NICOSIA – Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou, who said Turkey is refusing to aid in the search for the remains of missing victims from a 1974 invasion, said they will be discovered nevertheless.
He said despite what he called Turkish obstacles that, “We continue and will continue to do everything possible to ascertain the fate of every missing person,” all of the 875 unaccounted for with lingering reports many were taken to Turkish prisons and kept captive or who died there, the Cyprus Mail reported.
Speaking at an event to mark the decoration of the Christmas Tree for the Missing Persons in central Nicosia, Photiou said Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who walked away from unity talks after Turkey refused to remain an army from the occupied northern third and wanted military intervention rights, wouldn’t rest until getting the answers.
The representative of the Pancyprian Committee for the missing persons, Marios Antoniades said its group will assist in any way it can although the Cypriot side said Turkey will not co-operate and can’t be made to do so with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refusing to recognize the government and barring Cypriot ships and planes.
According to data published on the Committee for Missing Persons website by October 31, 2017, the remains of 635 Cypriots were identified and returned to their families while 875 are still missing.
Some 197 remains of Turkish-Cypriots were identified and returned to their families by October 31, 2017, while 295 are still missing. The number of sites excavated was 1,171.
With unity talks collapsed, Turkey’s refusal to reveal the fate of people missing after it unlawful 1974 invasion are “criminal and inhuman,” Cyprus’ Minister of Transport, Communication and Works Marios Demetriades said in November.
“Forty-three years have passed and we are still looking for the two-thirds of our missing persons during the Turkish invasion,” he said, noting that 1,000 people are still missing, the Cyprus News Agency reported.
He spoke of the lingering pain of the families and friends of the missing although the bi-communal Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) was set up in 1981 and has worked to find some answers and uncover mass graves.
“Unfortunately, Turkey does not cooperate, despite the convictions of the European Court of Human Rights, where Ankara was found guilty for this crime,” he said, without adding why Anastasiades didn’t press for answers or make it a condition of the unity talks.
“Today, we renew our commitment to the relatives of all missing persons in Cyprus that we will continue the struggle until there is full investigation into the fate of each and every one of our missing persons,” he promised without saying why it hadn’t been done during the more than four years the government has been in power.