Turkey bears incalculable responsibilities over missing persons’ issue, Commissioner says

Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou has said that Turkey bears incalculable responsibilities for the ongoing tragedy related to the missing persons issue in Cyprus.

A press release issued by Photiou’s office to mark the Day of Missing Persons in Cyprus said that despite any difficulties, the government will continue to support the work of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in Cyprus, adding that we intensify our efforts doing our utmost consistently and with determination with a view to establish the fate of every missing person, either Greek Cypriot, Greek or Turkish Cypriot.

It also noted that Turkey continues to disregard in a provocative and arrogant way the European Court of Human Rights decisions as well as the decisions of other international organizations and refuses to give any information from its military archives for mass graves of missing persons who were collected from the battlefields.

Moreover, the press release said, Turkey refuses to give information for the sites where the remains of missing persons have been reburied after being deliberately removed from their primary sites of burial. It continues to put obstacles to research in military zones, it added.

Photiou assured that the settlement of the missing persons issue continues to constitute a high priority for the President of Cyprus and the government.

Meanwhile, the Pancyprian Organization of the Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons said in a declaration on the Day of Missing Persons in Cyprus that it expects that the issue of missing persons and the difficulties which CMP faces will be one of the issues discussed by the two leaders in Cyprus, namely President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

It also said that there is information in the archives of the Turkish army and the Turkish Cypriot illegal regime on sites of burial and sites at which the remains of missing persons have been removed, however there is no political will from them to hand it over to CMP.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown. 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