Monday, 16 February 2009

The Palekythro massacre

Above is a report from Saturday's RIK news (my subtitles) on the funeral of Sotira Georgiou, 28, and her two children Mary, 7, and Yiannakis, eight months, murdered in the village of Palekythro during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Some 18 Greeks were slaughtered in Palekythro and the remains of 11 of the dead were recently discovered in an olive grove in the occupied village and identified using DNA matching.

The RIK report suggests that it was the Turkish 'Attilas' (i.e. invaders) who were responsible for the Palekythro murders; but this is not accurate. The truth is that the murderers were three Turkish Cypriot teenagers from the neighbouring Turkish village of Epiho, who took advantage of the second Turkish invasion of 14 August 1974 to descend on Palekythro first to steal livestock and farming machinery from Greek villagers before returning the next day to round up the elderly and the women and children – who had stayed behind, assured by their Turkish Cypriot co-villagers that they wouldn't allow any harm to come to them – where they were systematically massacred, the elderly first, followed by the women and children.

The clip below is from Michalis Cacoyiannis' film, Attila '74, Rape of Cyprus, which provides more details on the Palekythro murders, with two of the four survivors, Petrakis and Costakis Souppouris, recalling the massacre of their family and their own escape.


armenianone said...

These stories just break my heart. The Turks have been killing Greeks for so many years. My father is Armenian, my mother is Greek, and their families came through the 1915 Genocide. From my father's family of over 100, 7 survived; from my mother's family, 8 survived. I watched my grandmother wake up screaming -- I have some idea of what these people are going through, and it is incredibly painful. My heart goes out to them. When will Turks stop.

john akritas said...


Good to hear from you. There must be very few Greeks or Armenians alive today who don't have family stories to tell of Turkish barbarity. In Cyprus, there's an Armenian community of some 2,000. Its roots go back centuries, but its current composition mostly consists of those who fled to the island after the genocide. The Armenians are an integral part of Cyprus life, and it's worth mentioning two of its most prominent members: Nouritza Matossian, the writer; and Marios Karoyian, leader of (Tassos Papadopoulos' ) Democratic Party and president of the House of Representatives, the second most important political post on the island.

When will the Turks stop? First, they need to admit the atrocities they've committed. Denying genocide is part and parcel of committing genocide. Genocide is not just about physical extermination, it's also about effacing a culture and historical memory. The Armenian genocide didn't finish in 1915; it carries on today as does the Turkish mentality that produced it, as all these crimes the Turks committed in Cyprus confirms.