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The 47th Grim Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus Commemorated

NEW YORK – The victims of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus were remembered again this year by PSEKA (International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus), with a memorial prayer and the annual commemoration event, held at the community of St. Nicholas in Flushing on July 11.

In their remarks on the 47th anniversary of the tragic events of 1974, the consequences of which still continue on in Cyprus to this day, the speakers focused on the need to preserve the historical memory, in conjunction with the need to intensify efforts for a just solution to the Cyprus problem despite the obstacles raised by Turkish intransigence and aggression over time.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, who presided over the memorial service, made extensive reference to the need to preserve the historical memory, emphasizing that the slogan “Never forget" does not have the character of resentment and desire for revenge, but is a timeless duty to honor the dead, as well as a didactic reminder of the mistakes of that time and the sufferings of war.

"We have been seeing and saying the slogan ‘Never forget' for so many years. It is not a threat to anyone. It is not a warning for revenge. It's a duty to remember. A duty to our dead, but also a duty to remember and avoid mistakes in the future. It is also a reminder to find a sustainable solution that will not be a source of new problems and unrest. It does not differ at all from ‘memory eternal,’ noted Archbishop Elpidophoros, who also recalled the coincidence of the date of the anniversary of the invasion with the corresponding one of the conversion of Aghia Sophia into a mosque.

The commemoration continued in the community’s Sarantakos Hall with a screening of a short documentary which included testimonies of people who lived through the uprooting and atrocities of the Turkish invaders against the Greek Cypriots. The coordinator of the program was Nicholas Karacostas, who thanked the attendees and emphasized the special symbolic significance of the event.

Federation of Cypriot American Organization President Kyriacos Papastylianou expressed his concern about the course of the Cyprus problem, calling on the Greek community to support the efforts to effectively promote the issue in Congress and at the center of the governmental decision-making process.

"After 47 years, not only are we not improving, but we are also seeing a worsening of the problem. We recently heard about the opening of the seaside town of Varosha. We all, more or less, know what the result will be. We must continue to fight and keep the Cyprus issue a priority," said Papastylianou.

PSEKA President Philip Christopher recalled the commitments and the generally supportive attitude of the current U.S. President, Joe Biden, in the just request for a fair solution to the Cyprus problem since his time as a senator from Delaware. Nevertheless, he appeared concerned about the reflexes of U.S. foreign policy on Turkey's aggressive moves.

"We have high hopes for the fact that President Biden has given us so many promises, he has been present at demonstrations. We have always hoped that we will elect a president who knows the Cyprus issue. It is early and I still have hopes that he will keep his promises. No one is more outraged than I am,” said Christopher.

Consul General of Greece in New York Dr. Konstantinos Koutras drew attention to Turkey's multilevel aggressive policy, warning that in addition to intransigence, it is trying to impose itself in other areas, falsifying, among other things, history, in the critical developments that are coming.

"The coming months are conceiving further developments, especially here in New York, from the autumn, but maybe also from the end of July. The European Union has sent a clear message in all directions and especially to Turkey in view of Erdogan's illegal visit to the occupied, martyred, blood-stained territories: 'The EU will never accept a two-state solution for Cyprus.’ And in order for the solution to be meaningful, otherwise we would be talking – simply – about a patch, the system of guarantees and occupation troops must finally be put aside," said Koutras.

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus to the UN Andreas Hadjichrysanthou pointed out that the Cyprus issue is entering a critical turning point, also emphasizing that he expected a more relentless stance from the Secretary General of the UN towards the uncontrollable attitude of Turkey and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"The Secretary General’s references in his latest report do not send the message that would deter Mr. Erdogan from proceeding with what he intends to do on July 20," said Hadjichrysanthou, adding that the Cypriot government is aware of the actions required.

Finally, Greek-Cypriot New York State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, noted that "justice for Cyprus" should be at the forefront of the country's politics, since state and federal representatives value justice as a top priority for a wide a number of socio-political issues.

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