Dear people of Morphou,
It has been 45 years since 1974, a year when the double crime of coup and Turkish invasion has marked the fate of all Cypriots. But we are here again to claim the obvious: to return to our ancestral homes and restore our human rights.
I do not know what has gone wrong. I am very sorry for the lethargy and convenience that many have accepted, on the pretext of the development of the free area of Cyprus, forgetting that our country consists of not only the divided city of Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos and Larnaca, but also Kyrenia, Famagusta and Morphou. We underestimate that if we do not finally resolve our national problem, the dangers that are visible today will increase and exacerbate in the future.
Last year I had pointed out that: “The present situation should never be allowed to perpetuate because it cannot continue as it is. The sooner we all realize that a non-solution should not be our choice and that the fate that awaits us is much worse if the current situation continues, the more likely we are to resolve the Cyprus issue, the more likely we are to reunite our country and to save the Republic of Cyprus”.
However, unfortunately another year has gone. In the last 12 months, since last year’s anti-occupation rally, we painfully realize that all these years have only served the purposes of the occupying forces. The perpetuation of the problem and the creation of fait accompli of the invasion are the only elements reinforced by the stagnation of the last year in Cyprus.
At the same time, messages coming from everywhere do not leave us be optimistic for the day after. The resumption of talks is uncertain. The renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate, for the first time in half a century, is also uncertain. Therefore, the future of this place, Mr. President and dear friends, is at best uncertain.
I am sorry, Mr. President, but I have to say that we are already near to accept partition. We may all officially declare that we will never agree to sign such a solution, but our inaction and passive attitude is equivalent, if not worse, to a bad solution.
It’s been 46 years already! Refugees bear their cross for 46 years! People, who were proud and with dignity before 1974, have suffered the consequences of the invasion for the last 46 years. Some of them have long lived in conditions of economic deprivation, even though they may have properties worth thousands or even millions of euros in the occupied area.
Unfortunately, even in this distressed place, we have chosen to maintain two classes of people for years. While some of the land acquired goodwill after 1974 and some have lived richly, others have remained helpless for years and watch their fortune being exploited by others. All they received during these years was promises of better days.
We are here today to reclaim what is ours! We are here to declare our desire to return to our occupied city! We all want to finally return to our beloved Morphou, the port of Kyrenia, to the beaches of Famagusta! Refugees, as well as all Cypriot citizens, are ready to continue the struggle until the day of return. We have the will. But what we need right now is a glimmer of hope, and that is the continuation of negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem.
This is what is needed to be able to find the strength to continue the effort and struggle we began 46 years ago.
We recognize the difficulties that exist, and we know that Turkey’s intransigent attitude is an obstacle to the continuation of talks. However, our side has a duty to continue the effort and to insist on resuming the dialogue since unfortunately, only in this way will we keep the hope of a solution to the Cyprus problem alive. We should seize the opportunity as long as there are still NGOs, who want the solution.
Dear friends, in the future, we cannot wait for the change to happen by international conventions or for Turkey to change a policy that has been in place for half a century, perhaps longer. This is our duty! We must declare everywhere our desire for a solution to the Cyprus problem and our readiness to engage in talks aimed at reaching a strategic agreement that can lead to a viable and fair solution to the Cyprus problem. A solution based on European Union principles and UN resolutions.
At this point, I would like to thank you all for being here, and especially His Excellency the President of the Republic of Cyprus and wish once again that this is the last year we come to the Astromeritis. I want to believe that next year we will be able to host this event to our beloved Morphou in a joyful event.
Finally, I would like to welcome the delegations from the Greek Parliament, the twin Municipalities of Malta’s Zuriek, France’s Saint Cyr Sur Loire, Barnet of Great Britain, Kalavrita, Syros, the Holy City of Mesolongi, Sparta and Sparta and Nea Orestiada as well as the honourable citizens Kyriakos Virvidakis and Panagiotis Kontos.
I also welcome all members of the Association of overseas of Morphou of Great Britain, who have travelled to Cyprus for another year to unite their voice with us for the liberation of Morphou.
As Mayor and Municipal Council, we would like to assure you that even though 44 years have passed, we are not tired yet! We’re not going to stop the struggle! We will continue as long as we need to fight and claim the restoration of our rights.
We ask for your support and your active participation in our struggle, because with collective effort, the time we can all return to our beloved city cannot be far off.
Mayor of Morphou