Minister of National Defence Attends 111th Anniversary of Liberation of Ioannina

February 22, 2024

On 21 Tuesday 2024, the Minister of National Defence, Nikos Dendias, represented the Government in the celebrations in Ioannina, held for the 111th anniversary of the city’s Liberation.

Mr. Dendias greeted Her Excellence, the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at the Metropolitan Church of St. Athanasios, where the doxology was officiated by His Eminence, the Metropolitan of Ioannina, Mr. Maximos.

Subsequently, the Minister of National Defence went to the Headquarters of the 8th Motorised Brigade, where the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou laid a wreath at the monument to the Heroes of the Battle of Bizani.

Next, Mr. Dendias attended the parade of civilian organisations and military troops, while also in attendance were: the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Konstantinos Tasoulas, the leaders of the political parties “Spartiates” and “NIKI”, Vasilios Stigkas and Dimitrios Natsios, respectively, the Deputy Minister of Social Cohesion and Family Maria Kefala, the Vice-Chair of the Group of the European People’s Party Evangelos Meimarakis, MP Ioannis – Panaghiotis Tsimaris, the Head of the Region of Epirus Alexandros Kachrimanis, and the Mayor of Ioannina Thomas Bengas.

On the part of the military leadership, the celebration was also attended by the Chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Dimitrios Choupis.

Also in attendance were representatives of the Security Forces and the regional and local government.

After the parade Mr. Dendias stated:

I feel great joy and honour to be here in Ioannina, today, 111 years after the city’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke. I would like to say that February 21st 1913 is a landmark date for Greek history. It sealed victory for the Greek Army in the Balkan Wars and sealed the incorporation of Epirus into the Greek State.

I would also like to say that this victory had a broader importance. It strengthened national morale, created a greater Greece. Today we honour those who fought and fell in order to achieve this victory, to liberate Ioannina.

However, each anniversary matters only if we perceive it in its contemporary, broader context. Today’s anniversary, therefore, gives us an opportunity to consider the great geopolitical importance of Epirus. Epirus, from antiquity to our days, has been a gateway of people and trade, from and to the west, and, due to Greece’s accession to the great European family, stands today as the most important gateway to the East.

Greece, as you know, is a country, which has always stood steadfast in favour of the European perspective of the Western Balkans. I speak in particular of neighbouring Albania, which however must always bear in mind, in its attempt to join the European Family, the obligation to observe the acquis communautaire.

Concluding, I would like to say that the liberation of Ioannina should not remain a mere historical memory. It should give meaning to the path followed by Epirus, a path chequered by many successes to this day, for a brighter, European future.

Let me tell you, as a Corfiot, and thus a friend and neighbour of Epirus, that it is a great joy to observe this future taking shape before our eyes.

Thank you very much”.