to Turkey. This is the unacceptable claim that Turkey is now officially setting.
We and all those who are fighting for peace in Cyprus insist and will insist on a solution of the Cyprus problem.
A solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, based on the United Nations resolutions and the agreed framework.
A solution that will reunite our land and people, our institutions and economy.
A solution that will free our land from barbed wires of division, checkpoints and foreign armies.
A solution that will pave the way for our people to live together in a united state – the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, without guarantees and interventionist rights and with political equality as provided for by the resolutions of the UN.
Our homeland isn’t a place like so many others. It is a small country that has suffered a great tragedy.
A country that bled from a great crime.
A country where the few decided that some had to disappear, die, never to see their loved ones and friends ever again.
A country that has borne and still carries a heavy cross on its back.
The fate of Cyprus cannot and must not be that.
Cyprus must blossom again and full of its beauties embrace all its children with both hands.
This will be the best way to honour the memory of our heroes.