We honor today the memory of Antonis Andronikou. A true hero of our homeland who sacrificed the most precious thing people have – his very life for the ideals of Democracy and Freedom.
Antonis Andronikou was a humble man like everyone else. He married his beloved Maria and had six children with her. Antonis Andronikou had dreams for the future. He worked hard to make ends meet for his family. He was respected by those who knew him and was always willing to help others.
Antonis Andronikou did not become a hero for the life he lived.
He became a hero for the path he chose to take.
The period before the 15th July 1974 fascist coup was a turbulent one. The underground armed EOKA B organisation created a tense climate to pave the way for the betrayal of the coup d’état. The stealing of arms and weapons from military camps, fanaticism, brutality, beatings, abuse and vilifications of democratic forces, all foretold that it wouldn’t be too long before the Greek Junta and EOKA B would execute the orders of their foreign masters.
The crime committed against our country and people was not some unfortunate circumstance. The crime committed was indeed deliberate. It was the culmination of the treacherous conspiracy planned at NATO headquarters.
It was the culmination of the actions of the far-right and chauvinist circles, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. Unfortunately, despite the brave resistance put up by the Cypriot people, and the superhuman efforts of our heroes, the evil plans of those who ordered the crime against Cyprus were implemented.
Antonis Andronikou became a hero because he chose to bravely defend legality and democracy; because he chose to take the honorable path of resistance and struggle. He sacrificed his life for that. The thugs of EOKA B kidnapped him on the 10th December 1973. Three days later he was found dead, his body riddled by bullets. His killers, who killed others too, never paid for their crimes.
Antonis’ killers may never have been tried.
However, they were condemned by the lament of the black-clad mothers, by the rage of those who were left behind and suffered the bitter consequences of the war with our people turned into refugees.
To this day they are condemned in the conscience of every Cypriot patriot who, looking at the Pendadaktylos mountain range, utters “shame on those who betrayed our homeland.
They are condemned in our consciousness at a time when the missing persons are handed to us with their remains in a small box; at a time when the refugees are one by one passing away in the refugee settlements.
The treacherous coup d’état opened the back door for the Turkish Army
Forty-five years later, we are burying and paying tribute to our dead.
Forty-five years later, we are still suffering from the tragic consequences of that black summer of July 1974.
The only way for our country to have a future is through an honest compromise that is envisaged by the agreed framework for the solution of the Cyprus problem. We do not want and will not resign ourselves to the……imperialism. What we are seeking is an honest compromise with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots.
We want the next generations to live in our country in peace, in a secure environment, with their human rights and fundamental freedoms safeguarded.
Cyprus will be saved if we can reach a solution that will free us …….within the framework of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution that will guarantee and safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriot citizens.
A solution 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 our country’s internal affairs from foreign powers.
A solution that will reunite the territory, the people, the institutions and the economy within a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality as outlined in the UN texts.
A solution that will lead to a united state, a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus.
We assess the fact that at the recent meeting in Berlin the sought goal of the solution was reaffirmed before the UN Secretary-General as positive. We also welcome the fact that the basis for the talks, the terms of reference, will consist of the Joint Declaration of 11th February 2014, the convergences recorded to date and the UN Secretary-General’s Framework of 30th June. .
This was the best answer to all those who flirted with other ideas and other paths. Because of that, two and a half precious years have been lost from Crans Montana until today. The two leaders must now act with consistency and determination. They should take initiatives and address the people with sincerity. The people are tired of being disappointed, and have become desperate waiting for a solution.
We have never claimed that the road to resolving the Cyprus problem will be paved with rose petals. It will be a very difficult road. This demands continuity and consistency, as well as a clear mind, free from obsessions and expediencies. Determination and a clear goal is demanded. But it is a path that we need to take if we are to vindicate the sacrifice of our heroes; if we want to vindicate the sacrifice of Antonis and all of our Heroes.
May the memory of Antonis Andronikou live on forever.
Let’s vindicate his sacrifice.