Cyprus Apologizes to Greece for 1974 Friendly Fire Commando Killings

October 4, 2016

NICOSIA – Cyprus apologized to Greece on Oct. 4 as it handed over the remains of 16 Greek commandos who were killed by “friendly fire” during Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the island.

The soldiers were on board a French-built Noratlas transport aircraft that was headed to Nicosia airport to reinforce the Greek Cypriot National Guard when it was mistaken for a Turkish bomber and shot down.

Of the 32 people on board, just one survived.

During the fog of battle in the unlawful invasion that saw Turkish troops occupy the still-held northern third of the island, the bodies of 15 of the commandos were buried in a mass grave inside the aircraft.

The Cyprus government launched a search for the gravesite in February 2014 after the families of two of the dead appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

It was located in August last year and a painstaking 14-month exhumation operation ensued to recover the remains.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades apologized both for the anti-aircraft fire that killed the soldiers and for the decades of delay in returning their bodies, Agence France Presse reported.

“For mistakes made by the Cypriot state I must express my deepest apology to all those hurt,” Anastasiades said at a memorial ceremony in Nicosia. He said it was an “unforgivable mistake made in the confusion of battle.”

The bodies of 16 of the dead were recovered later and buried in a military cemetery outside Nicosia and remains taken back to Greece in 1979 but some were misidentified in an embarrassing mixup.

The remains of one of those wrongly identified were handed over together with those of the 15 exhumed this year, AFP said.



NICOSIA — The governments of eight European Union member states said Friday the situation in Syria should be re-evaluated to allow for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees back to their homeland.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Sour Patch Kids Oreos? Peeps Pepsi? What’s Behind the Weird Flavors Popping Up on Store Shelves

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream usually draws customers with gourmet takes on classics like vanilla and pistachio.

Artificial Intelligence will provide us with one surprise – hopefully mainly good ones – after another far into the future, but for some people, especially writers and readers of science fiction, some of the news will be old news.

NEW YORK – Teatro Grattacielo presents The Young Artists Series: G.

NEW YORK – Effie Lazaridou, CEO of New Agriculture New Generation (NANG), spoke with The National Herald about the organization which she has led since it began in 2018 and which aims to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people in the agrifood industry in Greece.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  — Haiti’s main international airport reopened Monday for the first time in nearly three months after relentless gang violence forced authorities to close it.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.