40 Years Ago - Makarios Assassination Attempt
Forty years ago today, the first president of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios III gave an interview to Eleftheros Cosmos and Simera newspapers of Athens about his feelings after an attempt on his life on March 8th, 1970.
The following is an excerpt from the interview published March 16th, 1970:
Question: Your Beatitude, where do you attribute the the disgusting attempt on you, which admittedly has shocked Cyprus, Greece and the whole world?
Makarios: "This question occupies almost the whole world press and there has been much speculation regarding the motives and aims of the assailants. I would not like to make my personal guess even though this is based on certain data and information I have in mind."
Question: Your Beatitude...what are your feelings eight days after that inconceivable act? Do you feel disappointment at the ingratitude shown towards you, even on the part of a group of persons, who raised a murderous hand against you after 20 years of hard national struggle?
Makarios: "In spite of the fact that the attempt on my life has given the opportunity to the people to renew their feelings of love for, and confidence in, me, I cannot conceal my profound grief at the fact that Greek Cypriots have been found, who sought my violent death. I never imagined that Cyprus would produce such criminals."
Makarios' helicopter was shot down on March 8th, 1970 in Nicosia. Authorities at the time suspected that the junta government in Athens was behind the attempt, working through a Greek-Cypriot militia movement in favour of Enosis, or union with Greece, headed by Polycarpos Georgadjis.
Georgadjis was murdered a week later outside the village of Mia Milia.
(Source: PIO Archives)