By Angelos Anastasiou
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades on Wednesday called on Cypriots to put aside internal disputes and pettiness and move forward “by consensus and with respect for history.”
The president was commenting in a written statement to mark 41 years since the July 15, 1974 coup that temporarily ousted then president Archbishop Makarios and led to the Turkish invasion five days later.
“On our way forward we need to solidify our faith in the rule of law. We need to recognise our mistakes and failures as an example and also recognise the effects of dissention, and put aside disputes and pettiness,” he said.
“Today’s black anniversary of the treasonous coup turns thoughts back to events that everyone condemns and calls for it not to be repeated.
“This day is dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives for the defence of democracy, legality and freedom and those who gave their lives for the territorial integrity of the Republic.”
Anastasiades said Cyprus was fully aware of the reality and risks of the continued and unacceptable status quo, adding that there was an urgent need for relief from “the scourge and the weight of betrayal”, by finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, which would restore unity.
After addressing parliament later in the day, Anastasiades said Cypriots need to look inward in order to heal the “sins of the past”.
“United, and through a self-criticising lens, we must realise that mistakes come at a cost, and it is these mistakes that we are now trying to undo, both because we owe it to the heroes that fell for democracy and freedom, and for future generations,” he said.
Sirens sounded islandwide at 8.20am on Wednesday to mark the coup.
Shortly before 11am, a funeral service for 17 individuals who lost their lives during the 1974 coup, and whose remains were identified via DNA testing earlier this year, was held at the Holy Church of God’s Wisdom (Tis Tou Theou Sofias).
Among the dead was Dora Yiangou, who had been just seven years old on July 15, 1974. She was killed by a stray bullet that hit her in the heart. It is said that she had been standing on the veranda of her house in Akropoli, Nicosia, when she was shot.
In attendance were political leaders, government ministers, the Greek ambassador to Cyprus, several deputies, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou along with his Maltese counterpart, and Anastasiades.
The service for the fallen was conducted by Archbishop Chrysostomos.
It was followed by the burial of the remains at the Constantinou & Elenis cemetery in Nicosia.
According to official government data, 98 people fell victim to the coup that toppled Makarios’ government, and paid with their lives.