“Cyprus is the sentiment of our adolescence, our politicisation. It is the sense that we always need to apologize for the crimes committed by certain people who called themselves Greeks but were not Greeks. They were yes-men.”
Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’ address at the ambassadorial residence in Nicosia (25 March 2017)
“Your Beatitude, I want to thank you for inviting me to be here in Cyprus — an invitation that serves as a reminder that Greece and Cyprus linked their struggle for national liberation with the spirit, the assistance, the support and the solidarity of the Church.
My dear friend the Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides, with whom we are establishing trilateral cooperation schemes with other countries, shaping a network of security and stability in the Mediterranean.
Dear leaders of the political parties of Cyprus, Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Fotopoulos.
What our country needs today, what Cyprus needs, what we need together as we strive for a just, viable solution to the Cyprus problem, is unity, is the potential and capability to see beyond the end of our nose. To see the future and have the right to dream that it is what corresponds to the yearnings of our peoples. We have to conscientiously pursue what is right and just, not only for us, but for others as well. We have to fight consistently for all Greek Cypriots to feel the greatest possible security on the island of Cyprus, but the Turkish Cypriots and the three small minorities on Cyprus must also have the maximum possible rights.
I remind you that the national revolution of 1821 succeeded because it was connected with an international movement of solidarity. And that makes it incumbent upon us, the Foreign Ministers, to make sure they understand us. The poet said that what is spoken does not suffice; what is heard is also of great importance. What is heard by the foreigners — those we are working with — so that we can have their support and understanding in the battle we are waging.
Cyprus needs a viable and effectively functional solution. Cyprus was always high among our national priorities. I personally tell the story that the first beating I took at a demonstration was, over 50 years ago, at a demonstration over the Cyprus issue, outside a foreign embassy. The Cyprus problem politicised our generation, and it politicised it emotionally. There are some people who cannot perceive this emotional tie with Cyprus. Our generation, which went through the military courts and jail cells of the junta, felt a deep responsibility and fear that the junta was preparing to perpetrate crimes. And of course it isn’t our fault — it isn’t the fault of those who opposed the junta for its crimes — but we will always feel we carry the debt of not having been able to avert the crimes.
Cyprus is the sentiment of our adolescence, our politicisation. It is the sense that we always need to apologize for the crimes committed by certain people who called themselves Greeks but were not Greeks. They were yes-men.
As many people thanked me coming in, I want to repeat: our stance on Cyprus is a debt, a debt of history. It is an emotional, logical and cultural debt. I find it very moving to be here on March 25th and see young Cypriots parade. And that is why I just want to say what I told the journalists: For us, Cyprus is emotion, it is love, it is an apology and a debt. Thank you.”