A Greek army tank drives past the Greek Parliament during a military parade marking the Greek Independence Day in Athens, Greece, on March 25, 2018. Greece celebrated on Sunday the 197th anniversary of the start of war of independence from the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Empire on March 25, 1821 with a customary military parade in the center of Athens. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Greece celebrated on Sunday the 197th anniversary of the start of war of independence from the 400-year rule of the Ottoman Empire on March 25, 1821 with a customary military parade in the center of Athens.
Hundreds of citizens waved the Greek national flag and mechanized units and foot soldiers marched in front of the parliament building, while flights of Armed Forces aircraft and helicopters flashed above the crowd.
In their messages for the day, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who attended the parade in Athens and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who travelled to Psara island in the Aegean Sea, referred to recent tensions with neighboring Turkey.
They both urged constructive dialogue and respect for international law to resolve all pending differences between the two countries.
"We are a nation and peoples of peace, friendship and democracy ... But we are also a nation and peoples who will always defend the freedom, borders and national sovereignty of our country and our great European family," Pavlopoulos said, according to an emailed statement.
Greece and the European Union support Turkey's European prospect, but they also have the will and power to defend their sovereignty, Greek national news agency AMNA quoted the Greek president as saying.
"Turkey must realize that in the 21st century the prosperity and progress of a nation cannot be guaranteed with provocations and nationalistic rhetoric, but with mutual respect and collaboration with neighbors and the constant efforts to resolve issues," said Tsipras.
Greece and Turkey, with rifts on territorial rights in the Aegean and the Cyprus issue, saw their relations further soured after eight Turkish soldiers fled to Greece in July 2016 following a failed coup attempt in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkey also detained two Greek soldiers who according to Athens entered Turkish soil by mistake earlier this month.