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The 4th president of the Republic of Cyprus, Glafkos Clerides died on Friday at the age of 94 in a clinic in Nicosia. Clerides was for days in a critical condition due to his age and chronic health problems.
He was born on April 24th in 1919 in Nicosia and studied Law in London. During World War II he joined British Royal Air Force and was shot down over Germany in 1942. He spent the rest of the war in captivity while tried to escape twice.
Clerides led Cyprus for two consecutive terms, 1993-2003 and he guided Cyprus into European Union membership in 2004. He was also the founder of the ruling party DYSI in 1976.
During 1968-1976 he was handling reunification talks with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Rauf Denktash. He was the negotiator for the reunification of the island during his presidency as well.
The veteran politician was married to an Indian origin lady, Lila who passed away few years ago. His daughter Kaiti was the last person to see him alive.
Glafcos Ioannou Clerides (Greek: Γλαύκος Ιωάννου Κληρίδης; 24 April 1919 – 15 November 2013) was a Greek-Cypriot politician who served as the fourth President of Cyprus from 1993 to 2003. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living former President of Cyprus. Clerides was born and died in Nicosia.
He was the eldest son of the lawyer and statesman Ioannis Clerides.
Clerides was married to Lila-Irene. They have a daughter, Katherine, who
is a member of the House of the Representatives for the Democratic
Rally Party. He died on 15 November 2013 at a hospital in Nicosia.Following the war, he studied law at King's College London graduating in 1948, and later practiced law in Cyprus. He was a member of the EOKA organization that sought the liberation of Cyprus from British Rule and participated in the struggle under the pseudonym "Ypereides."
During that period he defended numerous EOKA fighters arrested by the
British. One of his most famous accomplishments was a preparation of a
dossier that enumerated and provided evidence of instances of Human
Rights violations by the Imperial administration of Cyprus and its
Clerides participated in the 1959 London Conference on Cyprus and
during the transitional period, from colonial administration to
independence (1959–1960), he served as Minister of Justice. During the
same period he was Head of the Greek Cypriot delegation in the Joint
Constitutional Committee. In July 1960, he was elected to the House of
Representatives which, in turn, elected him as its first President. He
held this position until 22 July 1976. In the first presidential
elections Clerides backed Makarios III, the other candidate being his father Ioannis Clerides.
Cyprus became independent in 1960, and Clerides gained political power as a member of the United Democratic Party. Following the 15 July 1974 coup d'état in which EOKA B, a Greek Cypriot pro-enosis paramilitary organisation, overthrew the democratically elected Makarios and installed Nikos Sampson as a President with dictatorial powers, Turkeyinvaded Cyprus.
Eight days later, Sampson was forced to resign. On the same day, 23
July 1974, Clerides temporarily assumed the duties of the President of
the Republic, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the
Constitution. He exercised these duties until the 7 December 1974, the
day of the return of Archbishop Makarios, President of the Republic,
who was forced to flee on 16 July 1974 on account of the coup. Both
President Makarios and the House of Representatives thanked Glafcos
Clerides publicly for the task he performed during that period. Critics,
especially from EDEK
refer to that period as the post-coup, implying that democracy was not
fully restored until the return of Makarios. Clerides on the other hand
has repeatedly condemned what he called "violence and counter violence"
that lead to the coup (i.e. the conflict between Grivas's EOKA-B and
"efedriko", a special anti-terrorist police body formed to fight
From 1961 to 1963 he held the position of President of the Cyprus Red Cross.
In recognition of his outstanding services he was awarded a Certificate
of Honour and Life Membership in recognition of distinguished services
to the Red Cross. In 1976 he founded the right wing Democratic Rally
(Demokratikos Synagermos). He was a candidate for the presidency of
Cyprus six times and elected to two five-year terms, in 1993 and in
1998. In 1998 his main opponent was Georgios Iakovou. He was defeated in the 2003 presidential election by Tassos Papadopoulos. He was the author of the autobiographical overtoned depiction of 20th century Cypriot history, My Deposition, in four volumes. Glafcos Clerides is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.
During his presidency (1993–2003) Cyprus prospered significantly. Its stabilised economy made Cyprus the wealthiest of the ten inductees to the European Union in 2004. The Clerides administration is heavily credited with the ascension to the European Union. Clerides, with his Churchillian
persona, was respected by world leaders at the time of his presidency,
and was locally a respected leader because of his accomplishments. He
lost some of this popularity due to his strong support of Annan Plan for the unification of Cyprus. While 65% of the Turkish Cypriot community voted in favor of the plan in a referendum, the Greek Cypriot community rejected it by over 75% of the popular vote.