Hopes for reunifying Cyprus, with optimism soaring, hit a snag when Turkey said it would not allow access to military areas it occupies to exhume the missing.
The Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) has been barred from those areas in the northern third of the island Turkey still holds after an unlawful invasion in 1974, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues Fotis Fotiou said.
He called on the Turkish government and army to provide any information it has and said its refusal to cooperate is compromising the group’s work.
Some 2,000 people – 1,508 Greek Cypriots and 493 Turkish Cypriots – were reported missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion and inter-communcal strife in the 1960s.
The CMP has located the remains on 969 people and has identified 451 missing Greek Cypriots and 144 Turkish Cypriots.
The CMP employs a bi-communal forensic team of more than 60 Cypriot archeologists, anthropologists and geneticists, who conduct excavations throughout the island and anthropological analyses of remains.