A park in Thessaloniki had been named after the Greek General Georgios Katsanis, who fought alongside Greek Cypriots when Turkey invaded the island in 1974.

Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides attended the naming ceremony in Greece during which he underscored the sacrifice of General Katsanis.

He said it was an obligation to pay, on behalf of the Cypriot people, “the minimum tribute to a distinguished compatriot, a great Greek hero”.

General Georgios Katsanis was Commander of the 33rd Raiders Squadron in 1974, then with the rank of colonel. The president said Katsanis sacrificed himself during the Turkish invasion in defence of the Republic of Cyprus, its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, as well as the freedom of its citizens.

After years of being listed as missing, part of General Katsanis’ remains were discovered in Cyprus in 2020 through DNA analysis, and he was laid to rest in his hometown of Sidirokastro Serres. President Christodoulides noted that General Katsanis had also excelled as an athlete at the historic Gymnastics Club “Iraklis Thessaloniki,” further commemorating his legacy.

A delegation from the specific club was present at the naming ceremony of the park, which is located next to the Katsanis Gymnasium on Agiou Dimitriou Street in Thessaloniki.

Christodoulides referred to the numerous dedications in the name of General Katsanis that reflect the due recognition of his contribution and sacrifice, including camps, monuments, busts and namings in various locations in Cyprus and Greece.

“Even greater recognition I consider the love and respect of his soldiers for Katsanis and the popular nickname attributed to him as ‘the eagle of Pentadaktylos’,” he added.

He then praised General Katsanis’ bravery as a shining example of defending Cyprus against invasion, aligning his sacrifice with the struggles and sacrifices of Cypriot and Balkan fighters in the early 20th century.

He mentioned that the sacrifice of General Katsanis is listed and stands out in the heroic contribution of dozens of officers and soldiers from Greece and particularly from Macedonia, who were killed defending Cypriot independence and integrity in the summer of 1974 at Pentadaktylos, on the shores of Kyrenia, and in the Mesaoria plain.

The President concluded by praising General Katsanis’ family for their unwavering love for Cyprus and thanked the Mayor of Thessaloniki for the joint effort in naming the park after the esteemed General.

“To all these fallen and missing, we owe gratitude.”