Starting this academic year, schools across Cyprus will commemorate May 19 every year to pay respects to victims of the Pontian Greek genocide, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday.

During his eulogy at a memorial service for the victims of the Pontic genocide, he said that that both Cyprus and Greeks from Pontus are victims of Turkey’s expansionist policy.

“Both have experienced almost the same atrocities, looting, uprooting and extermination,” he underlined.

He said that parliament, with its unanimous resolution on May 19, 1994, recognised the Pontian Genocide, noting that “it is our wish and expectation that such crimes against humanity, such as genocides and ethnic cleansing, will be condemned and recognised by all humanity”.

Christodoulides added that for the first time this year, the education ministry officially informed schools about the genocide of the Pontian Hellenes and starting from the new school year, May 19 will be established as one of the official days of honour to the victims of the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus.

He pointed out that the government has exerted efforts to stand by the side of Pontians, to support them, to help them in every possible way in the various problems they face, such as “the acquisition of a building, which will serve as a meeting place and as a reference point for the preservation of the rich cultural heritage, traditions and for the preservation of the special characteristics of the Pontians.”