Message of the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikos Dendias, during an event organized by the Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus on the occasion of the National Anniversary of 25 March 1821 and of 1 April 1955 at the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation

March 29, 2024

On Thursday, 28 March 2024, the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Nikos Dendias, in his message that was read during an event organized by the Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus on the occasion of the National Anniversary of 25 March 1821 and of 1 April 1955 at the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation, stated the following:

Your Beatitude,

Minister of Defence,

Dear honoured guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With a feeling of brotherly love and confidence in the final success of the fight for the freedom of Cyprus, I am addressing to this primordial and living hearth of Hellenism and Orthodoxy on the occasion of the celebration of the National Anniversaries of 25 March 1821 and of 1 April 1955.

Before any other reference, allow me to pay tribute to the fighters for the freedom of Cyprus.

In memoriam of Ethnarch Makarios. In memoriam of several other Cypriot Metropolitan Bishops, Abbots, clergy and laity that were hanged or beheaded during the 1821 Greek War of Independence. In memoriam of all those younger Heroes that gave their lives for the fight for Cyprus’ self-determination and integrity.

I would like to express the same respect and the same patriotic gratitude to the Cypriot and Greek fighters of 1974, who dealt with the invader’s superior military forces, under the weight of the murderous coup.

Sixty-nine years ago, on 1 April 1955, the armed liberation struggle of the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) began, led by Archbishop Makarios, then President of Cyprus.

Greece bows with respect, awe and emotion before the selflessness and heroism of young Cypriot fighters, who gave their lives for this national liberation struggle.

The contribution of the fighters is an inspiration and an example of sustained commitment to the Cyprus case.

Honor and Glory to the nine hanged young men, who are resting at the Imprisoned Graves in Nicosia.

Honor and Glory to our four Heroes from Cyprus, who fell in battle and are resting together with the hanged children of Hellenism at the Imprisoned Graves in Nicosia.

This year marks 203 years since the Greek Revolution of 1821; the most significant event in Modern Greek History. A milestone for the Nation’s rebirth and the establishment of the Modern Greek state.

The Ecumenical Hellenism proudly celebrates this glorious anniversary and honours the memory of the known and unknown heroes of our National Palingenesis.

The Greek Revolution of 1821 relied on the faith, the courage, the determination, let alone the insight of Greek patriots, who were equipped with the sense of their origin, their faith and the long Tradition of the Fights for the Nation’s freedom.

This decisive event for the history of the wider Balkan and Mediterranean region proved that the fighting spirit and the strong will of the people may very well determine its course of history.

Cyprus was involved in this great Struggle. The contribution of Cypriot patriots, of known ones but also of the common people, who fought and sacrificed themselves upon the altar of freedom, was the greatest.

The vision and values that inspired the fighters of the Greek War of Independence remain timeless and always highly relevant. Especially today that we are going through very difficult times.

The morale and the Greek War of Independence is all the more topical for the Cypriot Hellenism, which 50 years after the Turkish invasion, is still experiencing the suffering caused by the military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, the colonisation, the fate of missing and displaced persons.

As regards the Cyprus question, I will repeat the obvious: Cyprus has always been and still is an absolute priority for the Greek state, regardless of the government that is in power.

Once again, I underline the alliance between Greece and Cyprus for our common struggle and a shared goal: to achieve a settlement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. On the basis of UN resolutions, by implementing the EU acquis throughout the entire territory of the Republic of Cyprus. By abolishing a system of guarantees and “rights” of third-party intervention that is anachronistic and unacceptable for a UN and EU sovereign member-state.

As the Greek Government firmly emphasizes, there can be no full normalization of relations between Greece and Turkey, without first settling the Cyprus issue. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should freely agree on their common future, without any interference from the outside that serves the negotiation and the desired solution bad. Far from misleading communication strategies and efforts to scrap the past by misrepresenting the history through narratives and practices contrary to the International Law, for which the invader has been condemned by the International legal order on a number of occasions. Such practices lead negotiations to a dead end and do not contribute towards the jointly declared will to find a comprehensive and mutually accepted solution.

Greece, for its part, will continue to support the UN Secretary General’s efforts, in close cooperation with the Republic of Cyprus and its President, Mr. Nikos Christodoulidis. It is not possible for a European capital, such as Nicosia, of a UN and EU member-state to remain divided for 50 years.

The Republic of Cyprus, a modern welfare state, is a full member of the European Union since 2004. The European involvement and identity strengthen the voice and the presence of Cyprus, as well as the right for strict implementation of the Community acquis throughout the Cyprus territory.

The “Amalthea” initiative for the activation of maritime corridors to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza is tangible proof of the island’s high reliability and geopolitical value. I welcome the Joint Commitment to promote a maritime corridor to Gaza by the Republic of Cyprus, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United States of America. The leadership shown by Cyprus to establish the “Amalthea” Initiative was decisive in rendering this collective effort for the activation of a maritime corridor possible.

Both Greece and Cyprus also played a key role in the recent upgrading of relations between EU and another important country in the region, Egypt. A country which is closely linked to Athens and Nicosia, not only within the framework of EU actions, but also through our strategic bilateral relations and the trilateral and multilateral cooperation schemes in which all three countries participate.

It is a fact that Cyprus and Greece are pillars of stability and security. This close cooperation and brotherly relation between us work to the advantage of the people in the wider region and their peaceful coexistence, always in the context of compliance with the International Law and the Law of the Sea, as well as the good neighborly rules.

The lasting cooperation and full coordination between the governments of both countries in all areas, including defence, is the cornerstone in Greece’s position regarding the Cyprus issue.

Greece currently launches the greatest reform of its Armed Forces as of the establishment of the Modern Greek state, the “2030 Agenda”.

A comprehensive plan that gives emphasis:

  • to a new organizational structure of our Armed Forces;

  • to the use and exploitation of modern weapon systems;

  • to a modern service and reserve model that takes into account our country’s demographic changes;

  • to the development of the domestic defence industry, in order to stop purchasing weapon systems and equipment over the counter.

An agenda that encourages the creation of a defence ecosystem for the development of Innovation and Technology, so that Greece would respond effectively to any form of threat no matter where it comes from. Powerful Greece also means powerful Cyprus.

It goes without saying that all Greek governments are always on the side of the Republic of Cyprus for the reunification of Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

I would like to reiterate that, yet again, Cyprus is not far away.

Greek men and women should learn lessons of national prudence, insight, courage and unity from the Greek Revolution of 1821 and the 1955 uprising, with confidence in our powers and our future.

Today, I would to convey the brotherly love, support and solidarity of every Greek man and woman to you.

And I would like to reaffirm the strong support of the Greek Government, the Greek political forces and all of the Greek people to the Cypriot Hellenism.

Thank you”.