An aircraft, similar to Noratlas transport plane which was shot down by friendly fire during the 1974 Turkish invasion, was unveiled on Friday by President Nicos Anastasiades, in a sombre ceremony to mark the 44th anniversary of Turkey’s offensive against Cyprus.
The unveiling ceremony, at the site of the crash, has been described as a small token of appreciation and respect for the Greek commandos and crew of the Noratlas, killed during operation NIKI 4, in the early hours of Monday, July 22, 1974.
The state said it was honouring the 28 Greek commandos and four crew members who were dispatched to Cyprus at a most critical time to help as the Turkish invasion was unfolding. All, except one, were killed in the line of duty.
Anastasiades said Friday’s ceremony was “a minimum mark of respect and gratitude” to those who died.
He acknowledged the failings of successive governments to excavate the site where the plane was buried to give closure to the families and allow a proper burial.
“We will continue our efforts to carry out our duty to the relatives of our heroes and missing persons, with the aim of ending the unacceptable attitude demonstrated by Turkey,” he said.