The government on Sunday honoured the memory of those killed during the July 15, 1974 coup against the then President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios.
Government ministers attended services in all districts, on behalf of President Nicos Anastasiades, and laid wreaths.
Makarios was ousted on July 15 , 1974 by the Greek Cypriot EOKA-B paramilitary organisation, backed by the Greek military and was replaced by pro-Enosis (union with Greece) nationalist Nicos Sampson.
The coup was followed five days later by the Turkish invasion, which resulted in the occupation of 37 per cent of the Republic’s territory and its de facto division.
Among the tragic losses of the 1974 invasion are those killed, the missing persons, refugees, and the destruction of our cultural and religious heritage, said Education Minister Costas Kadis, who attended the memorial service in Paphos.
Honouring the dead, Kadis said it is a duty of the government to preserve their memory.
“Forty-two years later, the violation of basic freedoms and our people’s basic human rights continues,” Kadis said.
It is our obligation, Kadis said, to move ahead in unity away from divisive attitudes and bigotry.
Through the current negotiations process, he said, “we are seeking a solution that will secure the freedom and reunification of Cyprus in conditions of democracy, peace and fairness”.
“This would be the appropriate honour to those who defended and sacrificed for legality and democracy,”Kadis said.
Each year, on July 15 sirens ring out at 8:20am, the time the coup began.