Speech by General Secretary of AKEL A. Kyprianou at the commemorative event to denounce the anniversaries of the fascist coup d’état and Turkish invasion
17th July 2020, Dali Stadium, Nicosia
We are here again this year, as every year, to condemn the coup that opened the back door to Turkey’s invading troops.
We are here again this year to honor the memory of the Heroes who sacrificed their lives for democracy and our homeland.
We are here again this year, as every year, to denounce those who gave the order for the crime, those who took up arms, those who hid behind the front line of battle at the critical moment and who sent our people to the front line to fight unarmed and betrayed.
Every year on such days we come together not just to denounce the crime committed against our country, but to reflect on it too. To talk about the crime, but also to name and shame the perpetrators of the crime. To honor our Heroes, but also to remember that the few traitors made them heroes.
Every year, no matter how many years may pass, we will be here. Our children and grandchildren will insist on coming here after us. The continuation of the duty of a people who were betrayed but resisted, who were lined up before an execution squad but did not yield.
We are and will always be here, so that the traitors should remember their shame.
We are and will always be here, to turn memory into a consciousness.
With the laurel wreath photos of our Heroes.
With the flag of Cyprus waving high.
With the belief that our people will eventually be victorious.
We are and will always be here. To wash away their shame. The shame we feel every year on the 15th of July when after honoring the heroes of the resistance, their Members of Parliament, Ministers, Party leaders and their Government, lay laurel wreaths at the tombs of the coupists who took up arms. This provocation is a disgrace to our people, an insult to the memory of our heroes.
That is precisely why we are and will always be here. To remind them all that no betrayal is ever committed without traitors; that no crime is ever committed without criminals.
This provocation is a double shame when they hypocritically honor the heroes of the resistance because what else other than hypocrisy is it when they subsequently proceed to honor those who betrayed the heroes of the resistance, those who betrayed the, those who took up arms against and attacked democracy, against their own homeland?
That is precisely why we are and will always be here.
To be the image they will see every time they look in their mirror.
The image of every brave lad who painted their prison cells red with their blood, the heroic resistance that did not allow fascism to pass at the Presidential Palace, the working class neighborhoods of Kaimakli and Ayi Yianni, at the Eftapatos juncture in Limassol and the Famagusta and Larnaca Police Stations.
The image of the mothers mourning clad in black, the open graves, the tents of the uprooted and displaced refugees, the black and white photos of our missing persons, the tears of the relatives who to this date are digging for the remains of their loved ones, the symbol of the crescent moon carved on the occupied Pentadactylos mountain range visible to all, which will always remind us of the betrayal that was committed.
We are and will always be here to remind them of the truth.
To remind them that the crime of the betrayal, of the coup d’état of the Greek junta and EOKA B that massacred our people, was not some “foolish action” or the outcome of a “civil war”. The crime was premeditated and planned.
The biggest obstacle to the plans of imperialism and nationalism was AKEL and its consistent political line for a non-aligned, independent and sovereign Cyprus and for a common homeland of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The Americans and NATO never gave up on fulfilling their objective of subjugating Cyprus to their interests. They fueled clashes between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots without difficulty, unfortunately. Within the Greek Cypriot community, nationalism and chauvinism saw the independence of Cyprus as a stepping stone to achieving Enosis – the union of Cyprus with Greece, whilst within the Turkish Cypriot community independence was viewed as a stepping stone to “Taksim” – partition.
Those forces who targeted Cyprus began to offer their services as “mediators”. The plans were hatched by US officials Ball, Lemnitser, Acheson, and Cyrus Vance. They all served the same purpose: the overthrow of Makarios and abandonment of the non-aligned policy he followed, attaching Cyprus to the NATO war machine and granting part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus to Turkey.
Makarios’ assassination plots were being hatched one after the other. At the end of 1971, EOKA B had already been formed. Immediately after its establishment, EOKA B began preparing for the coup, at all levels. It started bringing illegal weapons to Cyprus, organized its financing and started planning for the coup. In the three and a half years during which Grivas was the leader of EOKA B, but also earlier on, numerous plans were elaborated to overthrow Makarios and seize power. The plans “Mercury”, “Sling”, “Apollo”, “Fist” and “Typhoon”. The plan “Retaliation” targeted politicians, including the late General Secretary of AKEL Ezekias Papaioannou, as well as newspaper offices such as AKEL’s newspaper “Haravgi”. Lastly, we had the “Victory” plan, which bears the signature of Grivas himself. Political assassinations, bombings of government buildings, terror and beatings were on the agenda of the fascist EOKA B organisation.
AKEL, despite the fact it had thwarted an attempted coup due to be executed in 1972 by dynamically rallying the people around Makarios, was not complacent. In April 1974, the then General Secretary of the Central Committee of AKEL Ezekias Papaioannou, stressed from the podium of the 13th Congress of AKEL: “Not only have the criminal plans against Cyprus not been abandoned, but they are being perfected. The main goal remains the assassination of President Makarios and the seizure of power through a coup d’état”.
Our Party proposed the creation of a People’s Militia that would be the opposing force to fight EOKA B, but also the National Guard which was infiltrated and under the control of the Greek junta. For this purpose, AKEL prepared a list of names and put all its forces at the disposal of President Makarios. AKEL’s proposal, without being rejected, was not implemented. Makarios proceeded to set up the Special Reserve Force, which fought selflessly to defend democracy and uphold the rule of law. The Reserve Force had essentially dismantled EOKA B, but it was not able to stop the coup.
We therefore did not all play the same role in the 1974 events.
On the one hand, AKEL and with it the overwhelming majority of the Cypriot people, rallied around the non-aligned policy pursued by President Makarios.
On the other hand, EOKA B, conscious fascists.
On the one hand, thousands of honest patriots who shed their blood for democracy and freedom.
On the other hand, the few sell-outs who ran to hide in the mountains or in hospitals so as not to fight as soon as Turkey invaded Cyprus. They only appeared when the conflicts were over.
Today these forces are now provocative, sitting comfortably in the positions of power, at ease given that the Right and the ultra-right provided them with political cover by incorporating them in their parties. They remain unrepentant even to his day, indeed delivering lessons on history.
Five days after the coup d’état on 20th July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus in violation of every concept of international law. To this day, it continues to commit crimes against Cyprus and our people. With the illegal occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the ongoing colonisation (of the occupied areas), the illegal expropriation of Greek Cypriot property and the staying of its occupying troops. The barbed wire of division cut deeply the body of our long-suffering island.
This is the essence and nature of the Cyprus problem which is an international problem of invasion and occupation; a problem of the flagrant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus; a problem of the violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The consequences of the invasion and occupation are directly threatening the future of the Cypriot people.
Our own duty to our heroes and Cyprus is to put an end to the disaster and write a hopeful epilogue to the Cypriot tragedy.
Unfortunately, the big obstacle to the solution of the Cyprus problem all these years is the Turkey’s intransigence. Regrettably, the unreliable policy pursued by Mr. Anastasiades for seven years, instead of making it difficult for Turkey is facilitating it in achieving its goals.
Turkey is escalating its provocative and aggressive actions. It is becoming more and more dangerous throughout the whole region. But the government has failed to expose it. It has failed to convince the international community to unreservedly support Cyprus and its rights. Today we have reached the point where Turkey is behaving more provocatively than ever, but Cyprus’ ‘partners’ are appeasing Turkey. We are moving further and further away from the solution. Instead of the government ruling forces worrying about this development, they insist on trying to employ an enormous communication mechanism to convince the people that everything is going well.
Now is the time for the government ruling forces to put aside the delusions that are being cultivated among the people daily. They should abandon their dead-end policy, try to make use of the prescribed EU-Turkey dialogue for the benefit of Cyprus, follow belatedly consistent tactics to stop Turkey’s aggressive actions and promote the solution of the Cyprus problem.
This will only happen if they abandon the policy of inaction and inertia; convince that they are ready to resume the negotiations from where they had remained at Crans Montana.
Our goal and priority must be the solution of the Cyprus problem. All our efforts should bring us closer and not take us away from it.
For a solution as agreed with the international and Turkish Cypriot community.
For a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation solution, based on the United Nations Resolutions and the agreed framework.
For a solution that will free our country from the barbed wire of division, from checkpoints and foreign armies.
For a solution that will pave the way for the coexistence of our people in a united State – the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus – with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality, without guarantee and intervention rights.
For a solution with political equality as provided for in the resolutions of the United Nations.
There are indeed enormous difficulties that we must overcome to realise the goal of the solution. But there is no other way before us.
No one has the right to give up the struggle, to yield and allow Cyprus to be partitioned.
No one has the right, and we are not going to permit it, to sacrifice the future generations for the sake of any petty political considerations and games.
Now is the time to put aside the regressions, big talk sloganeering and focus on the strategic goal of liberation and reunification.
It is also time to reorient Cyprus’ foreign policy. It is not possible for them to pretend that they don’t see the consequences of their short-sighted approach of pinning all of Cyprus’ hopes in one basket. The government ruling forces were celebrating about the Rubio-Menendez law that supposedly lifts the embargo on US arms sales to the Republic of Cyprus immediately. This bill obliges Cyprus to break up its relations with other member states of the UN Security Council, namely Russia and China and to become an obedient follower of the United States. It even obliges the replacement of Cyprus’ defense equipment with equipment from NATO member states. They demand that we remove from Cyprus our most steadfast supporters on the Cyprus problem; those very forces who supported the Cyprus economy with investments and tourism all these years. When AKEL pointed all this out, the government ruling forces told us that these were unilateral US decisions and that they would not implement them.
We recently had the announcement of the US Embassy in Cyprus about the training that the USA will offer to the armed forces of Cyprus, stemming from the Rubio-Menendez bill.
What do they have to say now?
The Government has still not replied to our question: will the armed forces of Cyprus be ordered to defend American interests?
Will they be sending our children to military operations to serve US interests?
On what basis is this cooperation based on?
At a time when the Trump administration is undermining the situation in the Middle East and withdrawing from the international security system, at a time when to flirt Turkey it is turning a blind eye to Erdogan’s provocative actions against Cyprus and Greece, who does this cooperation ultimately serve if not the US themselves?
Or have the government ruling forces perhaps decided that Cyprus should become the obedient servant of the region so that headlines about “our powerful allies” are reproduced for domestic consumption purposes?
It is incomprehensible that today the government ruling forces are returning to the doctrines of the past. The dogma “Cyprus belongs to the West” is a doctrine belonging to the past for which Cyprus paid a heavy price for with blood and the ongoing occupation. They are trying to restore this dogma by tying Cyprus to the US war machine instead of pursuing an outward-looking and multidimensional foreign policy.
We regret to see the government ruling forces passively watching time go by, instead of using it to the benefit of Cyprus. Negotiations will not resume until the voting process in the Turkish Cypriot community takes place.
Mr. Anastasiades needs to move in two directions during this period.
He should take initiatives so that immediately afterwards substantial negotiations are resumed for a just, under the circumstances, functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem.
He should promote a rhetoric both inside and outside Cyprus that cultivates the need for a solution, reconciliation, peace and reunification.
To unite Cypriots and not to divide them.
To convince them that the benefits of the solution will be far greater than the damage we will be left with by the partition.
We and all those who are struggling for peace have a vision for the Cyprus of tomorrow. We have a vision for a reunited and federal Cyprus, a beacon and an example for the whole world. A modern model of harmonious coexistence of two communities of different nationality, language and religion who will co-manage their common state. It will be a country that will have managed to drive out armies and channel all its forces and resources into social investment and economic development. We want the future generations to live in this Cyprus and we will not stop struggling until we make the vision a reality.
This year, too, the Right and the ultra-right stood nervously in front of the microphones to say just two words about the coup and the invasion. This year too they could not find it in themselves to talk about the crimes committed by the EOKA B of Grivas, about their thugs who were waving machine guns but didn’t go to front line of battle and stayed in the rear.
This year too they could not find it in themselves to say that they arrested, tortured and killed people; that they cold-bloodedly executed those who dared to resist fascism. When Turkey invaded Cyprus, they filled trucks with leftists, democrats, resistance fighters and sent them straight to the slaughter and their deaths.
Not even this year did they dare talk about the pages that are missing from Cypriot History. About the pages written by our heroes: Sotiris Adamou Konstantinou, Costas Misiaoulis, Kostakis Evagorou, Nikos Flourentzou, Kyriakos Papalazarou, Andreas Kestas, Pambos Christofi, Tassos Christofi, Pantelis Charalambous, Christakis Kompos and so many others.
This year, too, they did not dare talk about the pages that were filled with the blood shed by Gabriel Theodosiou, Andreas Stylianou, Gerasimos Leontiou, Sotiris Papalazarou, Avraam Loizou, Evelthontas Ioannidis, Nikos Karasamanis, Achilleas Kourtellis, Yiorgos Hadjistefanis, Yiorgos Charalambous, Andreas Theodosiou and so many other Heroes and Martyrs.
The political elite of the Right doesn’t find any opportunity to honor them as Heroes.
There is no television time to mention and pay tribute to them.
There is no space and room for them in school history textbooks.
Let it be.
We shall be the ones to honor the obligation towards them.
We will become the pages that are missing from History.
We will remember their names, their murderers and their heroism.
It will always be our hands that will hold up their photos. In our consciousness, in the hearts and minds of the people’s consciousness, their names will always shine.
Their sacrifice will always strengthen our resolve when we shout “The people do not forget!”
It will always be their sacrifice that will resonate every time we shout “Independence – Freedom – Democracy!”
It will always be their own blood that will give life to an entire Movement that struggles, moves forward and shouts “Cyprus belongs to its people!”
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