Update

CYPRUS RALLIES 2014

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BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT FOR CYPRUS REUNIFICATION

Federal Parliament passes motion by Maria Vamvakinou, reaffirming its support for a fair and just resolution to the Cyprus problem

21 Jul 2014 – Neos Kosmos Newspaper

HELEN VELISSARIS

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As the world prepares to mark the 40th anniversary of the Cyprus invasion by Turkey, Australia has reaffirmed its position, calling for the demilitarisation and reunification of the island.

Greek Australian MP Maria Vamvakinou spearheaded a motion in Federal Parliament this week, calling for bi-partisan support in aiding peace processes for the reunification of Cyprus.

The motion was passed without debate, with Labor MP Anthony Albanese and Liberal MP Matthew Williams showing their support in parliament.

“We’ve secured ongoing continuing bi-partisan support both from the government member, Matt Williams who spoke, and our side, that we continue to support a resolution for Cyprus,” Ms Vamvakinou told Neos Kosmos.

Flying to Cyprus this weekend, Ms Vamvakinou will be in the country to witness anniversary commemorations, while also reiterating Australia’s support.
She believes peace is at its final stages, and is hopeful for a workable resolution that will benefit both parties.

“I think a resolution is achievable, and I think all the work that’s been done brings the situation to a point where it just needs one final push.”

That final push is down to the political sides of the Greek and Turkish run Cyprus reaching an agreement.

Recently there has been growing internal and international support for the reunification.

Both interfaith leaders, Greek Archbishop Chrysostomos and the Mufti of the Turkish Cypriots, Dr Talip Atalay, have voiced their views that Cyprus would benefit being reunited.

US vice-president Joe Biden said in his recent visit to Cyprus that “peace should be the Cypriots’ legacy to their children”.

But after 40 years of no solution, many have abandoned the idea that Cypriots will live in a unified country.

“It’s been painstakingly slow at a political level,” Ms Vamvakinou says.

Australia plays a vital role in showing that both sides can live harmoniously thanks to its migration legacy.

Thousands of Turkish and Greek Cypriots live side by side all around Australia, with more than 22,000 Australians tracing Cypriot ancestry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia has been aided by the migration of Cypriot Greeks for years.

“Successive waves of newcomers eager for a better life, including many of Cypriot and Greek heritage, have enriched our culture and added a heroic dimension to our national story,” he said in a message to the community through Neos Kosmos.

MP Anthony Albanese, who supported the motion, said in his constituency of Grayndler he sees Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots living in harmony.

“The Cyprus Community Club in my electorate has brought together people of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot backgrounds to recognise the cultural benefit that comes from mutual respect and understanding,” he said in his speech.

Ms Vamvakinou has seen that first hand in Cyprus, with divided communities uniting under the Cypriot flag and promoting a unified identity.

“I’ve met with people from the other side, the Turkish Cypriots, and one of the things that struck me always was that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots
have a lot of things in common,” she says.

“They are Cypriots, pushing that citizenship and identity is really important.”

Currently the Australian Federal Police is taking on its 50th year stationed at the buffer zone, serving continuously as part of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus.

The AFP has had thousands of officers stationed in Cyprus, with three policemen, Sergeant Llewelyn John Thomas, Inspector Patrick Hackett and Sergeant Ian Donald Ward tragically losing their lives alongside 181 other peacekeepers in their role.

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STILL OCCUPIED, 40 YEARS ON

Greek Australian Cypriots will march all around the country to mark the 40 year anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

18 Jul 2014 – Neos Kosmos Newspaper

For many Greek Cypriots living in Australia, the wounds created by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus have never healed.
40 years on, and Cyprus is still occupied and divided. Greeks who had homes in the Turkish occupied part of the island have no way of knowing if their fig tree still blooms, if the walls still hold their family photos, or if their grandparents graves aren’t overgrown.

Over a third of Cyprus’ population was forcibly removed in 1974 and almost 300,000 settlers from Turkey were brought over to colonise the area.
Houses were taken, business gutted new buildings built to house a Turkish community on Greek land.

The illegal sale of property and land owned by Greek Cypriots still continues today.

Small reprieves over the years to let Greeks through to the 37 per cent of the land now in Turkish hands have created more bad memories than put people’s minds at rest.

For many Australian Cypriots who settled in Australia after the invasion, they have never returned to their homes. Their passion is still as strong as it was 40 years ago, and this weekend, and throughout next week, thousands will take to the streets to protest against the illegal occupation.

Most major cities will be hosting events, with the Secretary of the Council of Ministers of Cyprus, Theodosis A. Tsiolas and the High Commissioner of Cyprus to Australia Ioanna Malliotis attending most events around the country.

Commemorations started in Melbourne on Thursday, with young and old braving the icy and rainy weather to stand vigil outside the Turkish Consulate, demanding an end to the occupation and the withdrawal of troops.

Last night, a sombre group gathered to host a candlelight vigil and human chain outside the Parliament of Victoria, aiming to remind the government of the plight of Cyprus.

A supper was also held in the memory of the Cypriot refugees who were forced to leave their homes.

Sunday 20 July marks the day of the invasion, and Melbourne and Western Australia will both host a church service, with WA continuing on to a wreath laying service and Melbourne organising a city march to the steps of Parliament.

Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney will follow on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday respectively, hosting their own vigils with Mr Tsiolas and Ms Malliotis attending.

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THOUSANDS RALLY FOR CYPRUS

Candlelight vigils, protest marches and church services marked the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. States will continue this week to remember victims and call for a peaceful solution.

21 Jul 2014 – Neos Kosmos Newspaper

Marking the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus on the weekend, thousands of Cypriot Australians marched calling for the demilitarization and reunification of the island.

In Victoria, commemorations started earlier in the week, with a small group of Cypriots standing outside the Turkish Consulate of Melbourne with signs calling for Turkish troops to exit Cypriot land.

Friday saw a sombre group gather to host a candlelight vigil and human chain outside the Parliament of Victoria, aiming to remind the government of the plight of Cyprus.

A supper was also held in the memory of the Cypriot refugees who were forced to leave their homes.

On the day of the anniversary, both Melbourne and Western Australia held church services and commemorations.

Melbourne Cypriots took to the streets and marched from the Lonsdale Street Greek precinct to the steps of the Victorian parliament, many holding photos of their loved ones who were killed or are still missing from the invasion.

Speaking at the service was the Secretary of the Council of Ministers of Cyprus, Theodosis A. Tsiolas, the High Commissioner of Cyprus to Australia, Ioanna Maliotis, the Consul General of Greece to Melbourne, Christina Simantirakis and the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria’s president, Bill Papastergiadis.

Perth also marked the anniversary with a wreath laying service at the war memorial in Kings Park, hosted by the Cypriot Community of Western Australia.
Events are yet to be hosted in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, which will continue commemorations this week.

Adelaide:
Wednesday 23 July:
7.00 pm: Commemorative service at the Cypriot community of South Australia, 8 Barrpowell St, Welland, SA, with Theodosis A. Tsiolas and Ioanna Malliotis to attend.

Brisbane:
Friday 25 July:
6.00 pm: Church service at Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George
Followed by laying of wreaths and commemorative reception at Cyprus House, 2 Vulture Street, West End, QLD.
Mr Theodosis A. Tsiolas and Mrs Ioanna Malliotis will address the crowd.

Sydney:
Sunday 27 July:
10.00 am: Memorial service at Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Redfern
Theodosis A. Tsiolas to meet with Archbishop Stylianos
1.30 pm: Wreath laying at Martin Place, followed by protest march through George Street
3.30 pm: Speeches and cultural program by the Cypriot Community of Sydney and NSW

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One comment

  1. Reunification means equality on all fronts. Until you want this, you can forget it.

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