July 17, 2018

Message by the President of the Republic of Cyprus on the Occasion of the Anniversaries of the Coup and Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

Twenty-seven years have gone by since the tragic events of 1974 and the people of Cyprus still continue to suffer from the horrible consequences of the illegal Attila invasion of Cyprus which occurred under the pretext of a criminal coup.

Drawing the correct lessons from the coup and the events that led to it, the Greek Cypriots have reinforced their faith and respect towards the democratic institutions by showing democratic behavior in the daily functioning of our political life.

It is also my conviction that as regards at least the ordinary citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, we have drawn the correct lesson from the invasion. That is why a great majority of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots believe in the need for reunification of the island through an agreement which will safeguard the political rights of the two communities and the human rights of all Cypriots, while at the same time will soothe their concerns regarding their security. It is up to the will of political leaderships now to make this desire of the citizens a reality.

The Greek Cypriot community is ready for such an agreement which will benefit equally Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and which would be consistent with the Security Council resolutions, the Human Rights Conventions, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and generally with the international law and the acquis communautaire as this is applied in the European Union of which Cyprus will become a member.

About one and a half years ago the United Nations undertook an initiative on the basis of which proximity talks on Cyprus have been held. Unfortunately, the leadership of the Turkish side had refused to negotiate within the parameters set by the United Nations and, eventually, refused to return to a new round of talks.

The international community is now sending a message that it is proceeding with preparations for the resumptions of negotiations. We have already expressed our readiness to participate in the continuation of the proximity talks, with bravery and flexibility, on the basis of the parameters set by the United Nations.

We are, however, opposed to talks which will simply get the Turkish side out of the difficult position to which it has been led by its negative policy, without leading to substantial negotiations. We are also opposed to talks which bind our side in advance on issues of substance which should be discussed only at the negotiating table. I have already, in the most official manner, made myself clear to the United Nations and other interested states in these issues.

In the meantime we are continuing, in spite of any obstacles, successfully until now, the accession process of Cyprus to the European Union. Our European course is successful, not only because we are harmonizing with the acquis communautaire at a satisfactory rate but also because we are following a correct strategy on the Cyprus problem.

The solution of the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for accession. But we know that our side’s stand on the Cyprus problem will be of decisive importance for the final outcome of our accession process to the European Union. But I want to state emphatically that we will not make unacceptable concessions for the sake of accession.

At this point I feel the need to repeat my appeal to the Turkish Cypriot community to participate in our delegation which negotiates for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. But I stress that in case we become a member before a solution is found, we will treat our Turkish Cypriot compatriots as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, in the areas, of course, where it will be practically possible to apply the acquis communautaire in regard to Turkish Cypriots. But we would like them, if the obstacles of division did not exist, to enjoy with us all the financial and other benefits and which the accession tot he European Union will bring to the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

The leadership on the Turkish side, in Ankara and the occupied areas, hurls various threats in an effort to halt the accession process of Cyprus to the European Union. I stress that we act preventively in all areas, while, at the same time, we prepare to face any possible event.

I believe that Turkey’s threats and her possible attempts to implement these threats will finally damage Turkey herself and will put obstacles in her way to become a member of the E.U.

Our accession to the big European family will be Cyprus’ greatest achievement since the declaration of the Cyprus Republic. Beyond economic, social and political benefits that it will bring to the people of Cyprus, accession will give a new dimension to the security of Cyprus because of its participation in these institutions will also contribute to a great extent to the attainment of the strategic goal of the European Union to consolidate security and political stability in the wider region.

Until the Cyprus problem is solved, the Government of the Cyprus Republic strengthens and will continue to strengthen the defence of the free areas in the context of the Joint Defence Doctrine between Greece and Cyprus.

On this occasion, once again, I would like to express thanks and gratitude on the part of the Greek Cypriots for the invaluable assistance being offered to us by the Greek Government, the whole political leadership of Greece and the brotherly Greek people in our struggle, especially in the diplomatic efforts for our accession to the European as well as in the defence sector.

With this message, I express our thanks and gratitude to all Greeks and Greek Cypriots living overseas and to foreign governments and personalities for their solidarity and active support.

In our struggle to give emphasis to the humanitarian issues of the enclaved and our missing persons as well. The relatives of the missing are witnesses of the arduous effort we are making to ascertain the fate of their beloved.

Concluding this message, I would like once again to reassure all those who have suffered the consequences of the coup, the invasion and the occupation that the government will continue to be by their side.