South Cyprus Minister of Defence, Photis Photiou, speaking at the memorial service for reservist Second Lieutenant Demetris Stavros, who was killed during the 1974 Turkish peace mission and was missing until his remains were found in 2001, said acts of heroism and bravery have not been vindicated for the past 39 years.
He added that despite intense challenges, President Anastasiades was clear about his government’s intentions to restart the peace talks as soon as possible.
“Through substantive and well-prepared negotiations, we are aiming to create an atmosphere of domestic consensus, to overcome obstacles which led the talks in the past to a deadlock. He accused Turkey of intransigence and continued saying; “Despite that, we are daring to promote proposals that in our opinion will cause speculation and could prove to be a catalyst in the process. And we must dare because this is the only way to find a way out,” he said.
Photiou added that “we must have a vision, because this is the only way to fight for a solution that will not legalise Turkey’s occupation but will lift the consequences, will not be based on the violation of our rights but the securing of the fundamental freedoms of our people, a solution that will bring about the unity of the our state, without barbed wire and divisions.”
The Minister called on all those who are really interested in a just and viable solution in Cyprus to address themselves to Ankara and exert pressure towards a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country.
He stressed that the Cyprus issue is a matter of invasion and occupation of an independent state by Turkey.
Photiou said that “unfortunately, although we are at the stage of intensive preparation, Turkey is maintaining a suspicious stance, insisting on obsolete practices and demands that would lead to the recognition of the consequences of the invasion.”
“Instead of the natural conciliatory approach, Turkey is demonstrating its military power as a means to impose unacceptable positions. It is demanding the recognition of the pseudostate through treacherous designs, and is dynamiting peace and security in the broader region. It is sending the message that any proposals by the Republic of Cyprus cannot be accepted, and is putting forward its own war crimes from the invasion and occupation, as `realities` on our island,” he said.
Photiou pointed out that “such unacceptable approaches have no place in a sincere effort but on the contrary create problems and lay mines for the upcoming efforts, and obstruct the reasonable and feasible initiatives of our side, and send pessimistic messages to the people.”