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21 July, 2000
Greece's political leadership continued to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Turkey's invasion of northern Cyprus on Thursday with statements condemning the on-going occupation and division of the island republic.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, speaking during the regular press briefing, said that the international community, at a time when problems were being solved in various areas, was morally obliged to provide a solution for Cyprus.
"It is shameful for Europe that this situation exists on Cyprus," he said and underlined that Greece would always support and assist Cyprus' struggle for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the decisions of the United Nations and international agencies.
Reppas also confirmed rumors that Turkish military aircraft had violated Greek airspace recently and that the Greek ambassador in Ankara would be lodging a demarche with the Turkish government.
The spokesman described the incident as "unacceptable, especially since it occurs during the informal summer moratorium (on military exercises in the Aegean)."
Greece, he added, would not follow Turkey down this path of bad behavior but would be on alert to deal with these sort of challenges.
Reppas said that the country's policy regarding Turkey would remain the same as in recent years, adding that it had so far benefited Greece.
Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis also referred to the Cyprus problem on Thursday, during a meeting with officers of the Greek Airforce's War Academy, saying that the efforts by Greece and Cyprus for Cyprus' accession to the EU would strengthen the island republic's position internationally and create the right conditions for "restoring international legality."
"The decisions of the [UN] Security Council for a unified and undivided Cyprus Republic, relieved of occupation forces and settlers, must be implemented in order to ensure the harmonious co-existence of Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, who have also had to suffer the consequences of occupation and been forced to abandon their homes," he said.
The anniversary was also commemorated by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with a press release on Thursday, which questions the direction of attempts toward a solution.
"Twenty-six years after the invasion - with the support of the US and NATO - by Turkish occupation forces on Cyprus, the Cyprus problem is heading toward a final - and institutional - burial, with many-sided and possibly unpredictable negative consequences for peace in the wider region. This is where things have been led by the plans of the US and the leading forces of the EU, and not just Turkish intransigency as the Greek government claims."
Statements to commemorate the anniversary had also been issued on Wednesday by New Democracy, the Coalition of the Left and Progress and the Democratic Social Movement.
Source: Athens News Agency