Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Saturday he would not hesitate to sound the alarm that the missing persons’ issue might be wrapped up.
He told the General Assembly of the Pancyprian Organisation of the Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons which took place in Nicosia that there cannot be progress in efforts to find a solution to the missing persons’ issue if Turkey does not cooperate. He said Turkey needs to provide access to the Turkish army’s archives, grant the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) unimpeded access to military areas in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus and to point out areas of mass burials as well as sites where remains were intentionally moved to.
He told the meeting that once more, we are asked to review efforts to ascertain the fate of the missing persons. Fourty-eight years have elapsed, he added, and the reality deeply saddens us as Turkey continues its inhumane tactics and is toying with the relatives’ pain and suffering and is not responding to the international community’s calls to cooperate for a resolution of the issue.
Photiou also said that in recent years, we are concerned and worried about the dramatic decrease in identifications stressing “we do not underestimate the CMP’s work nor the work of our own representative in the Committee”. We are underlining the main reason for the fact that the issue is still pending for 48 years now, he added.
He warned that the Greek Cypriot side will not hesitate to sound the alarm that the missing persons’ issue might be closed. “This is what Turkey is pursuing, if it continues its negative approach”, he said, noting that for Turkey the most significant thing is to evade its responsibilities for its atrocities and crimes.
The Presidential Commissioner said that we will not rest nor submit to Turkey’s tactics to close the issue. The President of the Republic and everyone emphasise during meetings that the missing persons’ issue is a tragedy that needs to be resolved, he added.
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.
Source: Cyprus News Agency