‘Never forget’: Cypriots in NSW mark anniversary of Turkish invasion of Cyprus

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The 49th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus was commemorated in New South Wales with a wreath laying ceremony and cultural program attended by both Cypriot and Greek communities.

Events kicked off on Saturday, July 22 with a cocktail party at The Cyprus Club in Stanmore, Sydney, in the presence of the Deputy Spokeswoman of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, Doxa Komodromou.

Officials at the cocktail party. All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.
Dr Miranda Adamou (left) with a guest.

The formal function was attended by a number of dignitaries and prominent community members including the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia, Antonis Sammoutis; Bishop Christodoulos of Magnesia; the Press Counsellor at the Consulate of Greece in Sydney, Costas Giannakodimos; the Co-Presidents of the Justice for Cyprus Co-ordinating Committee (SEKA NSW), Chris Koulinos and Dr Miranda Adamou; and the President of the Cyprus Community of NSW, Andrew Costa; among many others.

The Deputy Head of Mission at the Cyprus High Commission, Stavros Nicolaou, and the President of the Federation of the Cypriot Community of Australia, Michael Christodoulou, were also present at events throughout the weekend.

Greeks and Cypriots join forces to commemorate the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Listening to speeches.

During the cocktail party, attendees listened intently to a number of official speeches calling for a just and fair solution to the Cyprus problem after 49 years. Cypriot musicians, Marios Charalambous and Giorgos Timotheou, also gave a musical tribute concert on the night.

Andrew Costa.
Cypriot musicians, Marios Charalambous and Giorgos Timotheou.

Commemorations didn’t end there.

On Sunday, July 23, people attended a memorial service in memory of the fallen Cypriot fighters at the Cathedral of The Annunciation of Our Lady in Redfern. The service was presided over by Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

Memorial service.

Dignitaries, officials and members of local Greek and Cypriot community organisations later gathered at the Cenotaph in Martin Place for a wreath laying ceremony. The ceremony included a prayer reading, the playing of the Last Post and Rouse, the reading of the Ode, and a minute silence.

Officials at the wreath laying.
Officials at the wreath laying.
Officials at the wreath laying.
Wreaths were laid at the Martin Place cenotaph.

Finally, the day ended with an anti-occupation gathering at The Cyprus Club and a powerful cultural program which was emceed by Ellise Papanikolas.

(L-R) Chris Koulinos, Ellise Papanikolas, Dr Miranda Adamou.
Cypriot musicians (two on right).
Attendees.
Antonis Sammoutis (left) with Stavros Nicolaou (right).
Cypriot dancers.

The program included the singing of the national anthems of Greece and Australia, followed by a dancing performance from the Cyprus Community of NSW’s dance school and a number of speeches from Ms Komodromou, Mr Sammoutis, Mr Koulinos, Mr Costa and Dr Adamou.

Cyprus Community of NSW’s dance school.
Soula singing the national anthems.

Mr Koulinos began the speeches by welcoming everyone to the event, giving a brief history of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and sharing how he fought during the attack.

Ms Komodromou passed on a message of thanks from Cyprus’ President Nikos Christodoulides to the Cypriot diaspora in Australia for their ongoing push for justice for Cyprus.

“The Cypriot community here in Sydney is one of Cyprus’ most vocal ambassadors abroad and it is important for the Government that we continue to strengthen relationships between our Cypriot and Australian communities in every way,” Ms Komodromou said.

Doxa Komodromou.

For his part, Mr Sammoutis said that during the Australia-wide commemorations to mark the 49th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, he has noticed three things about the Cypriot diaspora. That is, their pain for those who lost their lives fighting for Cyprus; their determination to remember and fight for justice; and their concern for current issues that impact Cyprus.

Antonis Sammoutis.

Mr Costa spoke next and announced the establishment of a Wall of Remembrance at The Cyprus Club for all those who lost their lives during the Turkish invasion, as well as those still missing. The wall will be visible for 40 days and Mr Costa invited people to add their own photographs of loved ones.

The Wall of Remembrance.
People standing in front of the Wall of Remembrance.

Two attendees walked up on the stage and drew tears from the crowd as they shared personal memories and clutched photographs of loved ones they wanted to add to the Wall of Remembrance.

Woman wanted to add a loved one to the Wall of Remembrance.

Dr Adamou concluded the speeches by stressing that the Cypriot diaspora in Australia stand beside the Cyprus government in its efforts to get justice for the country and its people after 49 years.

Official proceedings concluded with an exchange of gifts between Ms Komodromou and the Presidents of PASEKA, SEKA NSW and the Cyprus Community of NSW.

(L-R) Michael Christodoulou and Doxa Komodromou.
Cypriot musicians, Marios Charalambous and Giorgos Timotheou.

Cypriot musicians, Marios Charalambous and Giorgos Timotheou, ended the night with their resounding musical performance.

*All photos copyright The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

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