15 July 2019, Dali Municipality Amphitheatre, Nicosia
“I want you to prepare graves for 75 dead in half an hour”…. Four trucks filled with dead bodies arrived at the cemetery. I told the officer that the dead should be buried in equal numbers in every grave we dig. That’s when the swearing began, “You bloody priest…They are all communist dogs. The soldiers will be buried with full honors here and all the supporters of Makarios somewhere else far away.” They handed these bodies over to me…Among them were two girls aged just 3 and 7, two women, some policemen and the rest had civilian clothes…Afterwards, they brought more bodies in trucks. A young man around 18 to 20 years old wore only military slacks … I saw him very clearly move his hand slightly. I called out to the coupists that he is still alive. They began swearing at me. They buried him alive…”
This is the testimony of the priest who was at Nicosia’s cemetery on that 15th July 1974, the day of the fascist coup d’état.
Today at this very cemetery those who took up arms and attacked democracy are now being honored together with the heroes of Democracy. This is first and foremost the fault of the Archbishop and other forces of our country’s political and church life.
On 15th July 1974, the coupists, serving the plans of the imperialists, opened up the tomb of Democracy, the tomb of Cyprus. No matter how much the ideological descendants of the coup d’état seek to pardon the crime committed by promoting the policy of forgetfulness and historical amnesia, we will never forget.
We do not forget!
We do not forget the treachery committed!
We do not forget the weapons that were turned on our people.
We do not forget the handcuffs and bullets that have forever marked the consciousness of hundreds of Heroes of Democracy.
We do not forget those who arrested them; who tortured, imprisoned and murdered them.
We do not forget those who betrayed and those who were betrayed; those who planned and organized the crime committed against Cyprus.
The non-aligned policy pursued by President Makarios, the mass struggles of AKEL and the Popular Movement of the Left, the resistance, were all obstacles to their partitionist plans.
That is why they were demanding that AKEL must be outlawed.
That’s why Grivas with his thugs were elaborating plans to execute a coup d’état one after the other; plans such as “Hermes”, “Sling”, “Apollo”, “Fist” and “Typhoon”. The Plan for a coup called “Retaliation” specifically targeted political figures, among them the late General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL Ezekias Papaioannou, as well as newspaper offices such as our daily Party newspaper “Haravgi”. Lastly, the “Victory” Plan was drawn up by Grivas himself.
These are just some of the historical documents that prove the treachery committed by Grivas and EOKA B, the military junta of Greece. Unfortunately, all of them acted as the Trojan House of NATO and the US to promote their plans against Cyprus.
In 1972, the Cypriot people, with AKEL at the forefront, mobilized the people on a mass scale to thwart the coup d’état, staying overnight in the Square of the Archbishop’s palace. Following the failure of the coup d’état, the conspiracy against Makarios, Cyprus and its people intensified. The atmosphere was becoming more confrontational, while hatred and fanaticism were growing day by day.
The crime was being prepared by Grivas and the underground armed fascist EOKA B organization long before it was executed. Illegal arms were brought in and were being stolen, political attacks waged, murders and assassinations committed, explosions in military camps and police stations conducted, with terror and violent incidents on the daily agenda.
We do not forget!
We do not forget the ones who ordered the extermination of Cyprus.
Our homeland was considered useful only if it was to be surrendered to their services. Cyprus was viewed useful only as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier”, as a “spying and surveillance base of the free world” against the Soviet Union, as a launching pad for the suppression of the Arab liberation movements and as a center to control the flow of oil to the West.
They wanted our homeland to be subjugated to their interests, as they still do today as well. This is the goal of the notorious Rubio-Menendez bill that was prepared with the cooperation of the Anastasiades government and which was heralded by the governing DISY party.
The goal was for Cyprus to be put under imperialism’s full control.
That is why Makarios had to be overthrown, Turkey to invade and divide our island. The numerous Plans imperialism hatched, “Ball”, “Lemnister”, “Acheson”, “Cyrus Vance” and others, all had the same goal: The overthrow of Makarios and securing control over Cyprus.
We do not forget!
We have not forgotten the messages transmitted by the US Deputy Foreign Minister Ball to his country’s Embassies that the Greek army has the power to “deal with Makarios” if Athens were to issue the order and that Grivas could carry out that task.
We do not forget the intervention of the then Secretary-General of NATO Joseph Luns in the plot that broke out in the Cyprus Church against Makarios on the side of the three Metropolitan Bishops.
We do not forget the assurance given by the Lt. Gen. Grigorios Bonanos, the Greek junta Army Chief of Staff, at a meeting just a few days before the coup was executed that “we have cover for our plans”.
We do not forget his crude admission that he did not alert the General Staff of the Cypriot National Guard about the invasion because he had prioritized “other things to do”.
We do not forget the “sympathy and understanding” that the US Deputy Foreign Minister expressed towards the Turkish Ambassador in August 1974.
We do not forget that it was the Greek Cypriots fascists who were the ones who had opened the back door to the Turkish Army of Attila. They, together with the military junta of Greece, executed the coup of 15 July 1974.
Forty five years onwards, our homeland is still bleeding with the barbed wire marking its body. The refugee settlements are collapsing while the state is coldly indifferent to those who have been surviving there for years waiting to return to their homes and properties. The black and white photos of their beloved ones are fading and waiting for a reply as to the fate of so many missing people, as to whether their sacrifices will eventually be vindicated.
Forty-five years onwards, some want us to forget.
We do not forget!
We do not forget our comrade’s Martyrs and Heroes Kostas Mishaoulis, Costakis Evagorou, Nikos Flourentzou, Kyriakos Papalazarou, Andreas Kesta, Pampos Christofi, Tasso Christofi, Pantelis Charalambous, Christakis Kombos and so many others…
We do not forget our comrades Gabriel Theodosiou, Andreas Stylianou, Gerasimos Leontiou, Avraam Loizos, Evelthon Ioannides, Nikos Karasamanis, Achilleas Kourtellis, Yiorgos Adamou Hadjistefanis, Yiorgos Charalambous, Andreas Theodosiou and so many others…
Every time Mr. Anastasiades and his followers talk degradingly about AKEL’s patriotism, these names and so many others are our own reply.
And if they don’t remember them – we do not forget them!
They are the ones that the traitors had ambushed, arrested and tortured; the ones who were burned and buried alive.
They are the ones that were thrown in prisons, dungeons, and graves for their ideas.
They are the ones that the so-called “brave lads” of “the Greek Nation” had sent to the frontline of the battle with their civilian clothes, unarmed and betrayed.
They are the ones who were left alone to fight the Turkish army armed to the teeth, so that the others would save their skin and share positions of power between them, pointing their fingers at us and delivering us lessons in democracy and patriotism.
They are the ones that shed the rivers of blood of the People’s Movement of the Left for the cause of Cyprus, for our honor and pride, our eternal oath for the future of our country and people.
It is the duty that does not permit us to yield and surrender.
It is the duty that does not permit us to accept the nightmare of our Homeland’s partition, which regrettably now more than at any other time stands before us.
Turkey in promoting its goals. Without obsessions and racist attitudes. By working together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots who want and are struggling too for a solution and reunification. I regret to say that over the past few years the government hasn’t acted in such away. On the contrary, the handlings being made by Mr. Anastasiades on the Cyprus problem are facilitating Turkey.
We repeat it fully aware of what we say. Mr. Anastasiades, with his contradictions, regressions and tactical games, risks going down in history as the President of the partition. We urge him, even at this stage, to reflect on developments and to make an appraisal of his handlings.
He inherited from the late Demetris Christofias the Cyprus problem with joint communiqués that safeguarded long-standing positions of our side. With many issues agreed and recorded as convergences. With the chapter of energy representing a huge prospect and the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus safeguarded. With the international community recognizing that our side was one step ahead in its readiness to solve the problem.
What did the President himself do and what to what phase did he lead the Cyprus problem too?
He attempted to throw the Christofias-Talat joint communiqué to the rubbish bin. He eventually ended up agreeing to the February 2014 Joint Declaration with losses, notably on the question of the single indivisible sovereignty.
Since taking office, we have urged him to continue on the basis of the Christofias-Talat convergences and not start negotiations from scratch as he had promised to do during the presidential campaign in order to steal votes. AKEL’s view was not heard. The President, supported by all the parties – apart from AKEL – followed the policy of rejecting the Christofias-Talat convergences and to resume negotiations from the beginning. All he achieved was to widen the gap, leading to a stalemate.
Meanwhile, he appointed a negotiator so that he himself would not be downgraded, as he said, to a community leader. He insisted on direct talks with Turkey and agreed to proceed to cross meetings. He was declaring that he would involve the European Union in the talks to make Turkey accountable; that he would use his “friends” internationally to force Turkey to work for a solution and accept our proposal for Famagusta.
Life, unfortunately, refuted him. For us, this was to be expected. Turkey’s aggressiveness escalated further, while a significant section of the international community that was usually supporting us appeased Turkey on numerous occasions and adopted positions that were negative for our side.
When Mr. Anastasiades decided to move on the basis of the Christofias-Talat convergences, we backed the procedure, demonstrating our patriotism. Relative progress had been recorded at that time. This progress could have created the prerequisites for the desired result of the solution had no other ambitions and interests prevailed.
At the same time as convergence was within range of being achieved on the thorny chapter of territory, Mr. Anastasiades suspended the effort at Mont Peleran 1. Unfortunately, he did so by invoking the General Secretary of AKEL – claiming that we had supposedly asked him to return back to Cyprus because we had problems in the Party. A big lie.
The second Mont Peleran failed. Under the threat of final collapse, a Conference on Cyprus was convened. We had a different view about the likelihood of a successful outcome, but also as regards the composition of the Conference itself.
Although AKEL’s opinion wasn’t asked when this was decided by both leaders and the UN, we again supported the effort, insisting on the safeguarding of the entity of the Republic of Cyprus, something that was done.
The first phase of the Conference in Geneva did not yield results because the ground had not been properly prepared. A conference of technocrats was decided to prepare for the next phase. However, at the end of the Technocrats Conference, we had the well-known absurdities with the Enosis referendum issue.
From that point onwards, instead of thinking about where things were heading towards, Mr. Anastasiades decided to bring back the policy of “protaxis” (Note: the policy of putting preconditions that predetermine the result of negotiations).He demanded the opening of negotiations on the issue of guarantees and security. He sought agreement on this and then a discussion and agreement on the territorial issue. Only then would he discuss the other chapters, he was saying. What did he accomplish? At the working dinner on June 4, 2017 in New York, he did a U-turn, accepting to go to Crans Montana.
What happened there and what subsequently followed, fully confirmed AKEL’s predictions and evaluations about Mr. Anastasiades’ contradictory handlings. The responsibility for the breakdown of the talks was unfortunately also apportioned on our side too. The President himself presented a totally different narrative to the Cypriot people and began his presidential election campaign.
Following the reelection of Mr. Anastasiades, the dust surrounding developments begun to settle. Information and press reports were increasing that the President of the Republic was reflecting that perhaps there might be “other solutions” for the Cyprus problem. These were confirmed when the Deputy President of the “Citizens Alliance” party publicly revealed that Mr. Anastasiades had told them between the first and second rounds of the Presidential election that he would “negotiate a solution with elements of confederation and two states”.
Today we have reached this point after wasting months discussing what the Framework is, whether it is the one of June 30th or July 4th, and after the absurdities of the ruling DISY party about the existence a supposed oral document.
Mr. Anastasiades today refers to the letters he sends to the UN Secretary-General to persuade us that he is ready to resume the talks from where they had remained at Crans Montana and on the basis of the Guterres Framework. To convince us that he is indeed doing so, he leaked his last letter to the Secretary-General.
Both this, as well as his previous public statements, completely refute him. He says he accepts the Guterres Framework but he is seeking to reopen for discussion closed – according to the UN Secretary-General – chapters. He proposes new ideas which he has not explained to date, such as decentralized federation. He puts forward proposals that were discussed and rejected by his very own negotiating Group, such as the proposal for a Parliamentary system.
And while Mr. Anastasiades is experimenting, taking risks and wasting time engaging in tactical games, Turkey is stepping up its actions and attempting to impose new fait accompli that bring us closer to definitive partition.
The prolonged stalemate, as AKEL had predicted, gave Turkey the chance to place the unacceptable demand for a two-state solution at the table.
While they the President and Foreign Minister were telling us that they have shielded the EEZ, that we had adequate and effective mechanisms to prevent Turkey’s actions in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), that Turkey could not proceed to drillings what do we observe? Turkey is proceeding to drillings with three ships, while the sanctions announced by the European Union are not only ineffective but also fall well short of the expectations and declarations of the Anastasiades government and the Foreign Minister’s statements.
At the same time, Turkey’s machinations on Famagusta pose enormous dangers. The actions of our side should be aimed at ending Turkey’s actions and resuming negotiations. We are very worried that the handlings and developments so far anything but lead us there.
We call on Mr. Anastasiades to comprehend the realities. We are not at the eleventh hour. We’ve already passed it.
If Cyprus is not reunited it will be Turkified.
If Turkey is left undisturbed to colonize and fill half of our country with troops, it will soon want to expand to the other half.
In this case, neither the handshakes of the trilateral meetings between Greece, Cyprus, and Israel nor the casinos and policy of constructing towers, will save us.
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will only be able to count on the future if it is safeguarded that they will live it together within the context of a solution.
A solution that will restore the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus.
A solution that will be based on the United Nations resolutions, the High Level-Agreements, International and European Law.
A solution that will demilitarize Cyprus and exclude any guarantees or intervention rights in the internal affairs of our country by any foreign powers.
A solution that will reunite the land, the people, the institutions and the economy within the framework of a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality as described in the United Nations.
A solution leading to a united state, a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus.
I often wonder whether the political spectrum that created the Cyprus problem will manage or wants to solve it.
If the political section which created the Cyprus problem remembers that it was damning the views of AKEL in the 1950s and eventually led us to the Zurich agreements.
If it remembers that it was condemning the views of AKEL in the 1960s and plunged our country into the bloodshed of the bi-communal clashes.
If it remembers that it was cursing the views of AKEL in the 1970s, taking up arms to impose its own views, driving half of Cyprus to destruction, filling the other half with refugees.
If it were to draw some lesson from the modern history of the country, then it owes a symbolic apology to our people for the pain and suffering it has caused with its ideological obsessions, fanaticism, and petty-sectional interests, to work with sincerity and consistency for the salvation of Cyprus. If not, it should remember that History always makes an appraisal and we will all eventually be judged for our actions.
Above all, it must remember that opposing it is a voice with thousands of people who cannot and do not want to forget.
All of these people who for four decades keep as a precious object the key to their house that awaits them.
The people watering the pictures of their beloved ones with their tears so that time won’t fade them away.
The people who remember the Kalashnikovs of the coupists turned against them, the land rovers of the coupists that came to arrest them, the prisons they were thrown in, the torture they had suffered and the blood that was shed.
They remember the betrayal.
They do not forget the crime committed.
They envision another future for this country.
This voice is our own voice.
It is the voice of AKEL!
It is the human river of thousands of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who are not going to yield! Who is dreaming of a peaceful and reunited Cyprus!
It is the voice that is shouting out loud here tonight!
We want Cyprus reunited!
We want justice, peace, and friendship!
We want our lives back!
We want our Homeland which they sold out and the lands they set foot on back!
It is the voice of AKEL that is shouting every year more loudly: Cyprus belongs to its people!
Long live the unwavering Cypriot people!