Cyprus’ Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou underlined that the tragedy of the missing persons and their families is the “most painful wound of the Turkish invasion and occupation” in Cyprus, during his speech at a relevant event in Athens.
Photiou recalled that Cyprus has filed four appeals against Turkey at the Council of Europe. “In its 2001 ruling, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Turkey for violating a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the rights of our missing persons and their relatives”, he said. In subsequent rulings, such as the one in 2014, the ECHR again condemned Turkey for failing to meet its obligations, he added.
“Turkey’s mockery, denial, and disregard for the ECHR’s judgments is a provocation not only against Europe but also against international legitimacy”, he stressed.
“Turkey has huge responsibilities, both moral, legal and political, and it should finally cooperate with sincerity and humanity to end the tragedy that the relatives of the missing persons are experiencing every day for so many decades”, Presidential Commissioner said.
In this context, he called on the international community and the international justice system to put pressure in order to make Turkey comply with juridical decisions and fulfill its obligations.
He also noted that the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, which includes a representative of the United Nations, was able to present results 24 years after its establishment, while Turkey refuses to participate in any relevant action and to present its records on the missing persons or prisoners of war as required by the Geneva Conventions.
“We do not disregard the work that has been done so far by the Committee on Missing Persons, which is morally and financially supported by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus”, Photiou said, adding, however, that Nicosia is not satisfied with the pace of the results, which is due to the refusal of Turkey to cooperate.
Photiou reiterated that despite all obstacles and adversities the Republic of Cyprus will intensify its efforts to identify all the cases of missing persons. “We will not compromise or give in to the tactics of the occupying power. We will fulfill our duty towards our heroes and our history as our conscience and our duty dictate”, he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. 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 to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots, who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.
According to statistical data published on the CMP website by August 1, 2022 out of 2002 missing persons 1,185 were exhumed and 1,027 were identified. Out of 1510 Greek Cypriot missing persons 735 were identified and 775 are still missing. Out of 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons 292 were identified and 200 are still missing.
Source: Cyprus News Agency