“Presumed dead” is not an option with regard to missing persons issue in Cyprus, President says

The government will not accept the notion of presumed dead as a solution to the humanitarian issue of missing persons in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades has stressed, pointing out that his stance concerns all missing persons, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and Greeks.

Speaking last night at the unveiling ceremony of a memorial, dedicated to the mother of the missing, he criticized Turkey’s unwillingness and lack of interest in this issue, recalling that it ignores UN resolutions and various decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

Ankara, he said, displays a provocative attitude with regard to a crime which it has committed and for which it bears the responsibility for the absence of a solution.

We continue to demand from the UN and the international community in general, in a determined manner, to exert the necessary influence on Turkey to allow access to tis military archives and relevant army reports so that the Committee on Missing Persons can carry out additional excavations in military zones, in the Turkish occupied areas, to locate burial sites, he said.

In his address at the ceremony, Greek Minister of National Defence Panos Kamenos pledged that the struggle to ascertain the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus will continue.

This memorial, he said, is the least of tributes we owe to the mothers of missing persons whose most precious person, her child, was sacrificed in the defence of the nation.

He said that decades after the 1974 Turkish invasion, the remains of Greek soldiers missing since the summer of 1974 have been returned to their families for a proper burial.

Kamenos spoke about the need to open archives in order to establish the culprits and those who have to be punished for their crimes.

Cyprus marks today the 44yh anniversary since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, most of them combatants but also women, children and elderly people. During the same period and in the early 1960 when intercommunal fighting broke out Turkish Cypriots went missing too.

A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.

The CMP is a tripartite intercommunal investigatory committee comprising a representative of the Greek Cypriot community, a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community, and a Third Member nominated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and appointed by the UN Secretary General.

Source: Cyprus News Agency