NICOSIA – With unity talks in flux, Cyprus celebrated its Independence Day Oct. 1 as President Nicos Anastasiades said peace will take courage.
Anastasiades, who has been negotiating with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci for 17 months over potential terms to bring together the island divided since an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974, said after a parade marking the 56th anniversary of freedom that, “What we need is to focus our attention not on defence or any other plans, equipment and so on, but to equip ourselves with courage to find… the way of peace,” the Cyprus Mail said.
Also attending was Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is questioning the 1923 Lausanne Treaty that set the Greek-Turkish borders and with the Turkish leader having the last word in the Cyprus unity talks and warning he won’t remove a 30,000-strong army in the unlawfully occupied northern third.
“Only through peace we can hope for better days,” Anastasiades said, while Kammenos – whose country, along with the UK and Turkey is a guarantor for the island – said that, “Cyprus is a modern European state that requires neither mediators nor guarantors,”.
A religious service was held at the graves within the prison where the President laid a wreath in honor of the 13 fighters of the 1955-1959 liberation struggle (EOKA) against the British rule, who are buried there.
He also laid a wreath at the Presidential Palace at the statue of Archbishop Makarios III, the first President of the Republic of Cyprus.