The Minister of National Defence Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos talked in private with the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Charalambos Petridis, in the context of his visit to Cyprus on Monday 20 July 2020.
Following that the Delegations met at the office of the Minister of Defence of Cyprus in Nicosia and then Mr Panagiotopoulos made the following statement:
NIKOLAOS PANAGIOTOPOULOS: “Today I am in Cyprus to represent the Hellenic Government, to pay tribute, with deep respect and national emotion, to the heroes who fell fighting for Faith and Homeland. Greece bows today before the memory of all the children of Hellenism, Cypriots and Greeks, who fought bravely, heroically and with self-sacrifice, for the highest ideal, that of Freedom.
We honour the Heroes who fought against the intruder, the dead, the wounded and the fighters who resisted the atrocity and brutality of “Attila” to keep Cyprus free.
Their sacrifice constitutes, for all of us, a reason to be on guard, but also to systematically and earnestly strive for their Fight’s vindication.
In today’s meeting with the new Minister of Defence of Cyprus, Mr Charalambos Petridis, on a day of particular significance for the collective memory of Greece and Cyprus, we ascertained the common goal which we have set for the national rights and the strategy for their effective protection.
It is a strategy which bears fruit at a European Union level, as well as at the level of the alliances which we jointly establish or strive to establish, in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond, through trilateral and multilateral schemes.
Nowadays, Turkey continues to demonstrate a violating and provocative stance.
We monitor closely and with great concern the illegal Turkish actions which contravene the International Law, at the Exclusive Economic Zone and Territorial Waters delimitated by the Republic of Cyprus. We condemn the destabilising actions of Ankara, which on one hand constitute a blatant violation of the sovereign rights of a Member-State of the European Union, meaning the Republic of Cyprus and on the other hand constitute a great test of the reliability of the European Union’s deterrence capabilities and of its capability to safeguard our common interests, energy and political ones, in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is a fact that Turkey’s revisionist stance has become much more aggressive and provocative against Greece and Cyprus, a fact impressed in its illegal activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, as well as the signing with the Government of National Accord of Libya (GNA) of the military cooperation “Memoranda of Understanding” as well as the delimitation of sea zones in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara’s provocative decision to turn Hagia Sofia into a mosque, a decision which offends its ecumenical character, as a monument and property of the world’s civilisation is part of this provocative context and it is one more proof to those who continue to turn a blind eye, regarding the provocative and revisionist stance of a country, which deservedly asserts itself as the agitator of the region.
The Turkish misconduct requires maximum alertness and cooperation for the securing of territorial integrity and sovereign rights.
The preservation of peace in this geographical region constitutes a primary and strategic goal for the security and well-being of Hellenism. Greece and Cyprus take initiatives in order to promote peace and stability in the region and restrict Turkey’s destabilising role. In the field of defence diplomacy, a policy is exercised based on principles and positions regarding the establishment of regional cooperations with Greece and Cyprus at the epicentre, along with the building of mutual trust relations.
Greece retains a steadfast stance and has established its Defence and Security strategy, appealing on international legality. We are resolute in the protection of our sovereignty and sovereign rights, but also the national interests of our country as well as of the Cypriot Hellenism.
Besides, Cyprus and Greece, with unbroken national unity, jointly face and will continue to face the constant challenges on the issues of defence and security.
As the Minister of National Defence I would like to assure you that we will follow through with our bilateral defence cooperation and we will expand it even more, since it constitutes the basis for the strengthening of our brotherly and strategic relation between Greece and Cyprus, as well as the development of wider regional cooperations, moving on together as the countries eminently playing the role of security, stability and regional cooperation factors in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Finally, I would like to express everyone’s pride for the presence of the Hellenic Force in Cyprus, which, through its constantly high professional and national readiness, demonstrates in the most prominent way, that Greece has been, currently is and will always be at the side of Cyprus.
It stands by its side supporting its fight to end the occupation and its consequences and to find a fair, viable and functional solution for the Cyprus issue, without deviating from international and European principles and values, with full sovereignty, complete independence and territorial integrity.